How much does a DUI really cost?


How much is that DUI really going to cost you? – The court fees, the attorney fees, the mandatory classes, probation costs, license reinstatement cost, lost wages, gas and parking to appear in court, and more. In this article, we are going to see the whole picture to understand the real cost associated with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Then you’ll be able to answer these additional questions for yourself: Is it worth paying that ride-sharing surge charge? Is it better to drive home a little bit tipsy to avoid getting an expensive parking ticket?

Getting arrested and charged for DUI intimidates many people. If you need to know what the process is going to be like, check out our article called Making It Through Your DUI Unscathed & Defense Arguments.

Another big concern besides costs that people have after being charged with a DUI is jail time. If you are also worried about jail time, check out our article called Will I Go to Jail or Prison for a DUI. Now’s lets get into the real life numbers for a DUI case.

DUI Cost Breakdown Estimate

If you ever find yourself arrested for a DUI, it is important to have an idea of what clearing and going through legal system will cost you. Below are the average figures that you may need to cash out in the event of a DUI arrest.

While these are monetary cost estimates, there are also less tangible cost associated with a DUI, like building back trust with your employer after missing a lot of work, increased stress and loss of sleep, and repairing your reputation within your community.

Depending on the case complexity, if you are eventually convicted of a DUI, if this is a 1st or 4th offense, and the quality of your legal representation, the costs for a DUI can range dramatically. For example, [injured + vehicle accident + bad attorney] = higher costs than [no accident + 1st DUI offense + great attorney] = lower costs.

Prepare to be floored by the number of fees the state is about to hit you with for drinking and driving.

Fees Min-Max

  • Attorney’s Fees: $1900 – $8000
  • Court-Ordered Fines: $390 – $5000
  • CA State Restitution Fund: $100
  • Car Insurance Premium Increase [1yr estimate]: $2200 – $6000
  • Blood Breathe Testing Fee: $35
  • Traffic School + Substance Abuse Educational Courses: $375 – $1200
  • Jail Cite + Release Fee: $20
  • DMV + License Reinstatement Fees: $260
  • Ignition Interlocks Device [1yr estimate]: $600 – $1800
  • Bail: $100 – $2500
  • Probation [1yr estimate]: $720 – $1200
  • Vehicle Towing + Storage: $170- $600
  • Gas + Parking (Court Hearings): $50 – $400
  • Lost Wages: $360 – $20000
  • Deductible or Out of Pocket for Vehicle Damage (if involved in an accident): $1500 – $10000
  • Alternative Transportation: $0 – $5200
  • Victim Restitution (If Injuries or Deaths): $0 – $5000

Low Total:$8780
High Total:$67315

Let’s elaborate on some of these fees.

Probation may or may not happen in your case. This depends on the severity of your case and your attorney’s ability to negotiate a deal. Probation will include you needing to report to a probation office and fulfill certain requirements – and yes, you will need to pay for the privilege – monthly.

Lost Wages refers to missing work because in some instances you will be required to appear in court. Lost wages can also mean the work you must miss because you are serving jail time.

License Reinstatement occurs after a license is suspended and you successfully completed a DUI educational program and other requirements. You must qualify for a full license reinstatement and wait the allotted amount of time to apply.

Alternative Transportation applies if your license is suspended. You will no longer be able to operate a motor vehicle so you will need to seek alternative like walking, biking, public transit, ride-sharing apps, or asking a friend to drive you. The estimate we make here is calculated by assuming a $20 allowance per work day for a year.

Car Insurance Premium Increase is only calculated for the 1st year, but many calculations suggest the you will be paying for insurance hikes for almost 13 years after a DUI conviction, which can amount to more than $40,000 in all.

Attorney Fees are a tricky fee to calculate because every case is different and the skill level of every attorney is also different. The more work an attorney has to do, the more his or her fees will be. Also, if an attorney is inexperienced, it will likely take him or her longer to complete the tasks required to help your case and you will have to pay those additional hourly costs.

If you want to be sure that you are in experienced and trustworthy hands, please contact Don Hammond or a reputable DUI attorney who can help you lower or eliminate your sentence in court. You can request to meet with the attorney before committing to using their services. Ultimately, choosing the right attorney will not only save you time and energy, but also a lot of money in the long run.

On the low-end, a DUI can cost you almost $9000. A taxi every weekend for a year only costs $2500, and a parking ticket (that you get from leaving your car overnight because you decide that you’re took drunk to drive) every month only costs $828 – seems like a no-brainer to us!

The DUI Attorney Don Hammond


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