If you were to compare it with a violent crime or financial fraud, a driving under the influence (DUI) charge in Georgia may not seem particularly severe. Especially when the infraction was a technical one and there are no property damage losses or injuries related to the arrest, a driver may feel like the offense is minor and the penalties they face will also be minimal.
Although a DUI typically does not carry the same sorts of consequences that a violent offense would, it is still a serious blemish on your criminal record. It could affect many aspects of your life, including your finances. While you will have to invest to defend yourself against those charges, doing so could actually be the better choice from a financial standpoint.
A DUI on your record is expensive
You probably already realize that the criminal courts in Georgia can order you to pay a significant fine for a drunk driving offense. Your prior driving record and any aggravating factors will determine the exact amount of the fine, but it will probably cost between $1,000 and $5,000.
For many people, paying the fine will be less expensive than the cost to go to criminal court to defend themselves. However, when you combine the fine with years of increased insurance costs, you may see that the DUI costs more than you initially realized.
You will pay substantially more for the same insurance coverage after a DUI conviction, even if there wasn’t a wreck. The average policy in Georgia costs $1,609 annually, but drivers with a single DUI on their record will pay an average of $2,846. You’ll pay 77% more to insure your vehicle if you plead guilty to your pending charge.
A DUI could affect your career
If you work in a skilled and licensed profession, a major criminal conviction could cost you your professional license. Even if you don’t need to maintain a state license to do your job, your employer may have a zero-tolerance policy for criminal convictions while employed by the company.
Those who don’t lose their jobs or their licenses to work could still be at risk of losing future advancement opportunities. It is common for companies to perform background checks when making decisions on internal promotion opportunities, and many companies also perform criminal background checks on every applicant that they seriously consider.
Pleading guilty to a DUI won’t automatically prevent you from job opportunities, but a criminal record might ultimately need one of the deciding factors that keep you from getting a great job or a major promotion.
Fighting back against a DUI charge will protect you financially and professionally.