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The Real Cost of a SoCal DUI

By San Diego Attorney on August 29, 2017

The biggest deterrent to drinking and driving should be that you could hurt or kill yourself or others on the road. But still, many people find it far too easy to have one or two more drinks than they should and get behind the wheel. In the best-case accident scenarios, the ones where everyone walks away safely, the actual financial costs to you can be huge.

So what is the real cost of drinking and driving in California?

  • Car Insurance Premium Increases. Of course everyone knows that if you are caught drinking and driving, your insurance costs will increase. But few realize just how much they will actually skyrocket. First, the insurance company is going to increase your premiums because you will now be seen as a bigger risk on the roads. But the California courts will also require that you file an SR-22 for at least three years. This form is proof of insurance and the insurance company will send it to the courts for you. But they will also charge you, on top of your premiums, for doing so. Once the SR-22 no longer needs to be filed, insurance premiums will drop a bit. And once you can prove again that you are a responsible driver, they may lower even more. Until that time, you can expect to pay over $40,000 in insurance premiums.
  • Vehicle Tows and Impound. If you are arrested at the side of the road for drinking and driving, the police will need to have your vehicle towed and impounded (stored) so that it does not pose a danger to others or get damaged. The average cost of this is $685, but the longer your vehicle is in storage, the higher those costs will be.
  • DUI Courses. A DUI course will cost you a lot of time. For a first-time offense, you will need to complete thirty hours over the course of three months. You also have to pay for the course yourself. They can get costly, adding up to as much as $650. The cost and the time requirement increase for subsequent offenders.
  • The Fees and Fine. No one should go to court without an attorney. An attorney will give you your best chance at having the DUI charges dropped or, in serious cases, lowered. An attorney will have fees for representing you in court; and if you’re convicted, the court will also require you to pay a fine. In total, these costs can quickly climb upward of $4,000.
  • License Reinstatement. Anyone caught driving with a blood alcohol level over the legal limit will automatically have his or her driver’s license suspended. To get it back, you will have to pay a reinstatement fee, which will be at least $100.

Hurting yourself, or hurting someone else on the roads, is the worst possible consequence that could stem from driving while under the influence. But even if that does not happen, the cost of being pulled over and arrested is very high. It is estimated that a DUI in California comes with a financial burden of about $45,435, and that is just for the most minor cases and first-time offenders.

If you feel you have had too much to drink, call a cab or a friend to come pick you up. This is definitely the cheaper option. If you have been arrested for a DUI in Vista and need legal representation, contact JD Law at (760) 630-2000. Attorney James N. Dicks is a board-certified criminal defense specialist and will give you your best chance at beating your conviction.

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