Steve Palmer

3 financial consequences of drunk driving in Ohio

On Behalf of | May 12, 2024 | DUI & OVI

It is illegal in Ohio to drive anywhere after consuming enough alcohol to affect one’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. It is also a criminal offense to drive after drinking enough to exceed the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit that applies to a driver.

When people do get arrested for impaired driving, their first instinct is often to plead guilty. Particularly if the situation involves a technical infraction rather than a crash, people expect to receive compassionate consideration from the courts. Others may plead guilty because they don’t want the embarrassment of a criminal trial.

The problem with this approach is that a judge can still sentence someone to whatever penalty they view as appropriate given the details of the situation. Prior offenses, BAC test results and other details can influence the penalties that a judge imposes. Some people realize too late that pleading guilty to a drunk driving offense is not just risky. It is also a potentially costly situation.

Court costs and fines

Someone who gets convicted or who pleads guilty has to pay for court costs associated with their criminal proceedings. A judge can also order them to pay a sizable fine as well. Depending on the circumstances, the total fines and court costs could easily be several thousand dollars.

Increased insurance costs

What people pay for liability insurance depends on their driving history. Anyone with a major traffic violation in their recent history can expect their insurance costs to increase. A drunk driving conviction can substantially increase the annual premium someone pays for car insurance. Those increased rates may apply for three years after someone’s conviction. That can add up to a very sizable financial penalty.

License-related costs

The suspension of a driver’s license is a common penalty for a drunk driving conviction. It is also a very costly setback. Someone who cannot drive has to pay for alternative transportation such as rideshare services. They could also be at risk of secondary financial expenses, including the possibility of losing their job because they repeatedly show up late to work. It can also be expenses related to regaining driving privileges after a court-ordered suspension.

If someone takes the time to review all of the costs possible after an impaired driving conviction, the value of defending against those allegations can become readily apparent. As such, learning more about the possible penalties for drunk driving can be a smart move for anyone recently arrested after a collision or traffic stop.