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Drinking & driving could cost you thousands

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You will want to think twice before drinking if you have to drive this New Year's Eve.

If a police officer catches you drinking and driving, you could end up paying around $15,000. These are costs local attorneys say have tripled over the past decade.

Amarillo Police say many impaired drivers are caught on simple traffic violations like driving too slow, too fast, or weaving in and out of lanes. Sergeant Steve Davis says, "A lot of them are hilarious, think it's funny. Laughing, joking. And you have the ones that are crying. And you have the ones that are falling down, can't even stand up."

This is how Davis says most officers catch people who are given a DWI. But it's not a joke when the costs come afterward. Local attorneys say there are several fees involved.

Here's the breakdown:

-The fine itself: up to $2,000

-Car insurance can go up about $3,000

-Probation: about $80 a month

-A lawyer: around 3 thousand

And most underage drinkers are not excused. Davis says, "If the officer stops you, and you're under 21. And they even smell or detect an odor of alcohol. Then you could get a ticket for that. But most of those go to jail too."

He says most end up paying the same amount of money. Whittenburg Law Firm Attorney Len Walker says, "A lot of people find themselves in a terrible 22 cycle of violations. And being pulled back into court. Probation being extended. More motorist restrictions placed upon them. And then more fees."

Davis says, "That could be your last time to drive and you could be killed. But I think it's even worse you could kill somebody else. You know, an innocent person out there, maybe with a little child. And then imagine the legal fees then."

Amarillo Police are asking you to have a safe New Years by choosing not to drink and drive.

Jessica Abuchaibe, NewsChannel 10.

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