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Celebrating a night out? Catch a ride instead of DWI

Posted December 29, 2008
Updated March 9, 2009

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— Drive drunk, and it could cost you – there's the potential loss of life, freedom and money.

In fact, it could cost you, financially, anywhere between $8,000 and $10,000, says local attorney Karl Knudsen, who's represented more than 1,500 people facing DWI charges.

Zevo Express Get a DWI … It will cost you

"It's a major trauma to be charged with a DWI," Knudsen said. "But it's very expensive, and it's one of those situations where you're a lot better off to prevent it in the first place than to try to deal with a very serious problem later on."

As the New Year approaches, there's now a safer and comparatively cheaper option in the Triangle for getting you and your car home after a night out, especially on a night like New Year's Eve.

For a $10 service fee and a rate of $1 per mile – about a third less than a taxi – Zevo Express provides direct door-to-door shuttle service to bars and restaurants in the Triangle seven days a week.

Founder Darian Smith says he started the service nearly three months ago after a friend was involved in a drunken-driving wreck and suffered injuries that now keep him from walking.

Smith says he doesn't want to see what happened to his friend happen to anyone else.

"We try to get everyone home safe," said Kevin Brienzi, who co-owns Harrison's Bar & Grill in Cary, and helps promotes Zevo Express. "We're definitely pushing it. I have seen people use it. I, myself, have used it."

It works like this: About 20 minutes before you want to leave for home, call the service, 18-NO-DWI-5042, and a professional designated driver will arrive at your location and, in your own vehicle, drive you home.

Although not required, reservations are strongly encouraged.

And even though it might sound a little expensive, Knudsen says it's far less than the estimated $8,000 associated with getting a DWI.

For example, a first-time offender, Knudsen says, lose your license, and you'll likely have to pay a $100 fee to get limited driving privileges.

Another $200 is necessary to get your license back and for substance abuse assessments. Classes cost up to an additional $500.

"And that's before you get to trial," Knudsen aid.

If convicted, fines, court costs, community service fees and other costs are typically at least $500.

Then, depending on the severity of the offense, an alcohol meter installed in your vehicle – can mean an additional $1,000.

"Then, if you have any sense at all, you want to get a good lawyer, and good lawyers are not cheap," Knudsen said. "You could easily spend $2,000 to $3,000 on attorney fees."

And if you're convicted, plan on your auto insurance rates jumping up about 400 percent. For most people, he says, that means increased costs from $3,000 to $5,000.

"It's a whole lot cheaper to call a cab, all a friend, walk – do anything besides get behind a wheel of a car when you've been drinking," he said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • doubletap357 Dec 31, 2008

    I think 2009 will suck just as bad as 2008 anyway so there's really nothing to celebrate anyway.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Dec 31, 2008

    Good advice, Dr Dataclerk, sunneyone

    Thank-you so much. Have a good and joyful 2009. Be blessed!

  • Dr. Dataclerk Dec 31, 2008

    Hopefully, people will take the keys.

    Do you realize how much of a major problem that will be if someone/spouse tried to take the keys? There will be a funny fight and usually the drunk wins. Gets into the vehicle, and drives away. Many times the person do not make it home without having a major wreck and mangling and killing someone. The best thing to do tonight is NOT TO DRINK ALCOHOL, PERIOD. Put the ABC store out of business. You can have fun. Get a non-alcoholic pepsi. lol HAVE A JOYFUL NEW YEAR! BE SAFE AND WATCH OUT FOR THE OTHER DRIVER WHO MAY BE INTOXICATED! BE CAREFUL! STAY AT HOME.

  • sunneyone Dec 31, 2008

    Good advice, Dr Dataclerk, to not ride with someone who has been drinking. Hopefully, people will take the keys.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Dec 31, 2008

    Hopefully people will use it and not drive drunk...


  • Dr. Dataclerk Dec 31, 2008

    If you get drunk, then you are going to miss the new year coming in. My point is why do you have to indulged in alcohol, period? I don't drink and can have just as much fun as a drunk. At least I will know where I am, who I am, who is around me and I can drive myself home. If you are driving drunk, the cops stops you, you will be arrested for DWI, license taken, money, shame, etc. Do you want that? No one can tell you what to do when you want to do the driving. Wives or husbands - do not enter the your vehicle with your spouse driving under the influence of alcohol. JOYFUL NEW YEAR TO ALL!

  • tanahusky Dec 30, 2008

    What a great service to offer. Hopefully people will use it and not drive drunk...

  • sunneyone Dec 30, 2008

    leo-nc, EXACTLY!

  • leo-nc Dec 30, 2008

    If it keeps someone from drinking and driving, then who cares how the story came out? Semantics.

  • Randy Cox Dec 30, 2008


    I'm sure they appreciate your "unsolicited" plug.

    I'd bet another $100 that jaredg is personally or professionally associated with the Zevo Express people.

    JAREG, how long have you been a GOLO member? Your profile doesn't say, so I guessing you joined today.