As laid out by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the costs associated with drunk driving are broad and staggering. 

“Every day, about 28 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes—that's one person every 52 minutes. In 2019, these deaths reached the lowest percentage since 1982, when NHTSA started reporting alcohol data—but still 10,142 people lost their lives. These deaths were all preventable.

“...Driving after drinking is deadly. Yet it still continues to happen across the United States...Approximately one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers (with BACs of .08 g/dL or higher)...However, even a small amount of alcohol can affect driving ability. In 2019, there were 1,775 people killed in alcohol-related crashes where a driver had a BAC of .01 to .07 g/dL.

“On average over the 10-year period from 2010-2019, more than 10,000 people die per year in drunk-driving crashes.

“In every state, it’s illegal to drive drunk, yet one person was killed in a drunk-driving crash every 52 minutes in the United States in 2019.”

In addition to the trauma that a drunk driving fatality can generate for those on both sides of this tragedy, there are the fines, the penalties, the prison time and the driving restrictions that can last for years or even a lifetime. In many cases, the family life and career of the drunk driver will never be the same.

Driving drunk generates many variables, from the moment someone is either  pulled over by police or flagged at a checkpoint, until either a judge slams his or her gavel to impose a sentence. 

There is so much at stake when it comes to drunk driving, whether you have suffered injuries from a drunk driver or are a family member who lost a loved one to a drunk driver. At the opposite end of the spectrum are the drunk drivers, who must navigate a seemingly endless maze of red tape as they work feverishly to stay out of jail or avoid cleaning out their life’s savings because of fines, penalties and mandatory classes. One could even lose their job over a drunk driving offense. 

Your best first move is to call the law firm of Phillips & Millman, whose attorneys are well-versed in the legal ramifications of a DWI offense. 

“Our team of lawyers has decades of experience and is led by two former assistant district attorneys who prosecuted a wide variety of cases before moving into the private sector and becoming defense attorneys,” reads the law firm’s website, pmlawny.com. “This experience as prosecutors helps Phillips & Millman successfully defend clients facing charges ranging from minor traffic offenses and DWI charges to the most serious of felonies. During these critical times, we stand by our clients’ side and ensure they receive fair treatment.”

And make no mistake about it, being charged with a DWI will be one of the most critical times of your life. 

According to Stopdwi.org, the official website of STOP DWI New York:

  • Fines for alcohol offenses range from $300 to $10,000. 
  • In addition to fines, court surcharges are applied to each offense and range from $260 for conviction of driving while ability impaired, a violation, to $520 for a felony offense.
  • A $750 Driver Responsibility Assessment is levied by the Department of Motor Vehicles, in addition to standard fees for re-issuing a license.
  • To become eligible for a conditional license, a cost of $200-$225 is charged for the New York State Drinking Driver Program. 
  • Those referred for alcohol or substance abuse evaluation are responsible for the cost of treatment not covered by insurance.
  • To all of these costs, each offender must add the cost of a lawyer to represent them in court. Depending on the complexity of the case, fees range from $3,000 to $10,000.
  • Finally, each DWI Offender will have to purchase Automobile Insurance from the risk pool. The premiums paid by this group are typically 3 times that of other drivers.
  • Estimates of the Total financial cost of a typical DWI: $5,000 to $15,000.

Nothing good comes from drunk driving. And that’s something to remember before you have that one drink too many, or decide to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle when it’s obvious you should call a cab/Uber/Lyft, get a hotel room or crash on someone’s couch.