Costly DUI

By: Adam Kramer
By: Adam Kramer

New Year's Eve is a night away and thousands of people will be heading to parties and local bars to celebrate.

Most have planned every detail, all but one. What do they do when the party's over and it's time to go home?

We've all heard about law enforcement's plans to crack down on drunk drivers.

There are some who don't think they'll get caught, then they do. As you're about to find out, you're in for a lot of pain and anguish.

The ads are everywhere: come ring in the New Year here or there. Many of the local nightclubs are offering package deals that include a hotel room so you don't have to drink and drive.

But most people won't take advantage of it, knowing full-well state troopers and local police are out in force.

"New Year's we're going to be doing pretty much the same thing we did during this holiday. We'll have office personnel working the roads, we'll have the overtime program and we'll have a special squad of people working on the dui enforcement," says a Florida Highway Patrol spokesman.

So what can you expect if you're pulled over for DUI?

"I tell them it's going to be the worst experience of their life. I said just get ready ‘cause it's all unpleasant and you’re going to be very, very unhappy getting through the whole ordeal," says Waylon Graham.

Waylon Graham is a local defense who handled, among other things, hundreds of DUI cases. Even if you don't choose to go to trial, he says it's going to cost you.

"The actual fees and costs involved in the DUI are unbelievable. You may very well spend $1,000 to $1,500 in court costs and fines. Then you go to DUI school, which is about $300. Then if you have the ignition interlock device that’s another $500. Your vehicle is going to have to be impounded for a period of time, that’s another $100,” says Waylon Graham.

And if you do go to trial?

"Well, I mean to hire a good lawyer right off the bat you're going to spend probably close to $5,000 for a defense lawyer," says Waylon Graham.

And that’s not guarantee you won't be found guilty, in which case you'll lose your driver's license and you could wind up doing jail time.

So the message is play it safe and don't get behind the wheel if you've been drinking. The money is just one aspect of drunk driving. Even worse is the chance you could cause a crash and injure of kill an innocent person.

No one wants to live with that, or would want to inflict that type of pain on someone else’s family. If you suspect someone is driving under the influence, call *FHP on your cell phone and report the incident.


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