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The costs of drinking and driving

By Jeff Terrill

Fort Wayne Reader


I know you have heard it thousands of times. Youíve seen public service announcements and billboards. Youíve heard radio advertisements and news stories. Friends and family members have told you not to do it. Youíve even lectured somebody close to you about it. We all know it. Donít drink and drive. You know itís illegal. You know itís dangerous. You probably know you could go to jail. But did you ever consider just how expensive a drunk driving arrest can be?

Lawyers charge a fee for representing a client charged with impaired driving, but in most cases, that attorney fee represents just a small portion of the overall expense for an impaired driving conviction. Bond, urine screens, court costs and fines can easily get you over $1000. Add in probation fees, counseling costs, blood tests, more urine and drug screen fees and the dollar amount will grow by another $2000 or more. Factor in lost wages (if you were able to keep your job) for the days you will have to take off to attend court hearings and other required appointments. Thereís more.

Transportation costs will also contribute to the total. And donít forget that your car was towed ó before it can be released you will need to pay the towing and daily storage fees. You might need to pay someone to drive you to all of your hearings, counseling sessions and mandatory appointments. Finally, be prepared for the exponential increase in your insurance rates. Under Indiana law, a person convicted of drunk driving is required to carry high risk insurance for three years. Donít expect great rates after the three year period is over either. Just in added insurance premiums alone, expect to pay several thousand dollars. Add it all up and you might be looking at a financial setback in the neighborhood of $15,000!

Solution. Tape two tightly folded hundred dollar bills to the back of photo or card that you keep in your wallet or purse. Next time you are out and think youíve maybe had too much to drink, do the following. Donít drive. Donít get someone to tell you youíre fine. Donít talk yourself into thinking youíre O.K. Instead, offer someone sober at your location $25 to drive you home. If that person laughs and walks away, quickly ask ďWill you do it for $50?Ē If still no takers, call a cab. If no cab service is available, call a friend. If the friend says he canít come pick you up, tell him youíll pay him $50. If he hangs up, call him back and tell him $100. If that offer is followed by silence, talk fast. Keep that person on the line. You donít have a lot of leverage. Itís after midnight, and your friend has been asleep for an hour. Say ďdealĒ when your friend counters with ďpay me $200, watch my ex-girlfriendís dog and mow my lawn.Ē Get the ride. Do what it takes. You arenít driving home.

Donít be discouraged the next day. $200 and an hour with a lawn mower is nothing. Remember, youíre still up $14,800. Youíre safe, nobody got hurt, youíre not in jail, you still have your license and youíve got the rest of the weekend to do what you want.

Except, donít forget the dog. He gets fed three times a day and needs two walks approximately 45 minutes after each meal. His ear drops must be given each morning and night and not with food. The bottle is in the refrigerator and it must warm to room temperature before use. Remember to put the bottle back in the refrigerator. Massage the ear for several seconds after each drop. The veterinarian appointment is Tuesday at 3:00 and the ex-girlfriend gets back from her trip in a week.


Jeff Terrill is a partner/shareholder with the law firm of Arnold Terrill Anzini, P.C. Mr. Terrill represents clients accused of crimes throughout northeast Indiana. You can contact Mr. Terrill with any questions or comments at his office at 260.420.7777 or via email at jterrill@fortwaynedefense.com. Learn more about his firm at www.fortwaynedefense.com.

This article expressed opinions and observations of the author, is not intended as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader. Please consult a qualified attorney with any legal questions or issues you might have. Thank you.

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