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Ask Yourself the $16,000 Question before Drinking and Driving

March 25, 2013

Fred Thiagarajah

The Los Angeles Times’ Jerry Hirsch warns individuals to “beware of the $16,000 cocktail.”  This warning comes as a result of St. Patrick’s Day.  A day where, often times, partying and drinking often go hand in hand.  Recently the Automobile Club of Southern California has calculated that a first-time DUI (which is a misdemeanor in the state of California) can cost individuals up to $15,649.

That is an increase of 29% in terms of cost since 2011.

If you are a teenager, the penalties are even steeper.  The typical expense of an under-age-21 first-offense misdemeanor DUI is estimated to be at $22,492.  The Auto Club’s Senior Researcher Steven A. Bloch said that, “It only takes one or two drinks to slow physical and mental skills that affect vision, steering, braking judgment and reaction time.”  Consequently, “Drivers should be aware that the California Highway Patrol and law enforcement agencies regularly use sobriety checkpoints to look for drinking drivers during heavy drinking periods, such as St. Patrick’s Day.”

A significant statistic is that the Auto Club reported that 10% of motorists admitted to driving when they thought their blood alcohol content was above the legal limit in the past year.  The Auto Club has generated its cost estimates by totaling up the mandated state and local fines, penalties, restitution, legal fees, and increased insurance costs.  However, it is noteworthy to point out that these calculations do not include the thousands of dollars of other potential expenses that drives may face if they happen to be sentenced to jail or even lose their jobs.

Furthermore, these estimates do not include other potential drunk-driving-conviction consequences.  One being the hassle of installing a ignition interlock device on your vehicle or even a civil trial.

For the full story click here.


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