Police officer giving driver a sobriety Test © Doug Menuez-Getty Images

Related topics: insurance, auto insurance, drunk driving, road safety, traffic tickets

If you need any more reasons not to drink and drive, consider this: A driving-under-the-influence conviction is a financial wrecking ball. A typical DUI costs about $10,000 by the time you pay bail, fines, fees and insurance, even if you didn't hit anything or hurt anybody.

The penalties are intended to discourage the behavior. Alcohol played a role in nearly 32% of U.S. automobile fatalities in 2009, the latest year for which figures are available. That's 10,839 deaths, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. An average of one alcohol-impaired-driving fatality occurred every 48 minutes in 2009.

So states are cracking down. The last of the 50 states have lowered their thresholds for DUI to 0.08% blood-alcohol content. Police arrested more than 1.4 million people in 2009 for driving under alcohol's grip, the FBI says.

But forget for a moment the humiliation and hassle. Forget the toll on lives. Just look at what a DUI does to your wallet:

Bail. You'll have to shell out bail to get released after your arrest. Cost: $150-$2,500 (using a bonding company is what raises the cost).

(Costs shown in this article are for first-time DUI offenders. Costs and penalties are often more severe if you're a repeat offender or your blood-alcohol content is above 0.15%.)

Towing. When you're arrested, your car gets towed. In some places, retrieving it costs only $100 or so. But Chicago, sensing a moneymaking opportunity, ensures it really hurts: The city charges about $1,200 for the first 24 hours and $50 for each additional day of storage, says Chicago DUI defense attorney Harold Wallin. If you can't afford to get your car after 30 days, the city auctions it off and then comes after you with a civil judgment for the impoundment bill, if the sale of the car didn't cover the fees. Some cities around Chicago are doing the same, Wallin says. Cost: $100-$1,200.

Insurance. One of the biggest hits a drunken driver takes is in his insurance premiums.

"If you get a DUI conviction, it will likely affect your insurance rates for (at least) the next three to five years," says Carole Walker, the executive director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association.

How much? "They could double, triple, even quadruple," Walker says. Some companies such as State Farm Insurance will move you to a portion of the company that handles higher-risk policies.

But "some insurance companies will drop you even upon arrest, regardless of conviction," says Steven Oberman, a Knoxville, Tenn., DUI attorney who is the co-author of a national treatise on drunken-driving defense. And if your policy isn't renewed, you'll have to try to find insurance someplace else or see whether your state has an assigned-risk pool. Either way, you'll pay for it. For example: Illinois estimates that the high-risk insurance costs an additional $1,500 a year for three years, on average.

Why three years? Most insurance companies look at records for at least three years and sometimes for five years, Walker says. To begin rebuilding your reputation in an insurer's eyes, you have to keep your nose completely clean -- no speeding tickets or other traffic citations.

But the financial impact of that DUI doesn't end after three years: You'll likely have to go as many as five more years, incident-free, to get back to the "preferred" status with the lowest premiums that you perhaps once enjoyed. In short, "it can be up to eight years afterward" that the DUI can affect you, Walker says. Ouch. Cost: $4,500 or more.

Legal fees. Attorneys might charge as little as $250 to enter a quick guilty plea. But with so much at stake, many people accused of DUI fight the charge. That's when things start to add up.