Cost of DUI Cases Reduced by Ignition Interlock Devices
Ignition interlock systems can work to benefit the court system financially. It has been proven that installing an interlock device into a DUI offender’s vehicle will prevent recidivism because the driver simply cannot get behind the wheel with alcohol in his or her system. Therefore fewer DUI offenders on the road mean fewer DUI cases, and thus, fewer costly DUI trials. DUI cases are expensive given the need for scientific evidence, expert witnesses, and the growing number of extremely skilled DUI defense attorneys. Reducing the number of DUI offenders cuts the amount of time and money judges and prosecutors will need to spend in court. Plus, it will help law enforcement catch DUI offenders without the need for excess officers and DUI checkpoints.
It is also evident that if ignition interlock devices become much more mainstream, that even first time offenders will be deterred from drinking and driving. If they realize that ignition interlock devices are the punishment, it could act as a warning and a potential threat to a person who has no DUI history in the first place. There is also talk of installing ignition interlock systems in all vehicles in the future. Imagine how this would cut costs of DUI court cases to almost a minimal amount.
What are the potential costs involved for the DUI offender himself? Even after an arrest, the offender will have to pay court costs, attorney fees, and expenses for license suspensions. If convicted, there are serious fines, alcohol education classes, increases in car insurance, and possible jail time to contend with. A DUI offender can expect to pay some ten to fifteen thousand dollars, especially if he or she decides to plead guilty. This is why an ignition interlock system is so ideal. The cost of the device to the offender is roughly $60 a month plus the initial installation fees. There is no comparison between the cost of the device and the costs if convicted of a DUI.
As an incentive to participate in the ignition interlock program, many judges are offering of help with all the costs involved in a conviction. In fact, some judges are waiving fines, license reinstatement fees, and insurance surcharges if the DUI offender is successful with the ignition interlock system. Again, this type of incentive will generate a positive feeling about the ignition interlock system and hopefully encourage the DUI offender to stay sober. If this happens there will be less DUI cases in the future and less costs on the court system.
Some insurance companies are also beginning to take into account the use of an ignition interlock system when assessing the situation after a DUI conviction. These companies realize that ignition interlock devices are making a huge difference in repeat behavior, and are therefore reducing or waiving the insurance surcharge after a DUI conviction.