Labor Day is just around the corner, and everyone is gearing up for the unofficial end of summer. You may not think too much about getting behind the wheel of car, truck, or a boat after having a few drinks this Labor Day, but it could be a very costly mistake.
Driving Under the Influence
In Tennessee, first time DUI offenders are required to spend a minimum of 48 hours in jail, but this sentence is much higher for repeat offenders. Their sentence can even reach up to a year.
First time offenders can have their license suspended for up to one year after a DUI conviction, but this suspension can last up to eight years for repeat offenders. To get their driver's license back, offenders have to complete an alcohol abuse assessment and receive treatment, as well as complete a Driving Education course. Not only are they responsible for paying the $100 fee to get their driver's license back, but they will potentially have to pay for another form of transportation during the suspension period in order to get around.
Drivers will also be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in their car in order to get their license back. An IID is a breathalyzer installed in an individual's vehicle that requires the driver to blow into the device to test blood alcohol levels before the vehicle will start. Again, the offender is responsible for the installation costs, monthly maintenance costs, and removal costs of the IID. These costs add up to a minimum of $1,000 for the first year.
Fines for first time offenders range from $350 to $1,500. But with added costs from bail, towing, court costs, and other fees, first time offenders could end up paying up to $4,900. For repeat offenders, these fee can range from $600 to $15,000.
The expenses don't stop here. A drunk driving conviction has the potential to raise the insurance bill as much as $10,000 in the first five years after receiving a conviction. You could also lose your job after a DUI conviction.
Boating Under the Influence
While enjoying the fun and sun over the holiday weekend, you may not consider driving a boat while drinking as driving under the influence, but it is and it can also be costly. After one offense, boating privileges are suspended for up to one year, but can extend up to 10 years for repeat offenders.
A BUI can also require jail time up to 11 months, 29 days even for first time offenders and fines for BUI convictions range from $250 to $2,500 for first time offenders. These fines can reach up to $5,000 for repeat offenders.
The Ultimate Cost
Of course, the highest cost of drinking and driving any vehicle is harming yourself or others. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, 44% of traffic deaths over Labor Day weekend involve alcohol. Drinking and driving is never worth the risk. Have fun this Labor Day, but please be safe and drink responsibly.