The financial cost of a DUI charge



SEATTLE - All around the Puget Sound, extra troopers will be on the job starting at 8 p.m. Monday, looking out for drunk drivers and pulling them over.

King County Sheriff's Office deputies arrested 100 people for DUI during the entire month of December 2011. Sixteen of those arrests were on New Year's Eve.

"It's no secret that we're out there," Sgt. Dan Atchison, a Washington state trooper, told KIRO 7 reporter Graham Johnson. "It's still surprising how many folks make the choice to get behind the wheel after they've been drinking, especially given that there are so many other options."

>>> Find options for getting around safely on New Year's Eve here.

The most serious consequence of driving drunk is the potential to hurt or kill someone. There is also a financial impact.

DUI defense attorney Jon Scott Fox told Johnson that the cost of a conviction on a first DUI offense varies with fines and attorneys, but it ranges between $9,000 and $25,000.

Fox provided the following breakdown of the higher end of that cost:

Towing and impound $450
Attorney fees $10,000
Ignition interlock $2,000
Alcohol evaluation and follow-up classes $4,000
SR 22 insurance: $2,000
Court fines $2,000

In addition, after a DUI arrest, some people lose their jobs.

And all those court dates and treatment sessions take a lot of time.

Fox said that DUI charges also make it hard to rent a car out-of-state, or cross the border into Canada.