As most people know, bankruptcy provides filers in financial distress with a quick and relatively efficient way to start over and make better decisions in the future. What many are fuzzy about is exactly what types of debts can be included and that is forgiven with a filing. Read on to find more about one particular debt and how it's treated by bankruptcy.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Convictions
Being arrested, charged, and convicted of a DUI can mean some serious consequences, both financially and personally. Some unfortunate DUI offenders end up having to spend time in jail, and most lose their driving privileges for a time. These punishments can often lead to even more negative consequences. For example, if the accused is incarcerated or cannot drive, they may face a job loss.
What to Understand About Criminal Charges and the Financial Obligations
Those who are convicted of DUI can expect to spend thousands of dollars as a result. Every single legal aspect comes with its own set of costs. While the costs will vary from place to place, it's not unusual to owe anywhere from $10,000 up to $25,000 over the course of a DUI case. Here is a just a partial list of what a typical DUI defendant can expect in terms of financial obligations:
- Court fees
- Criminal defense attorney fees
- Fees for probation or parole
- Fees for a hardship driver's license and then a reinstatement fee (if approved)
- Ignition interlock device fees
- Fees for ankle monitoring
- Fees for DUI and driving classes and court-ordered counseling
- Victim restitution costs (if there were injuries or a death as a result of the DUI occurrence)
- Civil court judgment (if you were sued as a result of a DUI-related accident)
DUI-related Cost Cannot Be Discharged
Unfortunately, the bankruptcy code does not allow for the discharge of DUI-related costs. That does not mean, however, that you won't benefit from filing. Knowing that your legal fees are non-negotiable and non-dischargeable, you may just naturally need to deplete your financial resources and funnel funds toward your legal debts. Doing so can strip your budget for medical bills and make you behind on your credit cards and other bills very rapidly. Fortunately, the following debt obligations are very likely dischargeable with a bankruptcy filing:
- Credit cards
- Personal loans
- Certain older tax debts
- Medical bills
If a DUI has ruined your financial situation, don't despair. Speak to a chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer right away and find out how your burden can be lessened while you get your legal picture sorted out.