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DUI Penalties: The Cost of an Ohio DUI/OVI Charge

How Much Money Could My DUI/OVI Cost Me?

A DUI (Driving under the Influence) or an OVI (Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs) is considered a serious offense in the state of Ohio.  Even for first-time offenders, a DUI/OWI can result in grave punishments, such as expensive fines, license suspensions, or even jail time.

However, purely from a financial standpoint, how much can a DUI/OVI cost you?  It’s well known that these infractions aren’t cheap.  What some people fail to see, however, are all of the hidden costs involved with these offenses.

Here’s a quick example: let’s consider a first-time OVI offense. According to Ohio lawmakers, fines directly related to the offense can range. The driver will pay a minimum of $375 for their violation (this price can actually increase to $1,075 depending on the details and case facts). Now, say the offender decided to retain an attorney.  Legal representation will usually result in lesser fines and decreased sentences in the long-run.  However, legal fees aren’t necessarily cheap and can add up to thousands of dollars if the case were to be dragged out.

Likewise, court-ordered interventions, electronic monitoring, or ignition interlock systems are common court mandates.  The costs associated with these measures are the responsibility of the offender to pay.  For instance, if the court mandates a substance abuse intervention course, it may cost between $300 and $500 for a reasonable program. Similarly, ignition interlock systems are not cheap and can cost $300 to $400 for installation and monitoring, including a monthly maintenance fee.

Atop of these mandatory court-ordered costs, the offender’s insurance will surely sky-rocket.  It is standard practice for insurance companies to heighten premiums after a DUI/OVI.  These premium inflations can last 1-3 years, granted no additional violations are incurred during that time.

Not included in this scenario are costs associated with court appearances, lost wages, alternate transportation (while your license is suspended), and fees associated with license reinstatement.  Because of the many factors and variability between different DUI/OVI offenses, it’s often difficult to put an exact price-tag on a DUI.

The total cost of your offense will depend on many factors.  One thing is certain: costs and fees come from many directions and can sure add up quickly.  Most of the time, hiring a legal representative will reduce the charges against you and minimize sentences when applicable.  Let’s take a closer look at some of these charges to get a better picture of the overall price of a DUI:

What are Costs Related to an Ohio DUI/OVI Charge?

First and foremost, any legal offense comes with a fine, fee, or ticket. In the case of a first-offense DUI/OVI, fines between $375 and $1,075 are commonplace.  With multiple offenses come increased fines.  Multiple violations will eventually result in a felony offense, which will cost a minimum of $850.

Other aspects of your sentencing can cost money also.  For example, one great reason to retain a lawyer is to reduce your sentence from jail-time to an alternative sentencing (like house arrest, electronic monitoring, or interventional rehabilitation programs).  However, these alternatives surely cost money and are the responsibility of the offender to cover.

Similarly, courts may decide that jail-time is unnecessary, but that preventative measures must be taken to ensure that you don’t commit another DUI/OWI; this may include the installation of ignition interlock device or an ankle bracelet.  This equipment costs money, as does their installation and constant monitoring.

If you are sentenced to jail-time, posting bail is expensive but not required.  Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, this may range from a couple hundred to a few thousand dollars. Additionally, time in jail means time away from work.  An often-overlooked cost is the wages lost on account of your missed time from work.  In some instances, in fact, employment is terminated upon a DUI/OVI charge, which amounts to an incredible cost to the offender.

What About Legal Costs and Attorney Fees?

Several hundred dollars in court costs are inevitable.  Filing fees and court appearances will add-up, even if your plea is “guilty” or “no contest”.  Likewise, trials are costly for offenders, attorneys, and courts alike.

Even though there is a cost, it’s highly recommended that you contact a DUI/OVI lawyer before you enter your plea with the court.  While a criminal defense lawyer will likely cost an undetermined amount of money, having a knowledgeable attorney to argue on your behalf could reduce the charges in the long run (and potentially avoid a conviction entirely).

What Are Other Miscellaneous Fees Associated with an Ohio DUI/OVI Charge?

Violation-related charges and court/attorney fees comprise the bulk of the costs associated with DUI/OVIs.  However, there are a few more notable fees worthy of consideration.  All drunken driving arrests and convictions in Ohio come with a suspension of the license for a period of time. Once this suspension has ended, your license will have to be reinstated, and there are two reinstatement fees, an administrative license reinstatement that is $475 and a DUI reinstatement fee that is $475. The administrative license suspension fee terminates as a matter of law when the DUI plea is entered.

Also, surely expect your automobile insurance premiums to sky-rocket.  Unfortunately, premiums will remain high for years to come—essentially until you display that you can drive responsibly and not under the influence.

Towing fees are also likely.  On the day of the DUI/OVI, your vehicle was likely towed and impounded at a nearby location.  Although towing fees are negligible compared to the aforementioned charges, fees associated with towing and impounding are added per day.  Thus, it’s important to retrieve your car as soon as possible.

If you are facing an Ohio DUI charge, you should contact The Farrish Law Firm to set up a consultation. We are happy to help answer your questions and plan your defense strategy.