CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCCU) — There's a dark side to all the holiday cheer—drunk driving.
Illinois State Police made a DUI arrest on Christmas Day on Interstate 74 in Urbana. That makes it the second one locally in a week.
With New Year's Eve quickly approaching, local law enforcement is on high alert.
But how much could a DUI cost you?
For a first-time offense, it would total about $15,000 in fines and legal fees, that’s if you don't get into an accident or hurt someone.
Around the holiday season, police usually see an uptick in DUI arrests and it becomes a busy season for attorneys as well.
“The holidays can be a big time to, unfortunately, pick up a DUI," said Matthew Lew, a criminal defense attorney. “You see a lot more cases during the holidays."
He says DUI aren't cheap.
“They are very expensive because there are a lot of mandatory fees baked in the statute," he said.
For a first-time offender, they are looking at a Class A misdemeanor, which means it is punishable up to a year in jail and a $2,5000 fine.
It doesn't stop there. There are also attorney fees, treatment classes, breathalyzer costs, counseling services and more.
As you raise a toast to the new year, Lee says think of the true cost of getting behind the wheel.
“It is one of those things where you can't turn back the clock and someone's life could be gone because of that,” Lee said.
If you do plan on drinking, Police suggest scheduling a ride home beforehand or using a ride share app.