I received an email from a poor fellow that got on the wrong end of a DUI stop. He seemed to have an answer for everything that was wrong with the stop. I mean literally everything. He wrote over 160 pages of rebuttal of the stop. He claimed that DUI enforcement is some sort of money making machine.
While I would be the first one to agree that DUI enforcement is sloppy and misguided, the problem with the “DUI business” model is that it doesn’t make money. For example let’s say you are a small city like Spring Grove, IL or Harvard, IL. According to AAIM statistics if you are Spring Grove you write 55 DUIs in 2013, 27 if you are Harvard Illinois.
Let’s imagine that only 4 of your cases go to jury trial. The average cost of a (2-3 day)DUI jury trial to a small municipality is $4,000. So you spend $16,000 on jury trials per city ($32,000 total). Both cities combined write 82 DUIs. To write these DUIs both cities combined employ 27 officers. If you get $1,500 per DUI (which you don’t) the total DUI money is $123,000, minus how much you paid for jury trials ($32,000), minus the amount you paid your prosecutor (I will guess $2,000 per month for each city, $48,000), means you net $43,000.
You have 27 officers, who you presumably pay to be police officers, divided by $43,000, means that DUI enforcement pays you $1,593 per officer per year. I have not counted cases that get dismissed because there is not enough evidence, the cars and the gas required to keep the patrols on the road, or officer overtime waiting for hearings or trials to start. The rumor is that officers get 3 hours overtime per hearing.
If there were a hearing for each of the 82 DUIs that would be 246 hours of overtime paid. I do not know how much officer overtime is but a conservative guess would be $25/hr. So the total for overtime would cut another $6,150 off of the $43,000, leaving you with $36,850.
I am pretty sure the salary for one of the 27 officers exceeds the $36,850.
So as a business model, DUI enforcement as a way to make money doesn’t do very well
Law Dude, Ray Flavin, is a DUI attorney who represents drivers that have been charged with DUI in McHenry County Illinois. His law offices are located across the street from the McHenry County Courthouse in Woodstock, IL.