Briefing Boom: count the cost of driving while intoxicated

Logo courtesy of Seal Beach PD

Last week I wrote a press release about an allegedly intoxicated driver that crashed into Taco Surf and seriously injured the two passengers in his car.

I echo Chief Phil Gonshak’s sentiment in which he wrote that there is no excuse for driving drunk or high.  Especially now, where there are so many alternatives such as the multitude of rideshare services like Uber or Lyft.

I’ve used both of these services, and anecdotally, for $50 I was able to get from the Hollywood area back to Orange County without having to worry about having more than two drinks that night.

Fifty dollars might seem like a lot, but for the peace of mind that comes with not worrying about chancing a DUI, or even potentially injuring or killing someone, it’s a small price that I would happily pay.

To put that $50 in perspective, the cost of a first time, misdemeanor DUI is estimated to cost about $15,649 according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving.  The Automobile Club of Southern California breaks it down even further:

• Fines (minimum) – $390

• Penalties – $1,245

• Vehicle Tow/Storage – $350

• Alcohol Education Class – $575

• Victim Restitution Fund – $140

• DMV License Re-issue Fee – $125

• Booking (fingerprinting, booking photo, etc.) – $170

• Auto Insurance Increase – $10,154

• Attorney and Legal Fees – $2,500.

• Total – $15,649+

This also doesn’t consider the cost of losing your driver’s license, not being able to get to work, and the hours it will take to complete the alcohol education class.  Plus, it isn’t a quick process to jump through the hoops to get your license reissued and go through the court and legal process.

And again, this $15,649+ is just for a first time DUI where nobody is injured.  Second, third, fourth, etc. arrests mean significantly increased costs and mandatory jail time.

If a person drives drunk or high and injuries, or worse kills someone, this is a felony charge, and it will result in lengthy jail sentences.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that every 52 minutes, someone in the United States is killed by a drunk driver.  If we cannot appeal to your sense of right and wrong, I hope the cost associated with even a first time DUI will have you consider taking a $50 Uber or Lyft.

To find out more about MADD’s efforts to combat drunk driving, please

Please don’t drive drunk or high Seal Beach.

The Seal Beach Police Department does not want to see anyone else senselessly injured or killed because of one person’s bad decision to get behind the wheel when impaired.

We take DUI enforcement seriously and when we find impaired drivers, they get arrested.

Keep your questions coming Seal Beach.

Please email me at today.