The Added Costs of DWI - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/20/02

The Added Costs of DWI

It's late Friday night, and when you're out looking for the after hours party, Officer Pete Lara is looking for you. "When you're enforcing DWI's, you're basically looking for traffic violators," says Officer Lara.

Weaving in and out of the lanes, driving without any headlights: These are warning signs the driver may have been drinking. But Officer Lara says that it's not always that obvious. "A lot of times, you might not even think this person might be intoxicated. All you're doing is running radar, just like we're doing right now, and if you catch someone speeding, you stop them," says Lara.

A Texas Tech student is doing 52 in a 35. (SPEEDING TICKET $128) But once Officer Lara steps up to the car, a simple speeding ticket becomes much more serious because the driver has been drinking. "Obviously, he's to the point where he's impaired. You noticed how he did the sobriety test," he says. (DWI CHARGE  $1550 PLUS 2 YEARS PROBATION)

And the cost goes up. "We're going to inventory the vehicle. That way when we impound it, we'll make sure there's nothing missing on his property when he gets out of jail. (TOW AND IMPOUND  $161) There is some residue in the beer. We'll get him for open container, also on a light beer," he adds. (OPEN CONTAINER  $135)

In the DWI room, everything is videotaped. The driver will undergo a second sobriety test, and be offered a chance to take a breathalyzer test. If the driver refuses to take the test, his driver's license will automatically be suspended for 180 days. After that, he'll have to reinstate his license. (REINSTATEMENT FEE $125)

In just minutes, the driver is sent to the Lubbock County Jail where he'll stay the night. And while his bar tab was only about $50, his I.O.U. with the law is clearly much more.

"The cost is expensive. You'll have to go and hire a bondsmen to bond out, (BONDSMEN $365) and on top of that, there's a fee, hire an attorney (ATTORNEY $1500 to 2000) for the actual case itself, your insurance rates will soar," Lara says. (INSURANCE RATES RISE $300-500)

So for a driver pulled over for speeding and a DWI, a night out on the town will possibly cost $4,964, two years probation, and possible jail time. Although $4,964 is the actual dollar amount for the DWI, this number obviously pales in comparison to what the cost could be if the driver would have hurt or even killed somebody.

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