What’s the true financial impact of a DWI conviction?

On top of a possible jail sentence and license suspension, a court may impose a fine that you have to pay if you’ve been convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI) in North Carolina. Depending on the number of prior offenses you’ve committed and the degree of your latest offense, this fine can go as high as $4,000.

However, this fine isn’t the only financial cost of a DWI. What are these other related expenses that you may have to pay for?

Immediate costs

Upon arrest for a DWI, you may already encounter expenses for the violation. Bail can range significantly based on the circumstances of your arrest and any prior offenses. Towing and impound fees for your vehicle can also add up, typically starting at around $100-$200.

Court costs

You’ll be charged for the court hearing over your DWI case. The state sets these court costs, which can exceed $190. These do not include fees for substance abuse assessments, treatment programs, or probation supervision.

Post-conviction expenses

Following a conviction, a court may require installing an ignition interlock device (IID) as part of the conditions to restore your suspended license. This can cost between $75 and $150 for installation and a monthly rental fee of $60-$80. In addition, you’ll have to pay a $130 license reinstatement fee.

The court may also order you to attend substance abuse assessment and treatment programs. But like with the IID, you’ll have to pay to participate. Assessments can cost $160 while treatment programs can go as high as $600.

Auto insurance

A DWI offense can lead to increases in your auto insurance premiums. According to some experts, a conviction in North Carolina leads to an average 358% increase in auto insurance rates.

The financial repercussions of a DWI in North Carolina are substantial and long-lasting. They extend beyond the initial fines and legal fees, affecting insurance rates and your overall financial stability. Remember, if you face DWI charges, a legal professional may be able to advise you on your defense options and your rights in court.

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