- Mar 16
The true cost of a DUI may be more than you’re willing to pay. Yet, few people consider that when deciding to drink and drive. You’ve had a few drinks after work, but you feel fine. So, you choose to take a chance and drive yourself home. This simple decision can have devastating consequences.
If you get pulled over and charged with a DUI, this charge will cost you — financially, personally and professionally. If convicted, this will also follow you for the rest of your life. However, getting into an accident while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is even worse, as you could hurt or kill someone, leaving their family devastated.
If you’re wondering how much a DUI in Illinois costs, we will discuss some potential financial ramifications of this seemingly innocent choice.
Why Do DUIs Carry a Heavy Price Tag?
If you get pulled over with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher, or while driving under the influence of drugs, you can be arrested in Illinois and charged with a DUI or DWI — driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated. That last drink that pushed you over the legal limit will be the most expensive drink you’ll ever buy.
A DUI in Illinois and anywhere in the U.S. will cost you, carrying a hefty price tag of legal fees, penalties and other expenses. DUI offenses are designed financially drain people to deter them from drinking and driving.
Yet, even with this looming financial burden, millions of people still drive their cars while legally intoxicated. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 10,000 people are killed in alcohol-related crashes nearly every year.
The Financial Cost of a DUI in Illinois
Chances are, you’ve already chosen to drink and drive multiple times. So, before you get behind the wheel while intoxicated, you should know the cost of getting a DUI. The price of a DUI or DWI varies from state to state. It can also be far more if you already have a DUI on your record. However, even a first-time DUI offense can cost an average of $16,580 in Illinois. Yet, that number sometimes balloons up to $25,000 depending on your circumstances.
Here are just a few of the expenses you can expect if you get pulled over and arrested for driving while intoxicated:
- Bail: Anywhere from $100 to $2,500
- Towing and impound fees: $100 to $1,200
- Legal fees: Getting representation from a lawyer for a lengthy court case can cost $10,000 in legal fees. Even uncontested pleas can cost up to $2,000.
- Court costs: Fines assessed by the court, court fees, law enforcement reimbursement and more will all cost an average of $3,600.
- Illinois’ ignition interlock program: All DUI offenders in Illinois must pay for an Ignition Interlock Device, including the cost for its installation and maintenance. This device includes a breathalyzer test that won’t allow your vehicle to start unless your blood alcohol content is 0. This costs about $1,400 a year.
- Urine or drug screenings: As part of your probation, random screenings costing $100 may be required.
- Community service: You must pay a supervision fee that is generally under $100.
- Drivers license reinstatement: Between a court hearing, fees and the license itself, expect to pay over $500.
- Substance abuse treatment: Even if you’re convicted and given jail time or community service, you will also need to take a DUI course, which will cost a minimum of $250.
These expenses don’t even cover the finances you miss out on from lost work, paying for alternative transportation and paying for an injury to yourself or someone else. Afterward, your DUI becomes a matter of public record. So, if you lose your job, this charge will pop up in any background check, making finding new employment very difficult.
Get Help Before You Make a Choice You’ll Regret
Most people don’t fully understand the true total cost of a DUI in Illinois. Besides the overwhelming financial burden, you’ll also face great personal loss to your reputation and future employment opportunities. If you or someone you know regularly drives under the influence, you may need professional addiction treatment.
At Gateway, we offer highly individualized addiction treatment programs for those struggling with an addiction to drinking or drugs. Don’t let a DUI ruin your life. Contact us today before you make a choice you can’t take back.