If you have had a DWI in North Carolina, or if you’ve heard war stories from friends who have been charged with drunk driving, you know that you’re in for a hassle. Apart from court appearances and the threat of jail time, there are many expenses that will come up. By the time the gavel comes down for the last time on your North Carolina DWI, you’ll have laid out money for:
- Attorney fees. Depending on the shine on his or her shoes, your lawyer could cost you in the region of $1000 for a plea, and anywhere from two to twenty-five times that for a trial.
- Fines. A North Carolina DWI includes fines ranging from $200 to $4,000 for a DWI conviction, depending on previous offenses and other aggravating factors.
- Court costs. Guilty or innocent, your hearing will cost you at least $200.
- Other fees. There are a lot of these, from license restoration to limited driving privileges (each $100) to alcohol assessment (also $100). You’ll even be charged $40 for every day you spend in jail. And if you are offered the chance to skip jail in favor of community service, that will cost $250. If you’re on probation, that’s another $40 per month out of your wallet.
Once your case is finished, you might think your cash outlays would stop. Unfortunately, when it comes to expenses, a DWI is one of those gifts that keeps on taking. Every month will bring reminders of your offense.
- Insurance Rates: North Carolina is pretty much a bargain for car insurance shoppers – unless they have a DWI. Then it becomes a financial gut-punch. For three years, you’ll be paying as much as triple your normal insurance rate. So if you’re paying $1,000 a year… you get the idea.
- Treatment: If the court orders a treatment program, that will be about $20 per hour for 20 hours.
- Ignition interlock: This device prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking. Costs for an interlock are borne by the offender. More about ignition interlock fees here.
North Carolina has done its best to make life tough for anyone who chooses to drink and drive. That’s the state’s job. As costly as a North Carolina DWI is, one can read the news and find examples of impaired driving that impose a much greater cost on the driver, his or her friends and family, and other innocents on the road. That is the ultimate purpose of all these fees.
The good news about these costs is that one can go for a lifetime without incurring them, just by choosing a designated driver or other means of transport. In the long run, it’s the cheapest and safest choice.