Getting a DUI in Michigan - It's Going to Cost a Lot!

June 21, 2010

As a DUI Lawyer, my focus is on extracting my Client from as much trouble as possible. While Legal Fees are an important issue to both me, and my Client, those fees are just one of several costs involved in a Drunk Driving case. In the same way that a physician generally cannot and does not concern themselves with the associated costs involved in properly treating an ailment, (meaning things like bandages, physical therapy, prescriptions, etc.), a Lawyer does not have a specific price figure available to tell someone how much a DUI will ultimately total once all associated fees and costs are calculated.

It can be generally observed that the better the consequences are managed, the less the whole debacle will cost.

Money4.jpgThere are a few things that are pretty much written in stone, however, when it comes to the cost of getting popped for a DUI. Here are 2 that top any list:

1. It's going to cost, and it's going to cost a lot. Even if you have been completely and totally wrongfully arrested for a DUI (which is, in itself, not a very common occurrence), just demonstrating that is going to require a substantial Legal Fee.

2. Unless the case is somehow dismissed, or "knocked out," there will be lots of additional costs and fees for about 2 to 3 years to come. They run into the thousands of dollars.

I was motivated to write this article precisely because, as a Drunk Driving Lawyer, my primary concern is to protect my Client from as many potential consequences of a DUI charge as possible. Some of those consequences are purely financial in nature, but others, like going to Jail or getting stuck in some Rehab, are not. Let's examine some of the money consequences of a DUI charge in the following paragraphs.

First, let's assume we're talking about a case that is not so weak that it will be "thrown out," or dismissed for some unlikely reason. Instead, we'll assume that we're talking about the garden variety, "got-pulled over for weaving at 2 a.m." kind of DUI.

The Arrest itself will cost money. Many cities and townships have "cost recovery statutes" that mandate that a person pay back the municipality for the police time, and supplies involved in their arrest, booking, and jailing. These costs can range from $150 to $350.

Getting out of jail the next day will often cost money. Sometimes, a person is let out after someone comes up and posts a $100 "Interim Bond," while in other cases, the person is held until they can be brought before a Judge or Magistrate and have a formal Bond set. These bonds can range from $100 to $750.

You usually have to pay to get your car out of impound. Most often, the car used in the DUI is towed and impounded as part of the DUI arrest. This can cost from about $100 to $200.

You have to hire a Lawyer. A person who cannot afford to hire a Lawyer can choose Court-Appointed, but, if there's any way to hire your own, I highly suggest it. Not to be flippant about it, but it's kind of the difference between Blue Cross, and Medicaid.

Here, Fees are all over the board. The bottom line is that while price is always an issue, shopping for the "lowest bidder" is not an intelligent strategy to find the right Representation, nor is just paying some huge fee a guarantee of better results. As with most big-ticket items you'll buy, the secret is to become a smart consumer. Do your homework.

In general, I think the following price ranges are fair for resolving most Detroit area DUI cases. For those cases that will involve evidentiary issues and hearings, and/or be decided at Trial, additional Fees will be involved:

1st Offense: $1000 to $2000

2nd Offense: $1500 to $3000

3RD Offense (Felony): $3000 to $5000.

There are going to be Fines and Court Costs. In the Metro-Detroit area, a 1st Offense DUI will go "out the door" in terms of Court fees, for between $700 and $1200. A 2nd Offense case will cost more, often from $1400 to $2200. In 3rd Offense cases, the costs aren't much higher, but there are other things, like getting locked up, to be far more worried about.

There may be Probation fees. Depending on the length of any Probation ordered, these can range from $100 to $1080.

There can be costs associated with being placed on a tether, instead of going to Jail. This can suck up to $200 per month out of your pocket.

There may be drug and alcohol testing ordered, both as part of the Bond, and/or as part of any Probationary sentence. A person can be subject to 1 or 2 urine tests per month, or 3 or 4 per week, and/or be ordered to wear an alcohol tether. This can cost from between $10 per month to over $300 per month.

There may be a class, or classes, and/or counseling ordered. This can range from a one time fee of $75 to monthly fees of over $200.

The State of Michigan will impose Driver Responsibility Fees for a DUI. This can range from $500 for 2 consecutive years to $1000 for 2 consecutive years.

The Driver's car insurance will go up. I think it's more accurate to say it will skyrocket. Most insurance companies count Points for 3 years (the State only counts them for 2), so this is another long-term financial outlay.

Finally, a person can expect some miscellaneous costs, like time off of work, gas, and other related expenses.

It is said that a 1st DUI Offense will cost a person about $10,000 when all is said and done. I don't know if the total goes quite that high, but as we've seen, it can approach that amount. Even if a person gets every break in the book, there's no avoiding the fact that a DUI will cost a small fortune.