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Examining the true cost of a drunk driving conviction

On Behalf of | Jun 15, 2020 | Drunk Driving Accidents |

A conviction for driving while intoxicated may lead to a broad range of criminal penalties, but it also has substantial financial repercussions. The total amount you may pay after a DWI conviction depends on many variables, such as where you live and the seriousness of your offense. However, examining how much DWIs have cost others who came before you may give you a general idea of how much of a financial toll the ordeal takes. 

According to Alcohol.org, the typical first-time DWI offender in the United States winds up paying between about $10,000 and $25,000 after tallying all of the associated expenses. What might these costs include? 

Arrest-related expenditures 

In most cases, a law enforcement official takes you to jail after charging you with DWI. Bail costs vary but expect to have to come up with somewhere in the ballpark of $100 to $2,500 to get out. Then, you may have to track down your vehicle and pay to get it out of impound. Expect these fees to run anywhere from about $100 to $1,200, depending on circumstances. 


Nationally, first-time DWI offenders pay between about $150 and $1,800 in fines alone, but in Virginia, the penalties you face may be higher. The typical Virginia motorist convicted of DWI pays between about $250 and $2,500 in fines for a first offense. 

License reinstatement and insurance costs 

A first-time Virginia DWI leads to a one-year suspension of your driver’s license. When you regain the right to drive, you must pay a reinstatement fee, which may run you roughly $220. You should also plan on owing a much higher annual premium for auto insurance after a DWI. 

Alcohol education classes 

If the state requires you to take part in alcohol education classes, you must do so at your own expense. Expect this to cost you several hundred dollars. 

Other associated costs may include substance abuse treatment expenses, legal expenses and court costs, among others.