In the week leading up to Christmas and continuing through New Year’s Day, the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office will step up efforts to reduce drunk driving on local roadways.
The enforcement blitz — the Christmas/New Year’s Sober or Slammer! DUI crackdown campaign — is spearheaded by the South Carolina Department of Public Safety and runs from today through January 1, 2013. The goal is to curb the number of crashes and fatalities caused by motorists driving while impaired during the holiday season.
The Sober or Slammer! campaign is part of the national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” crackdown coordinated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The national effort includes state and local law enforcement agencies across the country. The campaign combines high-visibility enforcement with heightened public awareness through advertising and publicity.
Deputies will be conducting proactive, targeted patrols throughout the county in search of impaired drivers. Those who insist on breaking the law while putting others in danger will need to be prepared for the legal and personal consequences, to include a DUI arrest. Aside from a criminal charge, a DUI arrest carries a huge financial burden. The following are just a few of the average costs associated with a first offense DUI:
• Motor vehicle insurance fees: The cost of insurance typically doubles for at least the first three years after a DUI conviction. For the average driver in the state, the cost could increase more than $3,000.
• Court fees: The fines for a DUI in South Carolina range from $1,000 to $2,000.
• Attorney fees: According to attorneys throughout the state, $3,500 is the average cost to fight a first offense DUI.
• Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program: Drivers charged with DUI in South Carolina are required to go through this program. The minimum cost for the safety action program is $500; additional fees could be as high as $2,500.
• Bail bondsman: Bail bondsmen can charge a maximum of 15 percent of the fine. For a DUI, that equates to at least $150.
• Vehicle towing: Having the vehicle towed after a DUI arrest generally costs about $150.
• License reinstatement fee: The SCDMV charges a $100 license reinstatement fee.
Costs for subsequent offenses or a felony DUI charge would be higher. Other potential DUI costs include loss of employment and/or wages, increases in life insurance premiums and/or loss of a professional license.