A DUI (driving under the influence) charge in California can cost you hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Since a DUI is a common offense in California, the courts and the state alike earn a lot from pressing charges. If you are not paying fines, you may be serving your sentence in county jail while losing income or paying DUI school fees.
Many motorists facing DUI charges wonder how much a DUI could cost. They frequently ask, how costly is a California DUI? Your DUI costs could vary because of the circumstances surrounding your case. For instance, an aggravated DUI could cost way more when compared to a first-offense DUI.
To paint a picture of how expensive a DUI charge could get, studies conducted in California reveal that a first-offense DUI without a road crash case could cost you about $45,000. You could wonder how the figure is that high, and this article breaks down all variables in DUI costs.
Your DUI attorney could help you come up with strategies and defenses that could help cut costs in your case. At Orange County DUI Defense Attorney Law Firm, we assess the facts of your case and offer you accurate figures of how your DUI could cost. After handling many DUI cases over the years, we know the average DUI costs and ways you could avoid or lower them.
Short and Long-Term DUI Costs
Like every other decision you make in life, drunk driving has its repercussions and could, in the long-term, have an impact on your finances. When you violate Californian DUI laws, be ready to incur both short- and long-term costs. Current DUI laws in California include driving a vehicle with 0.08 BAC (blood alcohol concentration) or higher, per Vehicle Code 23152b VC. Another DUI law in California is driving under the influence (DUI), per Vehicle Code 23152a.
Besides serving a jail term for around six months to many years (depending on circumstances surrounding your case), your DUI conviction could attract court fines, lawyer fees, DUI school fees, compensation, and you could lose your job too.
Long-Term Costs of a DUI Offense
Long-term costs refer to those you incur after completing your sentencing or punishment that the court imposes. The following are examples of the adverse effects of a DUI offense.
Raised Insurance Premiums
Insurance firms in California consider you a “high-risk” if convicted for violating DUI laws. After your conviction, your insurer could increase your premiums for the following many years by two or even three the typical cost. Some companies could terminate your coverage and have a hard time trying to get another insurer.
Serving Many Years in Jail
In California, penalties for DUI crimes increase with the number of times you commit the offenses and circumstances surrounding the crime. That means if you are guilty of felony DUI or multiple DUIs, the court could send you to state prison or county jail for decades.
You leave your family, dependents, and loved ones with insufficient funds should you be the sole breadwinner. Also, you lose your job when convicted and could find it hard landing job positions after walking out of prison.
Challenges in Landing Jobs and Work Positions
It is unfortunate if you keep getting rejected for job positions owing to your DUI convictions. Particular employers prefer candidates with no prior DUI conviction, especially for commercial driving positions.
Imagine your life without a job because of a DUI conviction. The odds are that you cannot take care of yourself and your family well if you don’t have a source of income.
Limited Educational Opportunities
There are learning institutions in Orange County that require learners to have zero DUI convictions in their criminal records before joining the institutions.
Compromising Your Personal Affairs
No amount of money loss can match up the loss of personal relationships from friendships, family relationships, or even spouses. Often, convicted persons feel reckless, ashamed, and silly.
Short-Term Costs of a DUI Charge
Like long-term costs of DUI convictions, short-term costs take in both difficulties experienced and financial losses following court fines.
Examples of short-term costs you could incur following your DUI conviction include:
Income loss. You could miss going to work to attend court proceedings, and that could have a severe impact on your earnings. If you are self-employed or earn hourly wages, your income could lower or even have your contract terminated
Incurring Legal and Lawyer Fees. Depending on the facts of your case, you could lose a significant amount of money when paying your attorney for legal counsel and representation
Car impoundment and towing fees. In California be ready to fork out approximately $200 to pay for towing services if arrested for DUI violation
Driver’s license reinstatement charges. After the arresting officer takes and suspends your driving license, you need to pay some fees to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) before having your license reinstated
Taxi fees. After the DMV upholds the suspension of your driver’s license, you would want to move around your city to run errands or for work-related purposes. Since you cannot drive on a suspended license, you have to hire a taxi of which is way expensive for everyday needs compared to driving your vehicle
Buying and installing an IID (ignition interlock device). If the court orders that you install an IID in your car, you are going to incur a cost when purchasing and having the device installed, if you are not savvy with it
DUI school fees. Nine out of ten times, you are likely to enroll in a DUI school if found guilty of drunk driving in California. You have to pay for the program, which you attend for three to nine months
Fines and compensation. Fines for DUI conviction in California differ depending on the number of times the cops have caught you drunk driving and facts surrounding your case. Typically, fines are more than $5,000
DUI Penalty Costs in California
California courts impose different punishment to DUI convicts depending on the circumstances surrounding each case. There are cases where convicts receive more severe penalties compared to others. That means you get to spend a lot more if you face more severe charges. For example, charges and costs for aggravated DUI are higher than those of first- or second-DUI.
The “per se” DUI laws in California prohibits any driver from driving with a 0.08 BAC or above. If arrested driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you could face administrative consequences, which often needs you to spend money.
A first-offense DUI occurs when you have zero DUI convictions in the last ten years. Usually, second and subsequent DUI charges incur higher costs and could drain your finances.
The Department of Motor Vehicles is responsible for all administrative proceedings for DUI cases in California while the court takes over all criminal processes.
The Administrative Process
The arresting officer has the jurisdiction to stop you if they suspect signs of drunk driving. If your BAC is 0.08 percent or above, the officer confiscates your driver’s license and issues a temporary one that expires in 30 days. To challenge your license suspension, the DMV allows up to ten days for DMV hearing requests.
Even though it is not compulsory for you to take a blood test, you violate implied consent laws, and that means you are likely to lose more money due to extra criminal charges.
Exceeding the Legal Limit
The DMV revokes your driver’s license for up to four months after you get arrested with 0.08 BAC or above. However, you could get a restricted license after completing the first 30 days of suspension. With a restricted license, you can only drive to DUI school, work, and back home.
A restricted license comes at a cost. Before the DMV can issue you with the license, you must enroll in a drug rehabilitation program, file an SR-22 form, and foot the license reissue. You lose money to pay for DUI school, filling the SR-22 costs you money, and the license reissue fee is $125.
You are eligible for license reinstatement after completing your DUI school. In California, DUI school costs between $600 and $1200.
IID Installation and Maintenance
As a first-offender DUI convict, you are required to install an IID for six months or get a restricted driver’s license for 12 months. If you choose to go the IID way, you need to pay for both its installation and maintenance. The average cost of an IID installation in Orange County is between $70 and $150, and the monthly cost of maintenance is between $60 and $80.
Under California law, first-offense DUI is a misdemeanor. If convicted, you could pay anywhere from $400 to $1,000 in fines. Also, penalty evaluations could cost you thousands of dollars.
Other DUI Costs
Credible sources state that the average DUI costs for a first-offense in California are $6,500. The high price includes drivers who have had their cases dismissed too. If you add lost wages, the cost could rise to a whopping $10,000.
Breakdown of the Costs
Costs connected to a first-offense DUI include:
DUI lawyer fees. On average, DUI suspects could part with not less than $2,000 to pay their defense attorneys, whether a private or public defender
Cash bail. You would rather walk out of jail on bail to be with your family and save your employment rather than remain in demand until the court decides whether you are guilty. To bail out of jail, you could pay over $150
Vehicle towing and storage. If caught drunk driving and you have no one to drive the car to your home, the police could have it towed. Vehicle towing and storage costs money; therefore, you lose money when this happens. You also pay for storage for every day your care remains in the storage facility
Increased car insurance premiums. After getting a DUI, most insurers tend to raise your coverage since you are considered “high-risk” on the roads
Like first-offense DUI, a second-offense DUI costs you money, reputation, and time too. Typically, a second-offense in California could cost you from $1500 to $2500 in court fines. Besides fines, there are a lot more costs that you incur if charged with a second-offense DUI.
Attending DUI School
You must enroll for a DUI school if convicted for a Second-offense DUI in California. The official period per statutes is 18 months. The average fees for DUI school are $2,000.
In addition to enrolling in a DUI school, the court suspends your driver’s license for two years, and you get a three- to five-year probation. If your driver’s license gets suspended, you have to use a taxi to get to your workplace, take kids to school, and get back home. Taxi fees are not cheap; hence, you get to spend more money compared to when you had your car.
IID Installation and Maintenance
If convicted for California DUI offense, you lose driving privileges in the state and your home state in case you are from another state other than California. You can opt to apply for a restricted license, which you can use to drive to work or take your kids to school.
The process of obtaining a restricted license is expensive and time-consuming. You are needed to first install an IID in your car for 12 months as a second offender before applying for a restricted license. The average cost of an IID installation is $120. IIDs also require monthly maintenance, which sees you part with approximately $80 monthly for 12 months.
You are allowed to request a DMV-hearing ten days from the time of your arrest. Applying for the hearing could need the help of a competent lawyer. That means you have to set aside miscellaneous cash to cater for the application processes and pay your lawyer for legal services. You could lose your driving privileges if you fail the DMV hearing. If you cannot secure a restricted license, that means you will spend your money on taxis before the restriction period elapses.
The average cost of a third-offense DUI is between $4,000 and $10,000. When compared to court fines, you lose more money if you get sentenced to prison. Per California law, you could serve jail time for up to seven years for violation of DUI laws as a third offender. Imagine losing your income for all those years plus being away from your family.
SR-22 insurance coverage for a third-offense is costly, and you could pay for it for up to ten years. SR-22 covers could cost you thousands of dollars, not counting fines, attorney fees, and DUI school fees.
Usually, you must complete a drug rehabilitation program before getting back your driving privileges in California. The program could cost you over $2,500 until completion.
Since a third-offense DUI gets treated more severely than a second-offense DUI, you are ordered to install an IID for a longer time. The initial installation in your car could cost you $150 and monthly maintenance that costs about $100.
You can see how expensive a DUI can get, but with the help of a competent attorney, you could have the costs lowered significantly.
The Cost of a California DUI Lawyer
A reputable lawyer is a go-to person the instant you get arrested for drunk driving in Orange County. Your lawyer understands better the ropes of California’s justice system and can offer expert legal counsel, especially on how to avoid a costly DUI.
Hiring a seasoned DUI attorney instead of being your own lawyer is a wise move, as you don’t want chances with your case and savings.
Pre-trial and Post-trial Services
Driving with a 0.08 BAC and above sees you land in jail and later arraigned in the court. DUI lawyers request for service fees to offer you pre-trial and post-trial legal assistance. On average, attorney services could cost you anywhere between $1,500 and $3,000. However, if you have a misdemeanor offense, the attorney fee could be lower than a felony DUI charge.
While some law firms offer free consultations, some need you to pay for the case evaluation. After discussion and combing through the facts of your case, the lawyer could ask for a flat fee to represent you up to trial. You could pay another flat fee before your lawyer can defend you in court, but you only pay this fee if your case enters trial.
There are lawyers who opt for hourly rates. On average, hiring a DUI attorney costs $300 per hour in California. Others could charge as low as $200 and as high as $500 hourly. It’s recommendable that you find what alternative is cheaper for you.
Don’t get surprised when you spend more cash than expected to try to secure your freedom after a DUI arrest. Besides paying lawyer fees, there are extra fees connected to your DUI offense. These include posting bail, taxi fees, other expenses you incur when moving up and down to submit papers per the DMV or court instructions.
The Cost of Public DUI Defenders
When compared to private defenders, public ones (those that the court provides) cost less. If you choose a public DUI attorney for your case representation, you could spend around $2,000. However, the price could vary depending on the facts of your case. In California, you need a $50 registration fee before you can get a public defender.
Effects of DUI to Your Car Insurance Premiums & Coverage
After a DUI conviction in California, many motorists face challenges getting affordable insurance packages. According to California law, an insurer is not allowed to cancel your premiums midterm. The insurer has to wait until the expiry of your package, according To The Law.
How Your Insurance Company Use Learn About Your DUI Charges
You don’t have to report a DUI charge against you to your insurer. Instead, they bear the burden to find out if there are charges of traffic violations against you. How does the insurer get this information?
When renewing your insurance policy, the insurer checks if you have any DUI charges
When applying for a new policy, your insurer checks your prior criminal record
Before you can have your revoked license reinstated, the insurance firm should forward an SR-22 certificate
Another party could report a road accident that you got involved in, especially if you drove under the influence
The Cost Of Obtaining “SR22 Car Insurance” In California
If you have no insurance during a DUI arrest, the DMV requires you to file for SR-22. The purpose of an SR-22 is to prove that you have insurance coverage. Without this, you risk not only having the registration of your vehicle, but you’re your driving license suspended.
You need to pay $25 to an insurer when filing an SR-22. The insurer performs a background check of your DUI history, age, and other personal factors before telling you the price of premiums. In California, most insurers charge around $2,500 for insurance after filling and SR-22. Since your DUI attorney has in-depth experience, they could lessen the blow by recommending firms than charge less.
Insurance Cost After a DUI
The results of drunk driving are documented all over the place from newspapers to television news. If you are lucky no to cause an accident, you could get a DUI conviction. Insurance companies are wary of DUI convicts, and in their eyes, such motorists need expensive insurance premiums since they are at a higher risk of causing traffic accidents.
In California, most insurers raise insurance costs by 30% to 200%. Imagine not finding an insurer willing to cover you because of your DUI violation, and the coverages available costs you an arm and a leg. That means if you pay $100 for car insurance a month, after a DUI conviction, you could pay for $150 or even double the standard rates. Even harsher, some companies may request you to pay insurance for five years upfront.
Contact an Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm Near Me
The information detailed in this article shows that the costs of DUI are expensive. If arrested for drunk driving in California, you could spend approximately $300 in bail or bonds, $1,000 in vehicle towing and storage services, and thousands of dollars in court fines. Court fines are usually determined by a case-to-case basis. You are also required to enroll and complete DUI school. The program needs money to join and undergo the program. You realize there are a lot of hidden fees that could continue breaking your bank account, for example, installation and maintenance of an IID, attorney consultation, and SR-22 fees.
If you or your loved one is facing a DUI charge in Orange County, you should not waste time, as you can see how costly your case could get. Reach out to us, and we could help you to have the case dismissed, if not, lessening the expenses. Call our number at 714-740-7866, and let us discuss your case. .