What Are the Court Costs Associated With a DUI in Washington?
Driving Under the Influence, more commonly known as DUI or DWI, can be an expensive charge. One thing is for sure, a skilled and experienced Vancouver DUI lawyer can help minimize your financial burden. Without strong legal representation, you may be taking on unnecessary costs.
If you need to hire a lawyer, then make sure that your lawyer is open and transparent with you. At Carley Legal Services, my practice is to be up front and straightforward with my clients about the financial aspect of a DUI so that there are no surprises. The judge will not explain to you the hidden costs in your DUI. Because of the detailed and complex nature of Vancouver DUI charges, my hope is to give you a better understanding of what you’re looking at. This article will detail the hidden costs of a DUI.
What are the Court Costs for a DUI Conviction in Washington?
A DUI in Washington State is a gross misdemeanor, carrying a maximum penalty of 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. The $5,000 fine represents the financial penalties the court imposes for a DUI conviction. In addition to fines, the court also imposes fees. Fees are the administrative costs of the case. A DUI conviction in 2020 can result in a $250 BAC fee, $300 emergency response fee, $102.50 traffic penalty assessment, and a $43 conviction fee. Moreover, if you were found to be the at-fault party in a collision, the judge can order you to pay restitution to the other party as part of your DUI conviction. This is where it helps to have car insurance up front, because insurance claims paid out-of-pocket can be pricey, ranging anywhere from a few hundred dollars to over $100,000 depending on the severity of the damage to the injured party.
In addition to court costs, there are numerous other hidden costs of a DUI.
Pre-Trial Monitoring Costs of a DUI
If the judge places you onto “Supervised Release”, then you will likely have to check in periodically with a probation officer while your case is pending. The Clark County District Court charges people $100/month for pre-trial monitoring fees by the probation department. In addition to checking in, the judge has the power to order you to submit to random urine analysis tests, also known as UA’s while the case is pending. These UA’s are monitored by an outside agency who charges $40 per UA. The UA’s are administered randomly, ranging as frequently as weekly to as infrequently as less than once per month.
Instead of random UA’s, the judge has the power to order you to install an Ignition Interlock Device in your car while the case is pending. An ignition interlock device is a machine that is placed into your vehicle. It requires you to blow into a tube in order to start your car. If any alcohol is registered in the blow, your car will not start and a report is also sent to the Ignition Interlock Device agency, who then likely will forward it to Supervised Release. Currently, Ignition Interlock Devices cost anywhere from $100-$125/month.
The judge also has the power to order you to wear a SCRAM device while your case is pending. A SCRAM device is a transdermal monitoring device worn around your ankle. It can detect alcohol consumption through the sweat in your body pores. These machines are not cheap. They can range anywhere from $10-$15 per day.
As a defense attorney, I am mindful that these costs can quickly add up. My goal as your lawyer is to resolve your case with the best possible outcome for you, while doing so as quickly as possible.
Department of Licensing Costs for a DUI
If you refuse a BAC test at the station, or if you submit to the BAC test and your BAC is above a .08, the Department of Licensing will administratively suspend your license, even if you have not been found guilty of the DUI. You have a right to challenge this suspension, however you must request a hearing within 7 days of your arrest. The Department of Licensing charges $375 for a hearing.
If the DOL ultimately does suspend you, then you may be able to side-step that driver’s license suspension and still drive. You would need to do three things:
- Install an Ignition Interlock Device in any vehicle that you drive
- Obtain SR-22 Insurance
- Apply for an Ignition Interlock License
With all three of these things, you should be eligible to drive. SR-22 insurance is separate from your car insurance. SR-22 insurance is tied directly to your license. It is a separate policy. SR-22 insurance rates are governed by your insurance agency. To apply for an Ignition Interlock License, you need to do so through the DOL website. The DOL currently charges a $100 application fee for this license.
If you are administratively suspended by the DOL or convicted of a DUI, then you will likely be required to have an Ignition Interlock Device installed in your car for at least one year. If you have a prior DUI within 7 years, that length of time increases to a minimum of 5 years.
Other Costs Upon a DUI Conviction
The judge has the power to sentence you to jail. In some circumstances, the judge will instead sentence you to electronic home confinement, also known as house arrest. Electronic Home Confinement is run through a private company. The company charges anywhere from $7-$28 per day, sliding scale based upon your financial circumstances. By law, the judge can sentence you to no less than 15 days of electronic home confinement for a first-time DUI where your BAC was above a .08 but below a .15, or where no BAC test was offered. The judge can sentence you to no less than 30 days of electronic home confinement on a first-time DUI where your BAC was above a .15 or where you refused the BAC test.
The judge will also order you to obtain a substance abuse evaluation from a Washington State approved and licensed treatment provider, and to comply with any treatment recommendations. This can get pricey. Depending on which agency you choose, evaluations can range anywhere from $75 – $150. If any treatment is recommended, the costs can jump to thousands of dollars for months of treatment. I always advise my clients to utilize their health insurance to cover the costs of any recommended treatment.
The judge will also order you to attend a Victim’s Panel class. This is an educational class about the dangers of driving while intoxicated. In Clark County, the cost is $75. It is cheaper elsewhere, and currently the probation department will accept Victim Panels from other counties, such as Multnomah or Cowlitz where the cost is around $40. If you are unable to complete an in-person Victim’s Panel class, you may be able to complete it online through MADD (Mother’s Against Drunk Driving). The MADD Victim’s Panel class offers the convenience of completing it at home and on your own time, day or night. The main requirement is that you complete the class on an electronic device equipped with a camera, because the MADD Victim’s Panel will take a picture of your face in order to verify that the person completing the class is in-fact you. If you’d like to complete the class online through MADD, you can sign up here.
Have An Experienced Vancouver DUI Lawyer On Your Side
DUI charges are not cheap. However, one thing is for sure. Having a skilled lawyer in your corner can make the difference between a good outcome and a bad outcome. Call us today for professional representation in your case. We offer a free consultation, and can help you.