Believe it or not the criminal justice system is set up to rehabilitate DUI offenders by providing disincentives to drive after drinking several alcoholic beverages. The financial costs are staggering, however, nowhere near the costs charged by the European nations. It is my belief that the United States local governments have discovered a clean way to tax the sinful…tax the fire out of the alcohol consuming public for the privilege of drinking and driving.
The municipal government is waging a campaign to make it so painful to the driving public to engage in prohibited activities that the government may be said to be legislating morality. At every level of local government, municipal, county and federal, the governments strictly control the operation of motor vehicles, airplanes, commercial vehicles, boats, and trains.
The punishment for DUI or suspicion of DUI usually begins with the driving or operating privilege being suspended or revoked. While the greater punishment is loss of liberty, the lessor punishment is punishment by payment of court costs, fines, rehabilitation fees, driving schools, counseling, attorney fees and other minor indignities limited only by the joint mind of the legislators.
For example, the costs related to an Oklahoma City Municipal DUI may be classified thusly: 1. Bond: $1,500, if there are no related traffic fines or regulatory fines such as no insurance ($200.00), straddling lane lines ($100.00), speeding (1-10 miles over the limit) ($100.00), passing a red light ($150.00), driving without lights ($100.00), transporting an open container, ($50.00), and so on ad infinitum. 2. Spending one night in jail costs the unhappy lodger $165.00/night as court costs. 3. Dui court costs $100.00 and every continuance costs $15 per case per continuance. 4. Basic DUI fine is $600.00 upfront before pleading to the DUI and being allowed to enter probation. 5. Supervised probation fee is $400.00. 6. Administration fee of $100.00 for the privilege of the DUI being reduced to a speeding offense. Attorney fee of $1,500.00. A typical municipal DUI will easily cost the average consumer $3,000.00 in court costs, fines, probation fees and attorney fees.
This short article does not examine the case of a county court DUI or a federal court DUI where the stakes are much higher and the costs are double or triple. The potential loss of a Commercial operators licenses such as CDL, airplane pilots license, boat captain or railroad engineer make the consequences of suspension or revocation frightening.
With the right set of circumstances, a competent DUI attorney can negotiate a plea resolving the case and having the DUI charges dismissed or reduced to a speeding violation. How many times will the good result be obtained? That depends on how canny and resourceful the criminal defense lawyer is and how willing to fight an all out war with the City of Oklahoma City the client ultimately is. A client who quickly surrenders will have a bad result.
If the client is foolhardy or unrepresented by counsel, the client could plead guilty to a charge of DUI and have a misdemeanor conviction on his record which will automatically earn him/her a Felony DUI on the next DUI arrest. Usually the Felony DUI will earn jail time. I have had DUI clients who had six previous DUI’s and no misdemeanor convictions. I have also represented clients who earned themselves a DUI conviction on the first arrest due to poor choices and poor counsel. They relied upon neighbors and friends for their legal advice.
Excellent results come from being represented by an experienced trial attorney.