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Topic # 199139 6-Aug-2016 04:04
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Staying in California the other week with my brother, we got to discussing driving offences (as you do) and he was stunned when I told him how little the average DUI offence was likely to cost in NZ. He said that the average cost in California was well over US$10,000 for a first offence, so no one risks it unless they are positively bonkers.

 

I was sure it could not be that expensive - turns out, it is! Found this 2013 article:

 

 

 

Beware of the $16,000 cocktail.

 

Just in time for St. Patrick's Day partying, the Automobile Club of Southern California has calculated that a first-offense misdemeanor DUI conviction can now cost up to $15,649 in California.

 

That’s up 29% from 2011.

 

The penalties are even higher for teenagers. The expense of an under-age-21 first-offense misdemeanor DUI is up to $22,492. "

 

 

 

Maybe we could try that level of penalty here to clean up our stats!






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  Reply # 1605258 6-Aug-2016 05:52
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A simple googling of California DUI penalties shows that those "costs" or "expenses" aren't typical fines but must include lawyers fees. Get a lawyer involved here wouldn't be cheap either.



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  Reply # 1606160 8-Aug-2016 05:09
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First offence -

 

 

 

4 days to 6 months jail, fine up to US$1,000, Licence suspension up to 10 months

 

 

 

Second offence

 

 

 

Jail 10 days - 1 year, fine up to US$1,800, suspension 2 years (which can be reduced to 1 year), Interlock Ignition Device required

 

 

 

Third Offence

 

 

 

Jail - 120 days - 1 year, fine up to US$1800, licence suspension 3 years, IID required

 

 

 

Fourth offence within 10 months of third (you really do not want this one!!)

 

 

 

Jail 16 months, fine US$18,000, suspension 4 years, IID device

 

 

 

Limit below age 21 is zero more or less (0.01).

 

 

 

So yes, lawyers fees and additional insurance costs (which we could replicate with ACC penalties for convicted drivers) make up some but by no means all of the costs.






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  Reply # 1606185 8-Aug-2016 08:42
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I do agree our courts do seem to let drink drivers (especially those who kill) off with a slap with a wet bus ticket.

 

However financial penalties don't deter those hardcore drinkers who just "put it on the tab". I've seen people with 10k+ in fines have it all converted to community work at a few hundred dollars an hour.

 

It's nice to see an increasing use of the Interlock device though, especially fitted at the drivers own cost, as it's a constant reminder every time they start the car for work of what they did and why it's there. 


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  Reply # 1606188 8-Aug-2016 08:56
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I think there needs to be harsher 'physical' penalties myself. if you're suspended from driving for three months, a Police issued wheel lock should be fitted, 6 months or more shoudl be Car taken away and sold/crushed. make the suspension and/or loss of licence have an immediate impact on the vehicular access and re-offending is a much harder thing to do!

 

 

 

Out here in the 'Counties', many offenders just ignore the suspension/ban and carry on like nothing happened... often leading to reoffense with the added charges of driving while suspended just tagged on and not really enforced.


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  Reply # 1606225 8-Aug-2016 10:03
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tehgerbil:

 

I've seen people with 10k+ in fines have it all converted to community work at a few hundred dollars an hour.

 

 

I've seen that too.  A person I know got all his fines converted to community service at an effective rate of >$100/hr - for unskilled labour.  If you paid someone to do the same work it would cost $25/hour and then they would have to pay tax.





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  Reply # 1606233 8-Aug-2016 10:10
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As with most such things, I think there should be a graduated scale according to the severity of the offending, though nothing like what we currently have. People make mistakes and they deserve a second chance (NOT a third, or fourth, or fifth, etc.). First offence, being over the limit (not grossly so), no death or damage, then a fine and suspension as is the case now. Subsequent offense or accident, big fine, loss of license for extended period, car impounded for duration of suspension. The argument that others use the car and are dependent on it should bear no weight. The drunk knew that when the decision was made to drive. Doesn't matter who owns it. Only exception is if the car was stolen. Otherwise the car should be part of the punishment. Any additional offenses, or death or injury, throw the book at them. Massive fines, lengthy jail, destruction of vehicle, permanent suspension.

 

 





I reject your reality and substitute my own. - Adam Savage
 


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  Reply # 1606241 8-Aug-2016 10:17
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The trouble is with drink driving it has potential to be fatal the first time, so the deterrent needs to be very strong.





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  Reply # 1606269 8-Aug-2016 11:41
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MikeAqua:

 

The trouble is with drink driving it has potential to be fatal the first time, so the deterrent needs to be very strong.

 

 

That's the trouble with driving in general I think. My brother was killed in a head on collision almost 20 years ago. The guy that hit him was on the wrong side of the road overtaking multiple cars on a bend, in an unregistered/unwarranted car, and had never had a licence. He was only charged with careless use causing death.

 

His defence for not having a licence was that he couldn't read or write. He was sentenced to community service which he never served due to some mystery illness, and was ordered to pay reparation for the cost of my bother's motorbike - for which he only paid a few hundred dollars before vanishing without trace , so he basically got off scot free. My father found out where he lived and observed him driving again just days after the collision, but the Police wouldn't do anything without hard evidence, which my father could not produce.

 

The real kicker was when the Police officers who investigated the collision told us what "a shame" it was that the guy hadn't been over the drink drive limit at the time of the collision, because then they could have thrown the book at him.

 

I'm not sure I see where the deterrent was in this scenario.....


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  Reply # 1606280 8-Aug-2016 12:07
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I don't have words for that. I'm sorry for your brother and I'm sorry you and the rest of your family had to go through that.

 

 





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