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A Comprehensive Overview of DUI California Costs

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DUI California Costs

How much you will pay for a DUI arrest and subsequent conviction is dependent on several factors that may include prior DUI convictions and the extent of the injuries or property damage cost.

You can be arrested for a DUI in California if, at the time of your DUI arrest, you were found to be having a blood alcohol content (BAC) over the legal limit, which is usually 0.08 or greater. 

If you have been arrested for a California DUI, you may end up spending a lot of money on the courts and other entities and agencies involved. DUI offenses, regardless of whether you are charged with a felony DUI or misdemeanor DUI charges, can be very expensive.

Average Cost of a DUI

Most civil and criminal penalties can either be eliminated or reduced if DUI charges are reduced to a lesser offense or dismissed. You can typically fight California Department of Motor Vehicles license suspensions by hiring a team of reputable DUI attorneys.

Still, the costs that you may incur will typically depend on whether the DUI conviction is for a first DUI offense, second DUI or further violations, felony DUI charges, or if it includes aggravating factors such as probation violation, reckless driving, and whether it was a felony injury DUI.

If you are convicted of DUI in California, you will have to pay court fines in addition to other penalty fees and assessments. Also, note that you may be mandated to pay injured parties if your DUI conviction involved DUI causing injury or property damage.

Given the severe consequences of drunk driving offenses that may include a restricted license, raised insurance costs, and criminal conviction and fines, it is critical to work with a criminal defense lawyer if you have been arrested for DUI.

At the Law Offices of Christopher Chaney, we have a criminal defense lawyer with a lot of experience working on DUI cases in Southern California. Our law firm has a good DUI attorney who has gotten many DUI charges against our clients dropped or reduced.

Contact us today, and we may provide legal advice on your felony DUI or misdemeanor DUI case today. Our DUI defense attorney has a good understanding of California DUI laws, DUI cost, California DUI penalties that we may use to get better outcomes for you.

California DUI Court Fees

Following your DUI arrest and the hearing of your case, you may be slapped with civil penalties and criminal convictions. Aside from civil and criminal court penalties such as criminal fines, court costs, DUI classes, house arrest, and ignition interlock device (IID) installation, you may be slapped with hefty fines by the court.

Some of the civil and criminal fines that will be imposed will vary depending on the location of the arrest and the circumstances of the case. However, the general rule is that you will only have to pay court fees if you are convicted or plead guilty to DUI offenses.

This is one of the reasons why it is critical to contact a DUI attorney when you are unlawfully or lawfully arrested for DUI in Southern California. By working with a drunk driving lawyer, you significantly reduce the chance of harsh DUI consequences such as license suspension, restricted license, or other stiff penalties upon a DUI conviction.

How Much Are DUI Fines?

For the layman, many DUI costs are couched in legal language, making it hard to understand what you are supposed to pay if you are convicted of a DUI. To help people who ask how much does a DUI cost, we have broken down each of the fines in simple language.

  1. Minimum Fine – This refers to the lowest amount the court will impose upon conviction.
  2. Court Penalties – These refer to administrative assessments made by local government agencies. They may include the motor vehicle release fee and license release fees. They reflect the costs of handling the DUI case, which you have to pay if you are convicted. These assessments may significantly increase the fines that a drunk driving charge may attract. 
  3. Fingerprinting and Booking – Similar to the courts, law enforcement officers such as the police may charge convicts for costs such as photography fees for mug shots and the cost of recording fingerprints.
  4. Victim Restitution Fund – If you are convicted of a DUI, you will be expected to pay into the Southern California victim restitution fund that compensates crime victims, even if your DUI did not involve any injuries. 
  5. Bail Bond Cost – Many first-time misdemeanor DUI offenses will not require bail. However, if the courts determine that you need bail, you may have to apply for a bail bond loan.
  6. DMV driver’s license Fee – The California DMV will typically suspend your license while you are on DUI probation. Once your suspension expires, you will have to go to the DMV and pay an application fee to get it back.

DUI Costs California First Offense

A first offense DUI charge in Southern California is classified as a misdemeanor that typically attracts informal probation of between 3-5 years and fines, in addition to penalty assessments, installation of an ignition interlock device, driver’s license suspension of up to 6 months, and DUI school.

Several counties in California will impose a work release or a short jail sentence. However, if you are a first-time offender convicted of a DUI whose licenses are not restricted, you may be slapped with six-month suspensions unless:

  • You are not convicted in the court of a DUI offense
  • You request a California DMV hearing

Under California law, DUI consequences upon conviction may include:

  • Between 3 to 5 years of informal misdemeanor probation
  • Attendance at a victim panel
  • Attendance at a DUI school for between 3 and 9 months
  • Work release
  • Up to 6 months in prison
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device for up to 6 months
  • Driver’s license suspension for up to 6 months

First offense drunk driving offenses in California typically result in less harsh penalty assessments or fines. Still, it is just as important to work with DUI attorneys if you are charged with first or subsequent DUI offenses.

By working with an attorney, you can avoid the consequences of such an offense such as license suspension, jail terms, or DUI school. Contact us today and set up an initial free consultation if you have been charged with a DUI.

How Much Is a DUI in California?

In addition to the stress of a DUI charge, the offense can be costly. First-time offenses may have costs that may add up to quite a lot. This would be an instance in which there are no injuries and hence no medical bills. In instances where there are injuries involved, the costs can rise exponentially.

If you are a first-time offender, you may wonder where all the charges come from. Some of the typical costs of a DUI in California for a non-injury DUI conviction include:

  • Lawyer fees – These could vary depending on the duration of the case and who you hire
  • Car insurance – The insurance company will typically increase your insurance premiums when convicted of a DUI.
  • Driver’s license reinstatement fees
  • DUI programs that include court-ordered classes that you may have to pay out of pocket.
  • Impound fees that may be charged by either law enforcement or the DMV that include storage fees and towing fees.

How Much Is a DUI Ticket?

While you may believe that you have to pay a lot to law enforcement and the courts, the list above includes supplementary costs. A DUI charge usually includes other costs that may not necessarily apply to all people charged convicted of DUI.

Some of these costs include:

  • Bail bond costs
  • Transportation costs when your driver’s license is suspended
  • Lost wages from missed time at work since you have to attend court
  • Booking fees imposed by law enforcement such as the photography fee
  • Installation of an interlock device on your car
  • Paying to fix your vehicle
  • Medical expenses not covered by the insurance company
  • Medical expenses for the other party
  • Paying to repair the other party’s car

All told, a DUI could cost you a small fortune in addition to blotting your criminal record. This is particularly true if you were involved in an injury DUI. Fortunately, you can always speak with a DUI lawyer when you are arrested on a DUI charge.

The Law Offices of Christopher Chaney provides initial free consultation on everything from negligent vehicular manslaughter to injury DUI and misdemeanor DUI. Contact us today, and our Van Nuys DUI attorney may just be able to help you with your case.

Schedule Your Consultation

Regardless of your circumstance, you are not alone in your fight. We are ready to stand by your side and fight for your rights, freedom, and reputation. Contact us today to schedule a free remote or in-person consultation, and let us assist you in finding a solution to your problem.