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The Financial Impact of a DUI Conviction

In addition to facing jail time and losing your driver's license, you may face lasting financial consequences if you are convicted of DUI (driving under the influence). You may face fines, court fees, increased insurance costs and license reinstatement fees. You may also have to pay for a mandatory drunk driving education program and an ignition interlock device, which is installed in your vehicle and will prevent the engine from starting unless you provide a clean breath sample. Depending on where you live, a first DUI conviction may cost you anywhere from $9,000 to as much as $24,000.

Let's take a look at some of the primary expenses associated with a DUI arrest, case and conviction. (It is important to note that these numbers may vary dramatically depending on the state and jurisdiction, whether this is a driver's first offense and certain aggravating factors, such as having a child in the vehicle at the time or having a high breath or blood test result of .15% or greater.)

Fines and Court Fees
If you are convicted, you may face fines of $390 to $1,000 – for a first offense. Second, third and subsequent convictions may carry higher fines. If you are charged with felony DUI in relation to an accident that left another person seriously injured, you could face fines of up to $5,000.

DMV Hearing Fees
If you are arrested for DUI, you will have only 10 days to request a DMV hearing to challenge the suspension of your driver's license. In California, the DMV may collect a fee of $120 if you wish to challenge the outcome of this hearing through a Departmental Review.

Towing or Vehicle Impoundment
You may have to get your vehicle towed or pay to have it removed from impoundment, if it was impounded upon your arrest. This may cost several hundred dollars or more, depending on the length of impoundment and the distance your vehicle must be towed.

DUI Classes / Treatment
If convicted of DUI in California, you may have to pay for court-ordered counseling or treatment. Drunk driving education classes can cost up to $2,500 and rehabilitation or drug/alcohol treatment may cost around $500.

Ignition Interlock Device
Generally only applicable in cases involving repeat offenders, you may be required to pay for the installation and maintenance of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. This may range from about $25-$200 to install and approximately $25-$100/month to maintain.

Community Service
In some cases, you may be able to pay increased fines in lieu of community service. This cost will vary, but may be about $10/hour.

Increased Auto Insurance Premiums
One of the biggest ongoing expenses associated with a DUI conviction will be increased auto insurance premiums. Drivers may face increased insurance costs of about $5,000 to $10,000 in the first 5 years following a DUI conviction. According to a NerdWallet study and analysis of post-DUI insurance premium increases in 150 U.S. cities, drivers in Los Angeles, CA typically see increases of about $1,700 per year. Drivers in the Orange County cities of Anaheim, Santa Ana and Irvine saw increases of about $1,350, $1,340 and $1,220 per year, respectively.

Looking at these figures, it is easy to see why it is important to consider hiring an attorney to challenge your charges. You see, the cost of an attorney may be far less than the lasting financial impact a DUI conviction may have, not to mention the other consequences of a conviction, like imprisonment. Protect your future and financial stability with an Orange County DUI lawyer from the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry by your side.