Breaking Down the Cost of a DUI in California

San Jose criminal defense attorney Thomas Nicholas CvietkovichEveryone knows that drinking and driving is not a good idea. Most importantly, your chances of hurting or killing yourself or others are exponentially higher when you get behind the wheel after drinking. Aside from the chances of bodily injury or harming innocent people, taking the risk of getting behind the wheel after drinking can have serious legal repercussions and very high costs. In California, the average cost of a DUI is well over $10,000 after considering legal fees, fines, raised insurance costs, and more.

The first cost to consider is bail or bond costs. While there are rare cases where drivers are released from jail on their own recognizance after being arrested for a DUI, in most situations, bail for first time DUI offenders can range anywhere from $100 plus to $2,000. Also, unless a passenger is able to get the driver’s car home after their arrest, towing and impounding fees need to be included in total DUI cost calculations. While the costs of towing and impounding depend on location, one can expect fees ranging 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, so drivers charged with DUI should be quick about retrieving their impounded vehicles.

Next to consider are fines and fees doled out by the court. These fees vary from state to state and also depending on how many DUIs the person has already received. In California, first time DUI offenders could see fines of nearly $2,000. On top of court given fines, one must also consider the costs of hiring an attorney. These costs are difficult to estimate, as they vary greatly depending on which law firm was hired, location within the state, and the length of the defense. Pleading guilty immediately with the assistance of a lawyer could cost as little as $300, but extensive cases could see costs upwards of $25,000.

What could potentially be the largest expense to someone charged with a DUI is rising insurance costs. Insurance rates can rise immediately following an arrest for a DUI, regardless of being convicted or not. Insurance rates will remain higher for at least three years, but in most cases, insurance companies look for 5 years of safe driving before lowering rates. The total cost for raised insurance is also difficult to predict, but drivers charged with a DUI can expect to pay anywhere from $5,000 to upwards to $40,000 over the span of a few years. Some drivers may also be dropped from their insurance provider all together and forced to find more expensive insurance options.

While these are the primary factors to consider when exploring DUI costs, there are many factors that could significantly increase costs further. DUI’s can lead to loss of employment, lack of transportation, required alcohol classes, driving classes, probation costs, alcohol monitoring devices, and many other fees that add up quickly. This is all assuming that no other people were injured or killed whilst the driver was drinking and driving. If someone was injured or killed, 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 afterwards. If you are facing DUI charges, having the help of a qualified San Jose criminal defense attorney can be crucial. The experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Thomas Nicholas Cvietkovich are available to assist you.

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