Everyone knows that drinking and driving are not a good idea. The chances of hurting or killing yourself or others are exponentially higher when you get behind the wheel after drinking. Additionally, taking the risk of getting behind the wheel after drinking can have serious legal repercussions and very high costs. The average cost of a DUI in California is well over $10,000 after considering legal fees, fines, raised insurance costs, and more. Below, our San Jose DUI lawyer discusses DUI costs and factors to consider:
Factors That Affect California DUI Costs
First, it is important to understand that every DUI charge is different. If you have been charged with a DUI in California, then the costs associated with it will depend on the circumstances surrounding the charge. The following factors may affect the DUI costs:
- Number of prior DUI charges on the individual’s record
- Whether anyone was injured or killed
Bail or Bond Costs
The first cost to consider is bail or bond costs. There are rare cases when drivers are released from jail on their own recognizance after being arrested for a DUI. However, in most situations, bail for first-time DUI offenders can range anywhere from $100 to $2,000.
Towing and Impound Fees
Unless a passenger can get the driver’s car home after his or her arrest, total DUI cost calculations should include towing and impounding fees. These costs depend on location, but you can expect fees to range anywhere from the low hundreds to the low thousands.
On top of that, cars left in impound lots are at risk of being auctioned off. Because of this, a driver charged with DUI should be quick about retrieving his or her impounded vehicle.
Court Fines and Fees
The next costs to consider are fines and fees doled out by the court. These fees vary from state to state and also depend on how many DUIs the person has already received. In California, DUI offenders are typically fined between $390 and $1,000. However, then you must consider additional penalties and assessment fees.
On top of court-given fines, an individual must also consider the costs of hiring a DUI attorney. These costs are difficult to estimate, as they vary greatly depending on the following:
- The law firm hired
- Location within the state
- Length of the defense
The largest expense to someone charged with a DUI may be rising insurance costs. Insurance rates can rise immediately following an arrest for a DUI, regardless of conviction or not.
Insurance rates will remain higher for at least three years. In most cases, insurance companies look for five years of safe driving before lowering their rates.
The total cost for raised insurance is also difficult to predict. But, drivers charged with a DUI in California can expect to see an average annual policy increase of more than 150 percent. Some insurance providers may drop drivers altogether, forcing them to find more expensive insurance options.
Other Costs of a DUI in California
There are many other factors that could significantly increase the costs of a DUI in California too. DUIs can lead to the following:
- Loss of employment
- Lack of transportation
- Required alcohol classes
- Driving classes
- Probation costs
- Alcohol monitoring devices
This is all assuming that no one was injured or killed whilst the driver was drinking and driving. If injury or death occurred, the costs would be significantly higher, and the driver should expect to face serious jail time.
Ultimately, driving under the influence is clearly not worth the risk of bodily harm, harming other people, or the fees and costs afterward.
Facing DUI Charges in the Bay Area? Contact Our San Jose DUI Lawyer
If you are facing DUI charges, having the help of a qualified San Jose criminal defense attorney is crucial. At the Law Offices of Thomas Nicholas Cvietkovich, we are available to answer any DUI legal questions you may have. We can help you to understand your best next steps and determine how we may be able to help you. Call us at (408) 898-9770 or contact us online and we will be in touch with you soon.