DUI and related charges are very expensive! They are made that way intentionally. The punishments, including payment of fines are said to have a deterent affect on the drinking driver. This is the politically correct expression of state policy. A closer look at the Georgia laws would begin to disclose a more sinister and greedy plan to tax and fund the retirement coffers of certain state employees. First, lets looks at the fines themselves. I will not discuss the other types of punishment s in this Legal Guide, look for related Guides covering those topics soon. Now, as far as the fines themselves go, all but a few exceptional misdemeanors carry a maximum fine of $1,000.00. State laws determine how much the local courts and local governments keep and how much goes to the State of Georgia. But for the most part, ALL of these funds go into the General Fund. That gets sliced up according to the budgets these governments set each year. And as you have probably guessed, the folks who did the work to create these fines do not think they received their fair share. So, the legislators go together and created a neat legal device they called "sur-charges" Now, they would say that these are not fines and they are not additional punishments, the the guy having to pay them still feels the additional weight of the economic burden sur-charges create. Now, getting to the point: In a DUI case these sur-charges run up to 50% of the amount of the final fine! Guess where this additional amount goes? Thaaat's right! A large cut goes to the retirement funds of the sheriff, judges, police and clerk RETIREMENT FUNDS! Prosecutor education is also provided for and a small amount to to pet projects for injured victims treatment programs. It doesn't matter that the driver didn't injure anyone. It doesn't matter that government wastes tax dollars. You got caught , so cough it up, Buster! So, how does the state and courts handle these robberous takings of money? They use probation. By doing so, they can stretch out the time of payment and make folks thing they are doing them a favor in the process! Oh, I forgot, did I tell you that you will have to pay a monthly fee to the probation office on top of the fines and sur-charges? Sorry. Now in a time of such a slow economy, things everywhere are tightening up. But do not expect any such thing from the state by way of these matters. I would not be surprised to find the sur-charges going up instead.