OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Efforts are underway statewide to reduce the number of DUI cases, especially with New Year’s Eve just days away. It’s difficult to put a price tag on a life, but you can put a price tag on the cost of a DUI. Along with the deadly consequences of driving under the influence, there are also some financial ones as well.
Expect to be paying a lot of money out of pocket because you’ll be paying for court fees, attorney fees, probation fees, class fees and much more. Oklahoma City lawyers told KFOR drivers with a first-time standard DUI offense can expect to pay at least $10,000, but of course depending on the situation, it can cost much more.
A sobriety checkpoint can be a reality check for a driver under the influence for more reasons than one.
“A first time DUI is a misdemeanor in Oklahoma, with a couple of exceptions, a second DUI within ten years following probation is a felony,” said Douglas Baxter, senior associate with The Hudsucker Legal Group.
That ballpark $10,000 cost for a DUI will go up if a crash is involved, and higher if there’s an injury or even death.
But money is not the only thing to worry about, DUI lawyers say clients will also lose time.
“It’s a lot of time off work sometimes because a lot of drug tests. The drug and alcohol tests are random where you have to call in on a daily basis to find out if you’re getting called that day for a drug and alcohol test. And if you are, then you have to figure out how do I work this into my work schedule? So, it causes it causes a lot of grief and a lot of heart hard hardships,” said Baxter.
While no one may notify your employer if you get a DUI, attorneys suggest checking your contract.
“Some companies want it reported upon an arrest. Some companies don’t require reporting until a conviction occurs. But it’s an employer-based decision,” said Baxter.
Unfortunately, DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols reveal just how common it still is for drivers to be under the influence.
To help reduce the number of drunk drivers out on the roads, the Oklahoma county sheriff’s office and the Oklahoma City police department have been frequently conducting multiple DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols across the metro.
“People are driving drunk. People are driving under the influence of marijuana, medical marijuana. They’re driving under the influence of other drugs. We’re seeing a lot of it, especially post-COVID… We’ve been seeing a pretty huge increase when we pull somebody over for a suspected DUI, they’ll lean out the window and they’ve got a smile on their face and they’re holding their license in one hand, as well as their medical marijuana license. And they think it’s a get out of jail free card. It’s not just because you have a medical marijuana license doesn’t mean that you can drive while you’re high,” said Aaron Brilbeck, Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office.
Aaron Brilbeck with the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office said you can expect to see several DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols over the holiday weekend
“It can impact your savings dramatically. You’re going to be paying a lot of money out of pocket for this. It could impact your life if you wind up going to prison, if you wind up killing somebody or killing yourself, the guilt that you’ve got to carry knowing that you killed somebody for a crash that could have been prevented by simply making a phone call,” said Brilbeck.
According to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, in 2021 more than 400 people died in drug or alcohol related crashes in Oklahoma.
Another huge risk for those dealing with a DUI is the possible loss of driving privileges which is up to 180 days for a first offense.