It's no secret that DUIs will cost you. There are many fees, penalties and requirements to your sentencing that will add up quickly. Because there are so many different costs, you may not be familiar with all of them. There are immediate costs as well as long-term costs. Some DUI offenders will have certain costs that others may not. Various organizations and websites have worked out general "total costs" for a DUI if you are a first time offender. They may be estimates but it is helpful to know the big picture number you are looking at if convicted of a DUI. Your costs will start with your arrest. Having your car towed and stored when you are arrested will cost hundreds, depending on where you live, how far your car needs to be towed and how long it is there. Your car insurance will not cover these costs associated with a DUI. Then, you will face the immediate costs of missing time from work or other commitments when you are in jail. While you may get paid time off, it is still paid time that you are sacrificing for your DUI. Then, if convicted, you will face a variety of fees and penalties, according to your sentencing. If you hire an attorney, you will most likely have to come up with some money up front but they could save you from being convicted with a DUI so it is up to you whether you can afford to take that chance. Your attorney will vary in cost; some will do flat rate DUI defense and some bill hourly. Talk to a few attorneys before deciding on one and remember that the cheapest attorney isn't necessarily your best chance for success in court. For a DUI offender, having an experienced DUI defense attorney by your side in court can mean the difference between being convicted of a DUI or walking away with a lesser charge. If an attorney can save you from all the following costs, it is worth the investment. Fines and penalties from the court for a first time DUI offender can range roughly between $1,500 and $3,000. If you hurt someone as a result of your drunk driving or damaged any property, these numbers can increase. Now come the aftermath costs of a DUI. You may be ordered to install an ignition interlock device, or IID, in your car. The cost of these will vary slightly but can amount to just under $1,000, after installation, rental fee for the device and periodic calibrations and inspections, depending on how long you will have it in your car. You will have to have one installed in every car you own in addition to any other cars you habitually use. You may be eligible for reduced cost plans, based on income. You may also be able to get a car exempt from this requirement if you have several cars and the cost to cover them all would be too much.You will also have your driver's license suspended. After 30 days of suspension, first time DUI offenders may be eligible to apply for a restricted license to drive to and from work and to and from DUI classes. The cost to have your license reissued in this way will be $125. Then, to have your license fully reinstated, you have to pay another $125 reissuance fee to the DMV. You will have to attend DUI school for three to 30 months, depending on the circumstances of the case and any prior offenses you have. These programs can vary in cost. You will not be prevented from attending the classes based on affordability alone. If you cannot afford them, some will offer a sliding scale or reduced fee plan based on income. At a minimum, three months of classes will be at least $500 with longer programs costing significantly more (up to several thousands). Perhaps the least discussed cost associated with a DUI, albeit the longest term one, is the increased cost of auto insurance if you own a car. For a first time DUI offender, the cost of this will far exceed any other costs. The only benefit is it is this cost is spread out over ten years of increased insurance rates, so it is perhaps the most manageable cost. For three years after your conviction, you will have to submit proof of financial responsibility to the California DMV, also called anSR-22 filing. You may be able to obtain this through your insurance company but some companies will drop drivers who require this. This will increase your rates and may force you to switch to a different company. Your DUI will stay on your driving record for several years after this and while your insurance will lower a bit after you drop your SR-22 filing, it will still be higher than it was prior to your DUI conviction. Not owning or driving a car will save you a lot of costs but for most DUI offenders, this is not feasible.
If you are facing DUI charges, contact experienced DUI defense attorney Christopher Martens for expert counsel. The skilled legal team at The Law Offices of Christopher Martens can help ensure you take the right steps in your case to save you time and possibly money. Contact our offices in Hanford and Visalia at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] to discuss your case.