COLUMBUS, Miss (WCBI) – With New Year’s Eve right around the corner, motorists should be reminded of the dangers and consequences of driving under the influence. The consequences and costs are severe.
“When a person is arrested for DUI, they’re taken to jail and booked in. For DUI, you’re going to have to stay in jail for 6 hours. That’s required by the law. During that time while you’re booked in, they’re going to allow you to make a phone call. You can call your family or you can call a bail bondsman,” says Keith Morgan of All Pro Bail Bonds in Columbus.
At that point, the ordeal has only just begun. Someone’s finances, and even their job, could be in jeopardy.
“The 1st thing that you would face is a really expensive fine of about $1,039. With that comes suspension of your driver’s license for about 90 days,” says Lou Dudley, the Columbus Court Clerk.
First time DUI offenders are also required to enter the Mississippi Alcohol Safety Education Program. It’s a statewide driver improvement initiative focused on traffic safety and substance abuse. Once that’s completed, special risk insurance will have to be purchased. It isn’t cheap.
Gary Chism at Columbus Insurance Services says rates will surely increase.
“Minimum limits would normally run about $400 and then it would jump up to about $700. So it’s almost double for just the first DUI,” says Chism.
After totaling all the expenses for a first time drunk driving offense, you’ll be out more than $1700. That includes vehicle towing and bond fees. You’ll also find your driving record marked with a DUI for the next five years.
According to Mississippi Department of Public Safety, more than 70 thousand DUI arrests were made statewide in 2011.