Retrieving car after DUI arrest will now cost $500 in St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Get picked up for a DUI in St. Petersburg and you’ll have to shell out an extra $500 to get your car back.

“Our hope behind doing this is that people don’t get in their vehicle after consuming alcoholic beverages or doing drugs that may impair them,” said Officer Lenard Cox, with the DUI squad.

The new fee also applies if you are the owner of the car, but are traveling as a passenger.

“It’s just as dangerous. We don’t want anybody’s lives at risk,” said Officer Cox.

At a popular St. Petersburg bar, there were supporters and detractors.

“What is $500 as opposed to a life?” said Kay Terrell.

Across the table, a dining friend is not pleased.

“I think that it’s horrible,” said Adrienne Thompkins.

“But if you look at the brighter side, I mean, you can go to jail forever, so hey, you might want to just don’t drink and drive,” added Thompkins.

Her tablemate is very careful.

“I’m drinking right now? But I know what my limit is before I get in that car and drive. I have too much to lose,” said Terrell.

Criminal Defense Attorney Roger Futerman doesn’t like the new fee one bit.

“It doesn’t seem right that you have to pay an additional penalty in addition to paying a bond, and potentially hiring a lawyer, and the whole case is thrown out,” he said.

Futerman doesn’t believe cops are using it to prevent drunk driving.

“I think it’s revenue-based, not policy-based and that’s the issue that I have. It’s a way to generate money, not something good for the public.”

Officers with the St. Petersburg Police Department are passing out cards at bars and other places, explaining the new law.

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