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Getting pulled over for impaired driving could cost as much as a cross-country trip

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MISHAWAKA, Ind. – With the New Year just hours away, police are cracking down on impaired driving. For drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs, getting pulled over could cost as much as a trip across the U.S.

“When we make an arrest we know that we’re taking that person off the road and keeping our roads safe,” said Lt. Tim Williams with Mishawaka Police, “but we also know that person has a lot to go through.”

Mishawaka police are working towards a 7th year of no deadly or serious-injury accidents over the New Year holiday. They say their first priority is keeping people safe out on the roads.  

"It’s either drive sober or get pulled over, and we’re not going to hesitate to pull you over,” said Williams.

And the cost of that can add up quickly.

“In DUIs there are a lot of hidden costs,” said Stan Wruble with Wruble Law Group in South Bend.

Apart from court costs, fines, and lawyer fees, he says there are several other aspects to an OWI. 

“If your car is impounded that’s going to be a couple hundred dollars at least,” said Wruble. “If your car is towed there’s going to be a fee for towing the car to impound. You’re likely going to be required to do some kind of substance abuse counseling or treatment for an OWI and that can run anywhere from $500 to $1000.”

Getting an OWI will also increase insurance rates.

The national average cost for an OWI is about $10,000. Wruble says it’s lower in South Bend, averaging between $4,000 and $8,000 for a first time OWI.

“The reason there’s such a large range is depending on a lot of the different circumstances, some OWI scan be reduced to a reckless driving or a different charge,” he said.

But that’s the minimum. The price can rise by thousands of dollars based on the circumstances, like an injury or death.

“I always tell people it’s much cheaper to get an Uber or a cab than to get a DUI,” said Wruble.

Uber estimates a trip across the country from New York City to Los Angeles will cost around $6,000.

So as New Year celebrations kick off, police warn impaired drivers to pass the keys to save money and lives.

“If not for your safety, but for the sake of your family and your friends because that void thatwill be in place because of that tragic event is irreplaceable,” said Williams.

He says slick roads and icy conditions could add another layer of hazards for drivers.

Because of the bad weather expected, officers will not be doing sobriety checkpoints. Dozens of officers will be working overtime to patrol areas across the county.

“The important thing to remember is if we’re going to go out and we’re going to drink, mixing that with those slick roads is a recipe for that disaster that we want to avoid,” said Williams.

Last year Mishawaka officers made 10 arrests for impaired driving. Williams is hoping this year to make zero. 

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