Rodney King and DUI’s

The infamous Rodney King,  whose videotaped 1991 beating by police ignited the Los Angeles riots the following year, was arrested Tuesday afternoon in Southern California, suspected of driving under the influence. King was driving erratically and was taken into custody where he was evaluated and later arrested on suspicion of DUI of drugs or alcohol.  He was also convicted of DUI for a 2003 traffic stop where he was found driving under the influence of PCP.

Riverside County Sherrif's Department via AP

Let this be a lesson about the costs of getting a DUI. Everyone knows drinking and driving is dangerous, but most don’t think about the possible financial repercussions driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  You may have a few drinks at the bar, or even dinner for that matter and think no biggie, I just want to get my car home and avoid the cost of a $30 taxi ride.

Well think again before getting behind the wheel. $30 is chump change compared to what you’ll be paying if you get nailed for a DUI. From court costs, fines and attorneys’ fees, to traffic school, probation and higher insurance premiums, expect to pay $10,000 or more for the experience here in California. Not to mention a big pain in the arse dealing with the bureaucracies and other non-financial hurdles you must go through in the process.

From the moment you’re taken into custody, you start a running tab, and we’re not talking about a bar tab here. Each jurisdiction’s costs, fines and penalties will be a little different, but this is what you can expect if you’re suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs:

  • Your car will be impounded. You will be charged a towing fee and pay for the privilege of having the local authorities look after your vehicle while you get the mess sorted out. There could also be a vehicle release fee. The ticker starts at $250 or more just to keep your car in your possession.
  • You will need to post bail so that you may be released from custody until your first hearing. Your bail will vary depending on the county and circumstances surrounding your arrest, but can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. If you don’t have that kind of cash on hand, you will call a bail bondsman. Bail bondsmen will typically ask for 10 percent of the total bond. If your bond is $5000, you’re still going to have to come up with $500 quickly.
  • On a first offense DUI conviction, you will be fined not less than $390, and not more than $1,000, excluding court fees.
  • California requires 96 hours of jail time if you’re convicted of a DUI, 48 of which much be served consecutively. Many judges allow this time in work service. All of this will likely result in some time off work, and for many people lost time means lost wages. DUIs remain on your criminal record for life if employers or future landlords do a background check.
  • You will get a minimum of 3 years probation.
  • Your insurance carrier may place a surcharge on your auto insurance policy for up to three years. However, because a DUI stays on your driving record for 10 years in California, a driver with a DUI will not be eligible for a good driver discount for up to 10 years.
  • Pay a license re-issue fee of at least $125. To get your license back you will probably have to complete an approved alcohol education and treatment program at your own expense.
  • If you get your license back it will likely be restricted and you may be required to install an ignition interlock device, also at your own expense. An ignition interlock device (IID) is wired to your vehicle’s ignition and requires your breath sample before the engine will start. If the IID detects alcohol on your breath, the engine will not start. As you drive, you are periodically required to provide breath samples to ensure you haven’t taken a drink since beginning your journey.

Next time you’re out enjoying adult beverage’s, don’t let the alcohol do the thinking when it comes time to close your tab and leave the bar. Just print this blog post out and put it in your purse or back pocket to remind you the list of troubles you’ll be dealing with should you get caught for a DUI. Not to mention the danger you’ll put others in if you get behind the wheel. Case in point…..Rodney King.

Source: Insurance Information Network of California 


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About Jimmy Kinmartin - Business Insurance & Risk Management

Jimmy is a California licensed Property & Casualty AND Accident & Health insurance agent working at the Olson Duncan Insurance brokerage based in Torrance and Irvine, CA. He grew up in Fullerton, CA and graduated from Servite High School in Anaheim and Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and currently lives in Tustin, CA. Have questions? Just ask! Or, follow Jim on Twitter at @JimKinmartin

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