DUI is a costly offense. In Georgia, a first offense can result in a $300-1000 fine and a $210 license reinstatement fee, and the penalties get steeper with subsequent offenses.
These penalties do not punish all offenders equally. The impact is disproportionately severe for people who already struggle financially. For people with low income or debt, fines and fees can contribute to a vicious cycle of poverty.
Hidden costs of DUI
A fine is not the only expense associated with DUI. People convicted of DUI in Georgia must generally take part in a risk reduction course. This can cost hundreds of dollars, and missing a session can result in needing to repeat the course.
DUI charges can result in additional long-term costs by impacting the ability to work. Some offenders lose their jobs as a result of the initial arrest, while others struggle to get to work because they can not drive. First-time offenders may receive a driver’s license suspension of up to one year. In some circumstances, it is possible to obtain a limited driving permit to continue driving to work. However, not everyone is eligible for a limited permit.
Additional fees and fines
Someone who is already struggling to pay the fines and fees associated with DUI may incur additional penalties by failing to pay on time. They may also incur fines and penalties for driving with a suspended license if they believe they have no choice or can not afford the reinstatement fee.
A DUI is a serious charge, and the penalties can disrupt anyone’s life. However, those who begin with fewer resources are at increased risk of spiraling into debt while trying to manage the cost of a DUI conviction.