California DUI how much does it cost?

Recently on our legal forum a user asked, “I have been charged with my first California DUI. I have heard all the advertisements about how expensive a DUI can be. I am getting a bit nervous. Can you provide information about how much this California DUI will cost me? Will I have to hire a DUI lawyer, and if so, how much will that cost?”

Police Chase

California DUI will cost you thousands of dollars

Over the last thirty years lobbying groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) have had a signification impact on lawmakers. What might have been considered a minor crime with offenders receiving a slap on the wrist thirty years ago is not handled with a nod and a wink anymore.

If you are arrested, charged, and convicted for a California DUI you should expect to pay thousands of dollars in fines, penalties, and attorney’s fees. Let’s take a closer look at the money you will pay.

  • Attorney’s fees between $1,000 and $10,000
  • Statutory minimum fine of $390 up to a maximum of $1,000
  • Penalties and assessments which could be as high as $1,700
  • Three month DUI program- $575
  • Potential installation of an ignition interlock device for 5 months- $325
  • Vehicle towed and stored after California DUI arrest- $350
  • License reinstatement paid to the California DMV- $125
  • Additional insurance costs to get SR-22 insurance- could be as high as $10,150

Do I need to hire a DUI lawyer?

Hiring a DUI lawyer after a California DUI will be one costliest expenses related to a DUI. Unfortunately, however, most legal experts suggest that you will need a lawyer to help fight the DUI charges. If you plan to plead guilty you will also need to hire a lawyer to get the best plea agreement possible.

If you decide not to hire a lawyer and simply plead guilty to the California DUI, you can save $1,000 to $10,000 (or more), but you will be convicted of DUI, will generally not be able to have the charges expunged from your driving record, and will have to suffer the other consequences of a DUI conviction.

Why is the California DUI so expensive?

A California DUI has risen in costs for a variety of reasons. State legislatures have increased fines and penalties as an incentive for drivers not to drink and drive. Other price increases are due to market issues, greed, or in the case of insurance costs simply the increased risk for an insurance company to agree to insure someone who has a history of abusing drugs and alcohol.

What can I do to avoid the cost of a California DUI?

Not drinking and driving is the best way to avoid the expense of a DUI. Since you have already been arrested and charged for DUI, however, the best way for you to avoid some of the fines and penalties will be to win your DUI case. Even this option, however, will have you paying at least $1,000 to $10,000 for a DUI lawyer.

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Beth

Beth L. is a content developer for LeadRival, a cutting edge company that helps connect DUI lawyers with DUI clients. Beth L. writes about a variety of DUI topics to help drivers who have been arrested for DUI, getting them the legal help they need.