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  • Writer's pictureBlair Goss

How Much Is a DUI in California? Find a Professional DUI Lawyer Today

Paying a DUI fine in California may be quite costly. In fact, it is one of the most expensive crimes somebody can commit.


Most people who get a DUI in California might not be aware that there are additional costs on top of the minimum punishment, which might add up to hundreds of dollars. Goss Law Firm has top Sacramento DUI attorneys.


Even when these cases seem straightforward or have no fatalities or serious injuries, they are still difficult to deal with.


Before paying the fine and attempting to keep living as if nothing has happened, it is advised to speak with an experienced DUI attorney to thoroughly understand the issue. The costs associated with DUI claims are fully discussed in the following article.


What Is a DUI?

What Is a DUI?


All states consider driving under the influence (DUI) and/or while intoxicated/impaired (DWI) criminal crimes.

These violations include operating a vehicle while intoxicated or under the influence of narcotics, alcohol, or other prohibited substances.


Both phrases are frequently used interchangeably in places where the legal system doesn't have a distinction between them.


However, in places that prosecute both offenses, DUI charges often talk about intoxication caused by alcohol. In contrast, DWI charges typically refer to intoxication caused by other illicit or legal substances.


How Much Does a DUI Cost?


The officer will conduct a sobriety test after stopping someone for a DUI. Additionally, they'll request the person to take a breathalyzer test to measure their blood alcohol level (BAC).


They will be charged with a DUI and have their vehicle hauled away if their BAC exceeds .08%, which is the highest score someone can get in most states.


The defendant will be issued a provisional driver's license. They will also be fingerprinted and lodged in a county prison before being given a hearing date in court.


Most people don't think about these additional costs because they don't know they must take care of the costs associated with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the court system separately. They might have to pay for some of the following requirements.

  • Criminal penalties that the judge has imposed

  • Administrative fees for booking and fingerprinting

  • The plaintiff's financial compensation

  • The costs of installing an ignition interlock device (IID)

  • DMV reinstatement costs for driver's license suspension

  • The price of towing the vehicle

  • The cost of releasing the vehicle out of custody

  • The price of enrolling in DUI prevention courses

  • Legal fees of DUI attorneys

  • The costs of going to DUI school


Breakdown of DUI Arrest Costs


People can better comprehend the specific details behind the different court and DMV fees with the help of a DUI attorney.


The costs and consequences of a DUI are often ignored and may take the defendant by surprise. Here is a brief description of all the costs that need to be paid after being convicted:

  • The minimum fine for a DUI charge is $390, while the maximum fine is $1,000.

  • Moreover, the price of processing the DUI case must be paid out by the person responsible for the DUI.

  • Police charge prisoners for the fees associated with booking and fingerprinting. This charge covers taking the person's fingerprints and the mug shot photo.

  • Impound fees vary depending on the state, how far the defendant has to haul their car, and the time they have to keep it in custody.

  • Regardless of whether the DUI caused any harm, the defendant must pay the state's Restitution Fund. That is the money the state uses to compensate other victims.

  • The defendant will learn about the risks of driving under the influence as well as how to be safe when consuming substances in a mandatory three-month DUI school program. If they are found guilty, they must pay between $500 and $800.

  • Most DUI penalty defendants get their driver's licenses suspended. They must visit the DMV to restore their driver's license. This process costs between $100 and $125.

  • Getting a DUI in California almost always increase auto insurance rates. Although each person's precise rise is different, the average increase is an extra $84 each month.

  • Bail is typically not necessary for first-time DUI offenders. However, those offenders who commit a felony DUI must obtain a bail bond. The bail prices can go from $2,500 to $25,000, depending on the severity of the case.

  • Attorney fees will vary depending on the type of DUI charge, but the best thing to do is hire a skilled DUI attorney to prevent their clients from facing too many court penalties or having to go to DUI school.


Additional DUI Conviction Costs


Defendants can still have to pay more fees associated with their DUI charge. They will lose their paychecks if they cannot drive to their jobs because of a suspended license or jail time. Moreover, they can be fired if they don't go to work for a prolonged time.


Additionally, they will have to pay for other transportation because their automobile will be detained until an IID is installed.


When people are used to depending on their own automobiles, it can be challenging to use public transportation or taxis.


The cost of filing a lawsuit to defend oneself against the state is a significant expense that defendants should consider.


Every day, prosecutors deal with DUI cases, so they know the best strategies to convict motorists. Most people usually don't know how to start fighting a DUI and the expenses associated with it.


There are methods to save some costs, but defendants need the assistance of an experienced DUI lawyer to fully grasp the complicated legal issues they are dealing with.


Ignition Interlock Device


Getting a DUI arrest costs a lot of money. The DMV and court fees alone can quickly deplete someone's finances.


Nevertheless, defendants may still have to pay for some extra expenses related to their DUI. California has established many measures, such as the ignition interlock device, to reduce accidents involving drunk drivers.


IIDs are devices used after someone has been found guilty of a DUI. A licensed firm must install them in the defendant's car to avoid getting their licenses suspended. The DMV and the police officer will be informed of the device if the defendant is ever stopped again.


Additionally, an IID installation can cost up to $100, while the monthly charge is between $70 and $100. Moreover, defendants must pay to get it calibrated every two months to avoid paying fines for breaking the law's requirements.


In summary, the defendant may have to pay several thousand dollars, especially if they have to keep the gadget in their vehicles for a long time.


Longer sentences are necessary for future DUI convictions, significantly raising their expenses. However, defendants can opt for financial aid for installing the IID if they struggle financially.


Can a DUI Affect College Costs?


A DUI conviction can significantly harm the defendant's educational fees, just like how jail and license suspensions can affect their ability to find a job.


It may make it impossible for them to keep or qualify for any scholarships they could depend on to pay for their education. The chances of this happening are high because, after a California DUI, the person can face civil or criminal charges.


If the DUI is considered a crime, the defendant will be sentenced to time in a local or state prison. In those cases, they cannot apply for almost any government aid or loan programs. Moreover, if they already get federal college funding, they will most likely lose it.


Increased Insurance Premiums


Increased insurance rates are one of the most expensive consequences of a DUI conviction. Fortunately, these expenses can be paid out over time, so defendants won't be faced with a hefty payment right after being found guilty. Moreover, they might not even notice a rate hike for several months.


Legally, insurance firms are not permitted to change the policy mid-term. They must instead wait till the time for renewal rolls around. The defendant will only see a premium hike if they apply for new insurance while their current policy is still running.


Possible Criminal Penalties

Possible Criminal Penalties


A defendant facing a California DUI accusation may incur additional charges and face several criminal consequences. Depending on whether the offense is prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony, the severity of these sanctions changes. Contact Goss Law Firm for more information on what happens if you get 3 DUIs in California.


Most of the time, if it is the first violation and no one was killed or seriously hurt, the case will likely be tried as a misdemeanor. Moreover, the typical punishment for a first violation is probation, which lasts between three and five years.


Hire a DUI Defense Lawyer Today


Hopefully, this article answered the question, "How much does a DUI cost?" However, DUI penalties aren't always the same, as the costs of a first-offense DUI will be much different from those that need to be paid if the defendant has prior DUI convictions.


Still, the best thing to do is hire a skilled DUI defense attorney who is knowledgeable in California law and knows what to do at a DMV hearing to reduce attorney fees, court fines, and other expenses.


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