NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – You’ve heard it time and time again: it’s illegal to drink and drive. If you’re over the limit, you’re under arrest. It’s a message fewer drivers are paying attention to. Over the past weekend, in one 72 hour period, Northampton police arrested 7 people who got behind the wheel while impaired.
Florence resident Paul Gulla told 22News the statistic makes him worried. “I think the nice weather makes a lot of people make decisions that maybe they normally wouldn’t,” said Gulla. “I have two young kids, so it’s very concerning.”
An OUI fine could cost you a couple hundred bucks, but it’s the court and lawyer fees that add up quickly. To make it easy for you, let’s look at what a first-time OUI costs.
The state said a violator for the first time needs to pay a fine anywhere between $500 and $5,000, depending on the offense itself. You’ll also need to factor in these minimum costs:
- Attorney fee: $1,500
- Court and probation costs: $2,500 ($80/month)
- Car insurance surcharge: $800 / year
- License reinstatement
- Driving reinstatement classes
- Car being towed
- Transportation while license is suspended
In the end, you’re looking at a ballpark minimum total of $5,000 before trial and investigation fees. The cost only goes up with each OUI you get. It’s the price you pay when you put lives at risk.
“I worry about people in the street,” said Florence resident Patricia Jenkins, “especially here in Northampton where people just cruise cross the street because it’s been like that, always.”
Northampton police are encouraging drivers to talk with their family and friends about making safe driving choices. If you’ve been drinking, call a cab or a friend – never drive.
Below are the punishments and fines of each OUI offense as laid out by the state:
- 1st Offense: Up to 30 months in jail; $500 – $5,000 fines and penalties; license suspended for 1 year
- 2nd Offense: 30 days to 30 months in jail; $600 – $10,000 fines and penalties; license suspended for 2 years
- 3rd Offense: 150 days to 5 years in jail; $1,000 – $15,000 fines and penalties; license suspended for 8 years
- 4th Offense: 1 to 5 years in jail; $1,500 – $25,000 fines and penalties; license suspended for 10 years
- 5th Offense: 2 to 5 years in jail; $2,000 – $50,000 fines and penalties; license permanently suspended