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What a DUI Conviction Will Cost You

If you think the consequences of a DUI in terms of sentencing, probation, or fines, then you need to flip the coin to the financial consequences. Drinking and driving in California can leave a huge dent in your bank account. DUI laws of California are strict, meaning that the penalties, including the financial costs are high. When you get a DUI conviction, you must meet several financial conditions, including paying fines and victim restitution. In addition, conditions such as installing an IID or attending DUI School require a financial investment from you. In this article, Jonathan Franklin DUI Attorney in Los Angeles will break down some of the costs you will incur from a DUI conviction.


Bail is the amount of money you pay to the court to secure release before trial. The court sets bail to encourage you to attend all court proceedings. The judge sets the bail amount for a DUI based on Bail Schedule. He or she may adjust the amount upwards or reduce it.

The costs of bail for felony DUI charges include the following:

  • $100,000 for DUI with gross negligence (vehicular manslaughter)
  • $50,000 for DUI of Drugs
  • $50,000 for Commercial DUI, Driving under the influence of alcohol, DUI of a combination of alcohol and drugs, and driving when addicted to drugs
  • $100,000 for any DUI offense causing bodily injury

The costs of bail for misdemeanor and infraction DUI charges are as follows according to the California bail schedule:

  • $2500 for DUI while driving on a suspended license
  • $2500 for habitual traffic offenders, a first DUI offense, Commercial DUI, and driving while addicted to drugs
  • $10,000 for a second DUI offense on or after January 2014 for offenses involving alcohol only
  • $15,000 for a third DUI offense on or after January 2014
  • $50,000 for a fourth DUI offense
  • $25,000 for a DUI of alcohol, drugs or a combination of alcohol and drugs causing bodily injury on or after January 2014
  • $25,000 for second DUI offense resulting in bodily injury within ten years before 2016, and within ten years after 2017

While the court may increase or reduce bail in its discretion, it cannot double the bail amount.

When you are released on bail for a DUI offense, you have the option of paying cash bail or posting bail through a bail bondsman. When you choose to hire a bail bondsman, you will have to deposit a non-refundable premium of 10% of the bail amount.


When found guilty of a DUI offense, the court may place you in jail or prison, or sentence you to probation, with the requirement to pay fines. For most misdemeanor DUI offenses, the fines vary from $390-$1000. The amount may rise to $3000.

You may pay fines of up to $5,000 for misdemeanor DUI. For a felony DUI with injury, you may have to pay fines between $1015 and $5,000.

The courts in California calculate fines based on the standard schedule. The total amount of fines set by the court reflects the actual fine for the offense, penalty assessments, and additional fees. Some of the reasons for charging an additional fine include the following:

  • Additional penalties for multiple violations
  • County penalty assessment fee
  • State court construction penalty fee (Government Code 70372 (a))
  • Emergency medical services assessment fee

Failure to pay your fines can land you in jail. In case you have fallen behind on your payments, you should contact an attorney to check whether the court has issued a warrant against you. Legal representation increases your chances of staying out of jail.

Victim Restitution

PC 1202.4 requires that victims of a crime receive compensation for the economic losses they incur from a crime. A DUI offense could result in the injury of another person or cause damage to property. In such cases, the court will set the amount you should pay in compensation.

Some of the economic costs that feature in the calculation of victim restitution fees include the following:

  • Medical bills
  • Replacement or repair of damaged property
  • Counseling expenses
  • Lost wages

Victim restitution fees earn an interest of 10% per annum on any unpaid fees. Usually, the court does not look at your ability to pay victim restitution when setting the figure. Therefore, if you cannot raise the full amount, arrange with the court to make regular monthly payments.

Note that California usually charges the whole amount of the costs incurred by the victim. The best shot you have avoiding these payments is through a strong defense against your DUI charges.

Legal Fees

When you are arrested, the best shot at fighting the DUI charges against you is by hiring an attorney. Hiring a top-notch DUI attorney who understands the court systems and DUI laws can be costly. You are likely to spend at least $2000 on a lawyer. The more qualified a lawyer is, the higher the costs will be.

If you cannot afford a private lawyer, the court will assign you a public defender who is less costly. You can also represent yourself, which is usually a wrong move in the majority of DUI cases.

You should also note that you would still need the services of a DUI attorney after a DUI for help with license reinstatement and expungement of DUI charges. You can keep the lawyer on retainer, which is usually costly, or hire a new lawyer as the need arises.

Hiring a private attorney, especially when you have a low income can be a hard decision to make. However, representation by a qualified lawyer increases your chances of a positive outcome. A DUI lawyer understands the options you have in dealing with similar charges and can invoke them. In addition, about 74% of those representing themselves end up with a guilty charge. Getting a conviction without a lawyer means that you will have to pay fines and spend time in jail or on probation.

DUI Programs

The court requires that people found guilty of drunk driving attend a court-approved education program. The attendance of the program is a mandatory requirement. Usually, the court or the DMV will refer you to a state-licensed provider.

At the end of the program, you are required to submit a certificate of completion. Failure to submit the certificate or to attend the program is an offense that could land you in jail.

The costs of attending a DUI program are as follows:

  • Three month DUI program for first-time offenders at an average cost of $600
  • An 18- months DUI program for a second-time offender, costing $1800-$1900
  • If you are a first time offender and had a BAC of .15% or higher, you will be required to attend a 6-month DUI program at the cost of $800-$900
  • If you are a first time offender who refused to take a breath test and had a BAC of .20% or higher, you will have to attend a 9-month DUI program for a cost of $1200
  • If you receive a wet-reckless conviction, you may have to attend a 12-hour class at a fee of between $300 and $400
  • Third and subsequent offenses require mandatory attendance of a 30-month DUI program at the cost of $3000
  • If you are an underage driver (under 21), and it is your first DUI you will have to attend a 12-hour class for $270

Most DUI schools allow defendants to make a down payment and complete the balance in monthly installments. If you cannot afford the costs of the program, you may request a fee waiver to reduce the fees. Before you qualify, the DUI School will assess you to determine your income and your ability to pay for the program.

Vehicle Impoundment Costs

The law requires that the arresting officer impound your vehicle if you have a prior DUI conviction in the last ten years. However, in most cases, the officers do not impound your vehicle unless no one can drive your car to your home. Sometimes, an impoundment is part of your DUI sentence.

Once impounded, your vehicle will be held in custody of the state until you can recover it. The costs for impoundment pile on by the day, therefore, the longer you wait to recover your car, the higher the costs become. The costs of impoundment can be as low as $100 or as high as $1000. You cannot recover your vehicle without proof of ownership or a valid driver's license. Also, you have to clear the fees associated with towing and storage of your car.

The court will auction your car if you cannot raise the costs or leave your vehicle on impound for more than 90 days. You will also have to make additional payments if the auction fails to raise the amount required to offset the costs.

License Reinstatement Fees

After a DUI arrest, the DMV automatically suspends your license within thirty days unless you request a DMV hearing in ten days after the arrest. In addition, your license will be suspended for a period of up to three years after a DUI conviction. The suspension period depends on the circumstances of the crime and your DUI history within ten years.

To restore your driving privileges, you have to pay some reissue fees, which include:

  • $15 for a court restriction
  • $20 for removing the restriction on your license
  • $24 for drugs suspension
  • A $55 reissue fee
  • $100 preliminary alcohol screening fees
  • $100 Admin Per Se Fee

Once you pay the reissue fee, you may have to show proof of insurance.

Insurance Costs

You may need to file for an SR-22 certificate if your license is suspended or restricted for a DUI related offense. You can get either a non-owner or owner insurance to drive legally in California. Your insurance policy may have coverage for SR-22 in your policy. Confirm with your provider before you get the certificate.

In most cases, your insurance provider will require an additional fee of $20-$50 after you purchase or renew your insurance policy. However, a DUI conviction makes you a high-risk driver; therefore, you will have to pay higher insurance premiums. An alternative to filing an SR-22 certificate is depositing $55,000 with the state treasurer.

The costs of maintaining SR-22 insurance vary between $300 and $800 depending on the insurance provider and your driving record and age. Getting an SR-22 certificate disqualifies you from getting good-driver discounts, meaning you have to pay the full premium for ten years after your date of arrest.

In most cases, you have to maintain the SR-22 certificate for at least three years. During this time, you have to renew your SR-22 in case the license provider drops you or you cancel your policy.

IID Costs

Since 2019, the laws of California allow drivers to get an ignition interlock device instead of a license suspension. An IID is a type of Breathalyzer that keeps track of your BAC level. It prevents your car from starting if you fail to provide a breath sample. It will then request random samples as you drive. It also sends a log to the court, indicating your BAC results.

One condition of installing an IID is that a professional must do the installation. Most companies charge an installation fee of $75-$100. You also have to pay $2.50 every day.

The court also requires that you maintain the IID for every 60 days, which incurs additional costs. You also have to pay $60-$80 every month for regulation and monitoring. Considering that you may have to install the IID for four months to three years, the costs are very high.

Find a DUI Attorney Near Me

If you have been convicted for a DUI offense, you will likely be facing some financial consequences. You need to ask your lawyer about all the likely costs of a DUI upfront so that you are prepared. At the Jonathan Franklin DUI Attorney in Los Angeles, we help clients avoid the financial costs of a DUI where possible through our defense strategies. We understand how expensive a conviction can be, which is why we pour our resources and 20-years expertise in helping you avoid these charges. Contact us today at 323-464-6700 for a free consultation.

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Jonathan Franklin DUI Attorney
6777 Hollywood Blvd Ste 508
Los Angeles, CA 90028