Hidden Fees and Costs After a DUI Arrest in Florida
What will it cost me if I am arrested for DUI in Florida?
It is not against the law to drive after drinking an alcoholic beverage. Although it is legal to drive after drinking, it is certainly not a good idea. Many DUI enforcement officers that work for the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office (HCSO) and the Tampa Police Department (TPD) have a difficult time drawing a line between the distinction of "impaired" vs. "not impaired."
From the officer's perspective, he must only decide if there is probable cause to make the arrest. The officer will leave it up to the prosecutor and judge to determine whether someone is guilty of DUI or not. For these reasons, if you are drinking and you have a smell of alcohol on your breath there is a very good chance that you are going to jail no matter what the circumstances.
In deciding whether to drive after consuming an alcoholic beverage it is important to look at how much it will cost you to defend yourself against the accusation. Regardless of whether you are guilty or innocent of DUI, you will face many of the same costs, fees, and expenses.
Once you know the costs that come with the arrest, the next thing to consider is the amount of money you can save if you can avoid a DUI conviction. Getting the prosecutor to drop the charges from DUI to reckless driving can save you a tremendous amount of money in the short term and long term.
Attorneys Focused on DUI Defense in Tampa, FL
For this reason, seek out the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney in Tampa, FL, who focused on DUI cases. The attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm focus on drunk driving defense in Hillsborough County, FL.
Our offices have been at the same location in downtown Tampa, FL, for more than 10 years. We have appeared in every courtroom at the courthouse in Tampa and Plant City for motion hearings and trial. We go to the DHSMV's Bureau of Administrative Reviews several times a week.
DUI Fees and Costs after the Arrest in Florida
Even if you avoid a DUI conviction in court, you will probably incur the following expenses:
- the funds to post bond;
- towing / storage / administrative fees at the impound lot;
- the attorney fees and costs to fight the case;
- lost wages from missing work;
- the expense to take an Uber or Taxicab;
- the fees for the formal review hearing to fight the administrative suspension;
- the cost to subpoena witnesses and obtain records for the formal review hearing to challenge the administrative suspension;
- the reinstatement fees if your administrative suspension is not invalidated at the formal review hearing; and
- the cost for the evaluation and follow up counseling required to complete DUI school.
After a Plea to a Lesser Charge under Florida Law
If your DUI is reduced to a less serious charge such as DUI, you might still incur the following additional expenses:
- Probation / Cost of Supervision
- Cost Costs / Fines
- Time of Complete Community Service or Buy-Out Community Service Hours
Additional Costs After a Plea to DUI in Florida
If you are convicted of DUI, then you will incur the following expenses:
- Costs to Impound the vehicle or make it immobile for 10 days
- Costs for additional Driver License Reinstatement / Hardship License Fees (if any)
- Ignition Interlock Device (if required)
- Additional fines and court costs associated with the DUI conviction
Additional Costs if an Accident Occurred
The costs are even higher if you were involved in a car crash with property damage:
- Restitution to the Owner of any other Damaged Vehicle
- Increased Insurance Premiums because of the accident
- Possible lawsuit for any personal injury damages made by any person injured in the accident
Hidden Costs after a DUI Conviction in Florida
The hidden costs after a DUI conviction include:
- Increased Insurance Premiums - FR44 (often apply for 3-5 years)
- Increased Health / Life Insurance Premiums (often apply for 5 years)
- Lost Opportunities for a better job or promotion
- Diminished Status in Community
- Costs to Seal or Expunge DUI Arrest and Criminal Record (if eligible)
Avoiding the Hidden Costs and Fees after a DUI
The best way to minimize the costs and fees associated with a DUI conviction is to hire the most experienced attorney for your case so that your attorney can assist you with fighting the charges aggressively. You will save the most money if your charges are dropped by the prosecutor or dismissed by the judge.
Alternatively, you will save a considerable amount of money from the direct and hidden costs if you avoid a DUI conviction, particularly if you receive a "withhold of adjudication" on a reckless driving charge which may allow you to seal your arrest record and legal deny that an arrest ever occurred for most purposes.
Even if there is overwhelming evidence of guilt and you are unable to avoid a DUI conviction, in many cases the prosecutor may still reduce the charges if you are charged with a more serious type of DUI such as:
- DUI with property damage or non-serious bodily personal injury;
- DUI with a passenger under the age of 21;
- DUI with a blood or breath alcohol concentration over .15 (requires higher fine and ignition interlock installation);
- Second or subsequent DUI (carries longer periods of mandatory incarceration, higher fines and other requirements).
Finding an Experienced DUI Attorney in Tampa, Florida
The attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm focus on defending individuals charged with DUI and drunk driving. That focus allows us to know more about each of the eight breathalyzer machines maintained by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office at the Orient Road Jail.
That focus on DUI cases in Hillsborough County also allows us to know more about their standard operating procedures and each individual officer's track record.
Call a DUI Attorney in Tampa, FL, to discuss the facts and circumstances of your case. We provide free phone and office consultations. Find how what you need to do immediately to protect yourself and your Florida driver's license after a DUI arrest.
We focus on cases in Tampa and Plant City in Hillsborough County, Florida. Call 813-250-0500 to speak to us about DUI Attorney Fees in Tampa, FL, and the hidden costs of not hiring the right attorney.
This article was last updated on Thursday, August 15, 2019.