(This blog post is part of our effort to support the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign. If you’ve been injured by a drunk driver, please contact our Memphis car accident attorneys online today or at 901-327-1212 to discuss your case for free.)

That beer might only cost you $5, but driving after you’ve enjoyed it can cost you a fortune.

So many people don’t realize that getting charged with a DUI – even for the first offense – is extremely expensive. It can even bankrupt you, depending on your situation before the traffic stop.

In fact, on average, a DUI is going to cost you about $10,000. And that’s assuming you just got pulled over – no injuries or damage to the car.

Here’s how that breaks down:

  • Court Fines – These vary according to where you live, but they can range from a few hundred to a couple thousand dollars.
  • Legal Fees – DUI lawyers can cost a few thousand dollars, and even more if you go to trial. Of course, some people are able to go without a lawyer or can use a court-appointed attorney. But a good lawyer can help keep you out of jail and fight for your license, which can be crucial to keeping your job. So you may find those high fees are worth it.
  • Getting Your License Back – If your license is suspended – which it usually is after a DUI – it can cost hundreds of dollars to reinstate it.
  • Substance Abuse Classes – A lot of times, the courts will require you take a class, and you have to pay for it. These run anywhere from $100-$500.
  • Ignition Interlock System – This is like a breathalyzer attached to your car. You may be required to pay an installation fee and a monthly rental fee.
  • Increased Cost of Insurance – Your car insurance company will likely label you a high-risk driver, which can increase your annual payments by as much as $1500/year for three years or so.

Other costs include lost wages from jail time, court appearances, and community service.

This all assumes there were no injuries or vehicle damage. If there was a crash, not only would you be responsible for the damage to your vehicle, you’d also be responsible for damage done to the other driver and their vehicle. That includes medical care, emergency services, long-term rehabilitation, and lost wages. Your insurance may cover it, but it will increase those insurance payments even more.

Of course, in those tragic cases where there was a crash, the cost for the driver will likely be higher than words or money can express. The guilt and shame of killing or severely injuring someone can follow a person for the rest of their life.

Fortunately, many people get pulled over by the cops before something horrible happens. But that traffic stop still costs $10,000. Remember, that’s $10,000 just for having a few beers and driving. You would be charged that even if you don’t crash, even if no one gets hurt. Even if you think you have it under control.

You DON’T want to pay the price. Don’t drink and drive.


Our Memphis personal injury attorneys deal with car accidents all the time, including crashes caused by drunk driving. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, please contact us today to speak with a lawyer. The conversation is free.