Many of us will ring in the new year with a few beers or some bubbly, but no party is worth the cost of a DUI.
“There’s a major drinking and driving problem here in this county,” Lt. Marc Tochterman, with BCSO, said.
He said DUI’s and accidents increase in December and January. This New Years holiday, you can expect extra patrols county-wide.
“Panama City’s gonna have extra guys out. FHP is gonna have extra guys out,” he said.
But what does a DUI actually cost?
An attorney, bail, towing, community service, alcohol treatment classes and more add up quickly.
You also have to factor in possible time you’re missing from work or the chance that you lose your job. He said your insurance rates will also go up if the company doesn’t drop your coverage all together.
“10,000 dollars is still a very accurate figure even in 2017,” Sauline said.
That figure doesn’t factor in scenarios like if it’s a second offense or if you have military status. The penalties go up.
“Not only are they being punished in civilian court but they also have to think about what is the military going to do to punish them and how is it going to affect their career?”
Even if you’re just sitting in your car, not moving, with your keys in the ignition, you can still be arrested if you’ve been drinking over the limit.
“One night could ruin your life,” Sauline said.
Or cost someone else’s.
“Now you’re looking at a DUI manslaughter. That is something in this jurisdiction judges sentence people anywhere from 10 to 12 years in prison,” he said.
You could be someone paying a price that digs deeper than any wallet.
“As soon as you say ‘it’s not going to happen to me, it will,” Lt. Tocheterman said.
Sauline also urges people to double check their prescription medication bottles before driving.
He said driving under the influence of those medications can also put you at risk for a DUI.