A DUI in Washington state will cost you plenty

Impaired driving not only puts a driver, passengers and others in danger, but can be expensive if you are caught. The ticket itself is not the only price you will pay. In addition to the fine, drivers who receive a DUI might have to deal with attorney fees, alcohol education fees and lost wages and other costs.

In 2013, nearly 8,000 drivers were charged with a DUI in King County.

A study by, a personal finance website which brands itself as a means for helping consumers make informed decisions about money, has estimated the financial damage from a DUI. It conducted a study on the costs of a DUI in terms of fines and increases in insurance rates that often follow a DUI ticket.

One of the longest-lasting financial impacts from a DUI comes in the form of insurance increases. In Washington, car insurance increases will last on a driver’s record for five years after they receive a DUI. The minimum fine for a first-time DUI in Washington is $940.50, but the resulting car insurance premium increases for the average Washington driver will be almost 2.5 times the initial fine—drivers will pay $2,334.01 more for insurance over the course of five years.

Depending on the severity of the fine, the true cost of a first-time DUI for Washington drivers is between $6,574.51 and $10,634.01.

After receiving a DUI, the average Washington driver will see his or her car insurance increase by more than half. The typical Washington driver will pay $466.80 extra each year for insurance after a DUI. The increases last for five years after receiving a DUI, which means the average driver will pay $2,334.01 in insurance increases.

What are the costs associated with a DUI in Washington?

To calculate the “true cost” of getting a ticket for impaired driving in Washington, Nerdwallet looked at four costs associated with DUIs:

1)   The fine: The fine that drivers pay depends on the situation. The minimum fine for a first-time offender with a BAC of less than 0.15 is $940.50; the maximum is $5,000. According to Washington’s Administrative Office of the Courts, the average fine imposed for all convictions—not just first-time offenders—was $3,711 in 2013.

2) Lawyer’s fees: According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, Washington drivers who receive a DUI pay about $2,000 in lawyer’s fees.

3)   Ignition interlock device fees: If a driver wants to drive again, he or she will have to install an ignition interlock device in his or her car. According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, the device will cost about $1,300 for the first year.  In Washington, first-time offenders need to have the device for at least a year.

4)   Location also influences the total cost. The Website ranked the financial impact of a DUI in 66 Washington cities.

The city with the most expensive DUIs is Tacoma with the true cost of a DUI ranging from $7,398.80 to $11,458.30.

Mercer Island was ranked as the 17th in highest DUI expense ranging between  $6,737.00 and  $10,796.50.

The national organization, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, ranks Washington state as 25th in the nation for the highest number of drunk driving fatalities.

Extra DUI patrols in place until Sept. 1

Even though Washington has legalized marijuana for adults 21 and older, it is still illegal and dangerous to drive under the influence of marijuana or alcohol or both.

Officers now have additional training to identify impaired drivers.

And younger marijuana users should take note: Impairment laws are much stricter for anyone under the age of 21.

A young driver who has any marijuana in their system or a blood alcohol concentration of .02 or higher is considered to be driving under the influence and is at risk for arrest.

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