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DUI, How Much Will it Cost?


The figure you hear when arrested for DUI is that it will cost you around $10,000. It is worth taking a look at this and breaking down the actual cost of a DUI. The minimum fine for a DUI in California is $390. However, the court adds penalty assessments and mandatory court fees to this base fine so that the actual total is normally close to $1,900. The court has discretion to increase the fine up to $1,000 plus assessments and fees for a total of over $4,000, but this rarely happens. The court will also mandate completion of an alcohol education program. These programs are privately run for profit. The program may be three, six or nine months in length and the cost ranges from $450 to over $1,000.

There are hidden costs associated with a DUI, including an increase in insurance premiums. This may be the most significant cost over time, but varies from insurance company to insurance company and from insured to insured. A defendant may typically expect a rise in premiums of about $6,000 over the course of the next three years. A DUI can also find its way onto a credit report and effect the cost of borrowing money.

If you are convicted of a DUI in Los Angeles County, the DMV will also mandate the installation in your vehicle of an ignition interlock device. This normally costs about $80 per month and is required for five months.

The California DMV will charge a reinstatement fee of $145 following a DUI conviction.

Then comes the cost of hiring an attorney which varies considerably depending on the attorney's reputation and experience. Most good DUI lawyers in Los Angeles charge at least $3,000 to $5,000 for a first time DUI.

There is a huge industry surrounding DUI arrests in Los Angeles and Orange County. The Courts, lawyers, insurance companies, alcohol education classes, Ignition Interlock Device companies, the DMV all wanting money. Depending on where you are arrested, some arresting agencies even charge a booking fee for the privilege of being arrested. This can be over $300.

Being arrested for a DUI is an expensive experience. Ofcourse, money is one thing, but avoiding jail time and some of the more serious penalties for a DUI may be of greater priority, depending on the facts of the case.