What is the Cost of a DUI?
What is the Cost of a DUI? An Orange County DUI, here and elsewhere in California, (in fact, across the country), is expensive. You may wonder what the total cost of a DUI is, and it is somewhere between $7,000 and over $15,000 total.
Why is that? Politicians and activists, including groups like MADD, have found that increasing Orange County penalties and punishment for DUI, especially on the financial end, are almost never opposed. Every year 1.4 million first time offenders are arrested for a DUI, and the State of California, alcohol schools and other providers have used that fact for profit.
For that reason, DUI penalties, punishments, fines, fees, and costs, are much higher, even than other areas that are more of a danger to the public, like distracted driving, drowsy driving, and impairments other than DUI.
Part of the reason for this is– in 2016, the cost of alcohol induced traffic accidents cost the public roughly nationwide 114.3 billion per year, 51.1 billion in monetary costs, and 62.3 billion in the value of life losses.
The following costs are included for a first time DUI:
DUI Court Costs and Procedure:
Offenders must attend a first DUI court hearing approximately 4-5 weeks after their arrest. A Blood Alcohol Level of over a .08% in California and other states is considered a DUI. Anything over a .08 can result in a DUI conviction. First-time offenders are usually charged with misdemeanors unless factors exist that make the case a felony.
DUI Sentencing Factors depend on:
- BAC Level of Impairment
- Whether or not there was an accident
- Whether or not there was bodily harm to someone other than the driver
- What mitigating factors exist, such as character references, military service, willingness to participate in DUI classes and treatment).
DUI Ignition Interlocks
What is the Cost of a DUI Ignition Interlock Device? An ignition interlock device, or IID, requires the driver to breathe into a breathalyzer system that is connected to the vehicle’s ignition system. Testing is required to start the vehicle or keep the car running.
If alcohol is detected, the vehicle will not start and if the car is in motion, it will disable the ignition. Some systems honk the vehicle’s horn and flash headlights to alert local authorities, which could result in a second time DUI.
The cost is up to a $200 installation fee and $80 per month for maintenance.
Currently, California requires an ignition interlock for a shortened suspended license for the second DUI or higher DUI, and four first time DUI convicts in four specific counties, as part of a pilot test project. As of this writing, the California legislature had indicated that there are plans to make an ignition interlock device mandatory for all first-time offenders. That hasn’t happened yet, as of June 2016.
DUI Educational Programs:
What is the Cost of a DUI and the alcohol school or classes? Getting the privilege to drive again requires attending and completing an educational program at one of several state-approved alcohol education programs. We have a list of alcohol schools approved by the DMV on our website.
DUI offenders in California typically have to enroll in an alcohol school to obtain a restricted license, which allows driving to and from work, and during the work day for work purposes, and have to complete their alcohol school to get their full license back.
The alcohol school is the same one that is required for both court convictions from a DUI, and for a DMV suspension after a DMV hearing is either lost or not requested.
DUI Fees and Fines:
What is the Cost of a DUI in terms of fees and fines? First-time offenders must pay court fees, fines, and possibly have their license revoked, or face jail time, plus attend the educational program above, and be on DUI probation for a minimum of three years.
You can apply for a restricted license once your license is actually suspended by the DMV. To do so, you will need to:
(a) enroll in an alcohol school. We have a list of alcohol schools approved by the DMV on our website.
(b) Submit an SR-22 electronically through your insurance company (and you will need to contact your insurance company for this), and
(c) pay a fee of $125 as a re-issuance fee at any DMV branch office.