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The Cost of Driving Drunk

By: Rachelle Baillon Email
By: Rachelle Baillon Email

Tuesday, April 30, 2013--10p.m.
MADISON--With the money you'll fork over if you're caught driving drunk, you could buy yourself a brand new 65-inch 3D television, complete with cinema quality speakers, a smart blu-ray player, a La-Z-Boy recliner--and still have money left over to furnish an expansive movie collection--plus popcorn to last you a year.

Still thinking about driving yourself home?

A first offense OWI will get you a ticket, with a price tag in the ballpark of $825.

And if your blood alcohol content is above .15 you'll be required to install an ignition interlock device on your car. "That is roughly about an extra $1000 a month," said Maj. Sandra Huxtable, the director of the Bureau of Transportation Safety at the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. "It's pretty expensive and it's the violator's responsibility."

And if you have to have your license reinstated, Maj. Huxtable said you'll be sinking another couple of hundred dollars into that. Plus: "The assessment you have to go through, behavior assessment that's at that offender's cost, that's expensive, that costs that offender some additional money as well," she said. And by "additional money", we're talking in the $200-250 range.

Those are just the up front costs. Other factors: you're likely going to have to miss work to appear in court, or even spend time in jail. Your insurance rates are going to skyrocket and you better hope you've got thousands of dollars just lying around that you won't miss: "We've estimated it at somewhere between $3,000 and $8,000," said Maj. Huxtable. "It is very, very costly and it stays with you for quite a significant period of time."


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