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DUIs can cost Wisconsin residents thousands of dollars


Drunk driving charges can impose a hefty toll upon those facing convictions. The emotional stress of knowing that a license could be lost or that jail time could be imposed can be severe. And the financial costs associated with getting through a DUI/OWI can be even worse.

An article published on MSN Money proposes that a drunk driving arrest can cost a person around $10,000.

Some of the biggest expenses come with arrest. Wisconsin doesn't always jail drivers accused of drunk driving on their first offense, but when it does, those who are arrested may have to post bail. If they have to work with a bail bond company they may be subjected to exorbitant private fees on top of the actual bail. Those fees and bail can add up to a few thousand dollars.

Even when bail is not an issue, the fines can be heavy. In Wisconsin, the fines imposed along with first-time conviction on drunk driving charges range from $150 to more than $1,000, depending upon factors such as the age and blood-alcohol content of the driver. Underage drivers face special fines.

Penalties for a first-time offense can include a license revocation for up to nine months. If a first-time offender is found to have a blood-alcohol content of 0.15 percent or higher, the penalties can include having an ignition lock device installed in one's car for a year. These penalties impose their own costs, as well. After all that, auto insurance premiums can skyrocket in the years following a DUI conviction.

Many of these costs can be avoided if the driver is not convicted. A strong defense strategy can help chip away at the prosecution's case. For example, if the defense can show that breath test equipment was not working properly, it undermines the prosecution's evidence of blood-alcohol content. Wisconsin attorneys with experience in drunk driving defense can help the accused to understand their rights.

Source: Wisconsin Department of Transportation, "OWI And Related Alcohol And Drug Penalties (As Of September 1, 2012)" accessed Aug. 29, 2014

Source: Wisconsin Department of Transportation, "OWI And Related Alcohol And Drug Penalties (As Of September 1, 2012)" accessed Aug. 29, 2014

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