How Much Does a DUI Cost in California?

The judicial system in the State of California doesn’t mess around when it comes to individuals driving under the influence of alcohol and/or controlled substances. Although extenuating or special circumstances may apply in some cases, virtually no one walks away for free.

Not only will you have to spend a considerable amount of time and trouble to make things right, your bank account will likely take a huge hit as well; in other words, a DUI cost in California can become quite expensive and time consuming.

  • Court Mandated and other Expenses

For first-time offenders, the average DUI cost will include fines totaling up to $5,000 and the possibility of spending up to six months in jail. In addition, the court may also require offenders to complete an 18 or 30 month program, such as mandatory community service or Cal-Trans duties.

The California DMV may also suspend your license for a total of two years, which does depend upon the severity of the infraction and your previous driving record.

You may also be required to attend a three-month (30 hour) class regarding drug/alcohol education and counseling; the average cost: $500. Adding a little more salt to the wound, the DMV will charge you $180 to have your license reinstated.

  • Additional Legal Costs

With a DUI on your record, auto insurance premiums may increase immediately and eventually go up over the next three years. If you decide to contest the charge(s), attorney fees will become part of the equation thru billable hours or retainer costs.

It’s also important to note that other fees may apply if an accident takes place as a result of driving under the influence. These additional costs shall include paying for damages incurred, and your vehicle will more-than-likely be impounded, which may cost hundreds more in towing fees. Depending upon which law enforcement agencies get involved (LAPD, CHP, or the County Sheriff’s Office), you may also be billed for their services.




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