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Individuals who are arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) offenses in New York often make the same mistake. They plead guilty because they don’t want to take the case to court.

Even those who insist that they didn’t have too much to drink worry that a failed breath test or the claims of police officers could lead to their conviction. People think that pleading guilty is faster and more cost-effective than fighting criminal allegations. However, these individuals might vastly underestimate the prospective financial impact of a DWI conviction in New York.

There are many expenses involved in a DWI case

Some costs stemming from a DWI offense in New York are easy to quantify. The judge has the authority to order someone to pay a fine. The amount of the fine depends on someone’s blood alcohol concentration and other aggravating factors, such as how many prior offenses they have on their record.

The fines can range from $500 for a first offense without injury to others to $10,000 if people had two prior DWI convictions within the last decade. There are also set fees associated with reinstating a license after the mandatory suspension that accompanies a DWI offense.

Other costs can be very difficult to quantify accurately. People have to cover court costs, which can vary from a few hundred dollars to several thousand in some cases. They can also anticipate paying an average of 74% more for their motor vehicle insurance after their conviction. Those increased costs can last for several years, adding up to thousands of dollars.

Additionally, there are expenses related to the loss of a driver’s license beyond the cost of reinstating it. People have to pay for public transportation, taxis or rideshare trips. Those costs can accumulate rapidly. There can also be employment consequences that can be quite costly.

Someone who drives for a living may not be able to earn a paycheck for several years after their conviction depending on the circumstances. Even if someone works in an office or a factory, their employer may have a zero-tolerance policy for criminal convictions. Their late arrival to work because they rely on others for transportation could also potentially lead to job loss.

The average cost of a DWI can range anywhere from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Many people realize after crunching the numbers that defending against such charges might actually be a more cost-effective solution. Responding appropriately to a DWI charge can make a major difference for a New York driver. Ultimately, those who fight their charges may have more control over the economic impact of a DWI allegation.