New Year's celebrations: The cost of a DUI

INDIANAPOLIS - For those going out Tuesday night for New Year’s celebrations, metro police encourage a responsible evening. That means drinking responsibly and having a designated driver. But in case you need a reminder, here’s how much it could cost you to ignore safety.

Even if you don’t drink, there’s a chance you will share the road Tuesday night with plenty of people who have had too much to drink. 

The Marion County Drunk Driving Task Force will have every available officer working throughout the night and into the wee hours of the morning targeting impaired drivers.

Statistics show some drivers will drive drunkenly more than 100 times before getting arrested. And a trip to jail is getting more expensive.

A DUI arrest usually comes with a $500 bond, and $200 to retrieve the car from impound.

The average cost of an attorney is $1,500. A conviction can result in fines and costs from $1,200 to $5,000. Add to that an increase in insurance rates and the loss of a license from one month to one year, and you’re talking a lot of money.

"A first-time drunk driving arrest (is) $7,500 to $10,000," Defense attorney Jeff Mendez said.

Revelers can avoid arrest by using designated drivers, public transportation or a cab ride. For the sixth year in a row, the law firm of Stewart and Stewart will run operation Safe and Sober. The law firm is putting up $40,000 for free $20 cab rides and the firm hopes to spend every penny of lit.

"We want people to go out and have a good time -- to get home safe." Stewart and Stewart Law Firm’s Darron Stewart said.

The use and misuse of alcohol becomes problematic at so many levels. It's a night when the emergency rooms around the city see a greater number of injuries beyond those that occur behind the wheel of a car.

They also see injuries from other kinds of violence like shootings, stabbings, and domestic violence.
 

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