You may have gotten a speeding ticket at some point in your life. Or, perhaps, a Pennsylvania police officer pulled you over to inform you that one of your brake lights wasn’t functioning. A traffic stop might be brief and relatively painless. However, if you get pulled over as you’re driving home from a night out with friends, the next hours, days or weeks of your life might be stressful, especially if the officer who has made the traffic stop determines probable cause to arrest you for suspected DUI.
You’re no doubt aware of some of the legal implications a DUI arrest can have on your personal life and career. What you might not know, however, is that a DUI can also cause severe financial distress in your life. In fact, studies show that conviction for a first offense may wind up costing a defendant more than $9,000.
You might have to use public transportation or ride-sharing
If the state suspends your driver’s license, you might have to use public transportation or a ride-share service to commute to and from work. The cost of these services can quickly add up. If the court hands down a conviction and you lose your license for a time, you should not be surprised if your insurance premiums skyrocket when you get your license back. It’s not uncommon for drivers with past DUI convictions on their records to pay twice or triple the amount that the average driver pays for insurance.
What if you lose your job?
If you have no way to get to work because you cannot legally operate a motor vehicle, your employer might decide to terminate your employment. Even before your case goes to trial, and even if you still have your license, if you have to keep missing work because of court dates or other legal issues, the company you work for might simply decide to let you go and hire someone else.
Being unemployed can quickly spark a severe financial crisis. You’ll still have bills to pay and need to put food on your table. With today’s economy the way it is, it can be very difficult to recover from a setback like losing your job.
What can you do to help mitigate your circumstances?
It’s important to remember that police pulling you over in a traffic stop and arresting you for suspected DUI doesn’t necessarily mean you will be convicted, or, even, that your case will go to trial. However, it’s best to be as well-informed and prepared as possible, in case you do face criminal charges in court.
Most DUI defendants find that it’s less stressful to navigate the criminal justice system when they seek legal support right from the start. Once there has been an arrest, one must also make decisions, such as whether to answer questions a police officer asks or whether to enter a guilty or not-guilty plea in court. It’s helpful to seek guidance from someone who has an extensive background in criminal law issues.