Getting a DUI in the state of Arizona is a big deal. You are heavily fined, spend time in jail, could potentially lose your job, and also have your insurance suspended. Add in the potential for injuring someone while you drink and drive, coupled with the social stigma, and you have one bad decision with serious consequences.
As you may know, you can be arrested for DUI if you are found to be in control of a vehicle while having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or above. This falls to 0.04 percent when driving a commercial vehicle. Given the relatively low price of alcohol from stores, finding yourself over the limit is a rather cheap endeavor. Unfortunately, the costs associated with a DUI in Arizona are substantial — some would say surprising — and we outline them below.
The True Financial Cost of a DUI Conviction
You would be forgiven for thinking the cost of a DUI is relatively low. Yet this completely overlooks all the associated costs, which are considerable, as you can see:
- Basic Fines: An average of $1,600 for a first offense. This increases to an average of $4,000 on a second offense and can be as high as $10,000 for a third offense.
- Towing: After an arrest, your vehicle will get towed. This can cost a basic fee of $100 plus a cost-per-mile charge. At least it is not Chicago, where towing costs $1,200! You can also expect to pay for the cost of storing your vehicle.
- Court Costs: Up to $1,500.
- DUI Classes: Up to $185.
- DUI Attorney Fees: Up to $2,000 but can be as low as $500. You can, of course, try to defend yourself, but if you want to have the best chance of winning the case, you need an knowledgeable DUI defense attorney.
- Bail: Anywhere from $200 to $5,000.
- License Reinstatement: You may need to pay up to $500 to have your license reinstated after a DUI conviction.
Ignition Interlock Device
Expect to pay for installation and a monthly service fee.
The state of Arizona has some of the toughest DUI laws in the country. Even if it’s your first offense, you will be required to place an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on your vehicle. It is a machine that records your BAC when you blow into it, and if you are over the limit and attempt to drive, the vehicle will not start. An IID normally costs up to $200 to install, and the monthly rental fees can be as high as $100. Over the course of one year, that’s $1,200! Then you have to pay more money for calibration and regular maintenance.
Loss of Income
If you are employed, a DUI conviction could prove disastrous since jail time is mandatory even for a first-time offender. Depending on the severity of the conviction, you could spend anywhere from 10 days to 4 months in prison. Then you need to appear in court, which also eats into work time. Assuming you earn the average Arizona annual wage of $47,000, a one-month stint in prison could cost you almost $4,000.
Cost of Second and Third DUI Offenses
There are a number of factors taken into consideration during DUI cases in Arizona, including a judge’s interpretation of the facts. Jail terms and financial penalties depend on whether property damage, bodily harm, or dangerous driving were results of the driver’s actions. As we already outlined, first offenses carry relatively stiff penalties along with license suspension, so things only get much worse for repeat offenders.
If you commit a second DUI offense within the state of Arizona inside a 10-year period, the initial fines and overall costs get higher, along with more severe jail terms. By your third conviction, there is a chance your driver’s license will be permanently revoked. Fines can be as high as $10,000 for a third offense, and if you get four months in jail, your loss of earnings will be close to $16,000, assuming you are on the average annual salary mentioned above. Frankly, loss of employment is likely in this scenario.
Rising Cost of Insurance
This really hits hard, as it is not unusual for insurers to double the cost of your insurance after a DUI charge. If you want to get your license reinstated, it is necessary to file an SR-22 Proof of Responsibility form. This makes it impossible for drivers to conceal their DUI conviction from insurance companies.
In the world of automobile insurance, there are three kinds: standard, secondary market, and assigned risk pool. Standard policies are the cheapest and don’t include drunk drivers and other motorists who have filed SR-22s. Secondary market insurance is much more expensive and is for people who have been convicted of a motoring offense in general. Assigned risk pool insurance is exorbitant and is only for those who can’t get insurance anywhere else.
Additional DUI Costs
A number of other costs can bring the total financial damage of a first-time DUI conviction in Arizona towards the $15,000 barrier. While some individuals may be fortunate enough to get a temporary hardship license that allows them to drive to and from work or school while their license is suspended, others are not so fortunate. A DUI conviction in Arizona is also likely to hinder future employment opportunities, as the conviction will be a matter of public record and will show up on a company’s background check.
Overall, the cost of a first-time DUI varies depending on the state, and in Arizona it can be anywhere from $8,000 to $24,000. If you are convicted again, this cost absolutely skyrockets to the point where it could put you in financial peril.
It’s clear that getting convicted for DUI in Arizona is one of the most expensive mistakes of any person’s life. If you believe you have been wrongfully arrested, take action now and contact an respected DUI attorney in Arizona to help fight your corner.