You’ve had a few drinks at a bar in Charlotte, or a party in Greensboro, and now it’s time to go home. You’ve said your goodbyes, and the car keys are in your pocket. Oh, you should call a taxi, since you’ve been drinking, but the car is waiting, and a cab ride would cost money – let’s say 35 dollars.

dollar-savingsSo you drive home to save the fare. And you get popped for a DWI. How much are you going to have to pay?

  • Fines: In North Carolina, these depend on the degree of severity – factors like prior offenses, your BAC (blood alcohol concentration), and whether or not your license was suspended at the time of the offense. For Level 5, the least severe offense, it could be $200. For higher levels it goes up to $4,000.
  • Fees: $100 for pretrial limited driving privileges, another $100 post-trial, and another $100 for license restoration.
  • Court costs: You’ll have to pay around $200 at your hearing.
  • Jail Fees: If you go to jail, it’s $40 per day. You probably thought that being a “guest of the state” meant it was free.
  • Legal fees: Do we need to tell you what lawyers charge?
  • Alcohol Assessment and Treatment: $100 for the assessment, and hundreds more for treatment, depending on the facility.
  • Ignition Interlock: If an ignition interlock is ordered, that runs to around $75 per month plus installation fee.
  • Insurance Costs: For the next three years you’ll be paying at least $1,000 annually in extra insurance premiums.
  • Loss of income: A DUI takes time. You need to appear in court, and possibly do jail time, community service, alcohol treatment. Figure a thousand or two up in smoke. That is, if you keep your job. Some employers consider a DWI cause for dismissal.

As you can see, a North Carolina DWI will set you back serious money. Fortunately, there are alternatives that are not nearly as expensive:

  • Use a designated driver.
  • Call a friend to take you home.

Or pay the $35. A taxi should be looking pretty cheap about now.

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