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The financial cost of a DUI on the Central Coast


A first-time DUI arrest could cost around $10,000 for someone on the Central Coast, experts say.

That number includes court fines, attorney fees, alcohol education courses, chemical testing fees, and higher insurance premiums.

There's also the cost of installing an ignition interlock device. Essentially, an ignition interlock device is a breathalyzer for your car. You have to blow into it in order to drive. But Monterey County criminal defense attorney William Pernik explains that that kind of limited driving privilege is really only allowed after a first-time offense.

“In particular, loss of driving privilege is going to have a substantial imposition on a person’s life," Pernik said. "We don’t have a lot of very good public transportation options in our county, and so if you’re working professional and you have a prior DUI, then suddenly you’re looking at a significant loss of ability to operate a vehicle. This could cost a person thousands of dollars.”

But it's important to know that there are two things that happen when a person is arrested for a DUI. There's a criminal investigation led by the County District Attorney's office, and then there's also an administrative proceeding. That's when the DMV can suspend their license.

“I think when we talk about cost, we have to separate out financial cost from other costs, such as lost opportunity cost, cost of having to find replacement for transportation, emotional toll that being charged with a crime can have on an individual, and so on,” Pernik said.

These kinds of non-financial losses could look like a number of different things for different people. For example, there is potential for an individual to lose their job.

All of this estimation is based on the assumption that there is no accident and nobody is injured. If an individual were to get into an accident while under the influence of alcohol and someone else ended up injured, things would be very different.

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Shannon Longworth

Shannon Longworth is a multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.


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