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The steep cost of a South Carolina DUI

Essentially everyone in South Carolina knows the physical risks of drunk driving. Taking the wheel while under the influence of alcohol can increase a driver's risk of a car accident and subsequent injuries and/or death.

Armed with that knowledge, many motorists in South Carolina, and nationwide, choose to take their chances driving while intoxicated. Sometimes the physical dangers do not register with people as much as the financial risks. People place such a heavy priority on money that the monetary penalties associated with a DUI could scare them more than anything.

For those people, breaking down what a DUI can cost you in South Carolina should be enough to encourage drivers to drive sober. Here are some of the dollar amounts you will find yourself shelling out if charged with a DUI in South Carolina:

  • Car insurance: Following a DUI conviction, the cost of the driver's insurance rate usually doubles for at least the first three years. For most drivers in South Carolina, this amounts to a $3,000 spike.
  • Court fees: Usually in South Carolina, a driver will be fined at least $1,000 for a DUI, but up to $2,000.
  • Bail bondsman: Assuming a driver wants to get out of county jail and wait for his or her court appearances at home, they will enlist the help of a bail bondsman. Some of these professionals charge up to 15 percent of the fine in order to bail a driver out of jail. This number is around $150 on average.
  • Driver's license fee: A driver will have to hand over $100 to the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles in order to have their driver's license reinstated after a DUI.
  • Lawyer fees: The aid of a qualified attorney is not free, but easily a good investment. While drivers can potentially pay up to $3,500 in legal fees, a competent attorney can help that driver avoid stiff and life-altering punishments.

This list does not even factor in possible loss of employment, losing a professional license, etc. All things considered, a DUI in South Carolina is a very expensive mistake.

Source: The Times and Democrat, "Drunk driving has high cost in your dollars," Dec. 17, 2011

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