How Much Does A DUI Cost In California?
As DUI enhancement lawyers in Los Angeles, we know that a drunk driving arrest can be one of the costliest ordeals because it comes with a great deal of expenses, fines, and charges. Criminal fines, administrative costs, court penalties, various alcohol treatment programs, and impoundment are just some of the expenses that can be required of a driver who is convicted of a DUI.
The Average Cost Of A Drunk Driving Offense In Los Angeles, CA
Those charged with a DUI should understand what the costs may be so they can be prepared for the possibility of a conviction. Here is an overview of the different costs associated with DUI:
California DUI Fines
Fines for a DUI in California can be anywhere between $390 and $1000. They can add up to $5000 for a third or subsequent DUI within 10 years. However, California has a tax known as a “penalty assessment” which makes the total about five times that amount of the original fee. If the driver gets the maximum fine, they will have to pay over $5,000.
Alcohol Treatment Programs
In addition to the DUI fines, the driver may be required to take a treatment program. The payment for these programs is the driver’s responsibility and they can cost up to $650 or more depending on how many hours are required. Generally, the number of hours can vary between 12 and 45. A second offense carries 18 months of required classes. Please note that there is a possibility you could lose wages due to attending the classes.
Driver’s License Suspension
Drivers with a DUI charge are often subjected to a driver’s license suspension and while they are unable to drive, they will have to pay for find another way to get around. When the suspension is up, the driver will have to pay an administrative service fee and a reissuing fee that costs a total of about $170.
Drivers who are convicted of a DUI can potentially have their license suspended for as long as an entire year or more which can be incredibly costly considering they will have to find other means of transportation.
If the license is suspended, the driver’s vehicle may also be towed and impounded and the defendant is responsible for paying the fees that are associated with this. This can cost up to $685.
In the case of a first-time offender, bail is generally not posted but if it is a second-time offense, a DUI with injury, or a DUI with child endangerment, the bail can be set for up to $30,000.
Ignition Interlock Device (IID)
In some counties in California, defendants are required to get an ignition interlock installed in order to regain driving privileges. This device is wired to the vehicle’s ignition system and the driver will have to blow into the device before they can start the car. The IID costs anywhere between $70 to $150 to install and the driver will also have to pay around $60 to $80 per month for device monitoring and calibration.
An unforeseen cost that is associated with a DUI charge is the fact that car insurance payments will increase. These rates will rise and stay high, costing tens of thousands of dollars over the next decade.
Under California law, you are required to get SR22 insurance for a DUI. With the SR22 insurance, the insurance companies will only be able to increase the driver’s fees for a three-year period from either the conviction or the start of the SR22. However, when you factor in the initial insurance rate increase following a DUI, the driver can suffer a total increase over three years of over $7,500.
Finding an attorney is your best chance at having the DUI charges lowered or even dropped. However, if you are convicted, you will be required to pay a fine and there will be fees for your representation. These fees can be as much as $4,000 or more. Also, keep in mind that the court keeps track of “penalty assessments” which can add up another $1,500 or so to the overall cost.
A common way most people attempt to save money is by hiring a low-fee attorney or simply by not hiring an attorney at all. However, an experienced attorney can actually save the driver money by reducing various fees that an inexperienced attorney may fail to note. Hiring a qualified L.A. County DUI defense attorney can be the difference between a conviction and a reduction or even dismissal.
What Is The Overall Cost Of A DUI In Southern California?
According to the LA Times, first-offense misdemeanor DUI conviction can total $15,649 in California and first-time offenders under the age of 21 can end up paying $22,492. However, the overall costs vary, depending on the driver’s previous driving record, the circumstances of the accident, and if there were any injuries or additional damage to cars or property.
In addition to these costs, the driver could experience a temporary loss of income due to jail time, court dates, required community service, and inaccessibility to transportation. It is also important to note that a DUI charge will be on your criminal record and will be visible to any potential employer that performs a background check on you which may cause you to lose work or be ineligible for any jobs that require driving.
A DUI can stay on a driver’s record for as long as ten years and if they charged with another DUI within those ten years, the overall cost will be even more.
What Is The Worst Consequence Of A DUI In California?
The worst possible consequence for driving while under the influence is causing harm to yourself or others. However, even if no one is harmed, a DUI can result in serious criminal and administrative consequences and costly fines that can add up to thousands of dollars.
Contact The Award-Winning Los Angeles DUI Attorneys Of Braden & Tucci Today
If you have been charged with a DUI, having the help of a qualified attorney can be crucial. The skilled attorneys of Braden & Tucci have successfully helped clients with their DUI cases in the past and are ready to fight for you.
We are located in Los Angeles, CA and proudly serve clients throughout Southern California and surrounding communities. To learn more, contact us at (213) 935-7550.