What are the Costs of a DUI?

Cost Penalties of a DUI Conviction

  • A conviction of DUI, or driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, ranges considerably from state to state and according to the specific circumstances of the offense. An estimate for a first-time DUI is $2000 to $9000 or more in many states. In addition to fines and fees, there are also various penalties involved, including alcohol testing, community service, treatment programs and driver’s license suspensions.

What are the Costs of a DUI?

A DUI conviction is extremely costly due to the immediate and long term costs involved. In addition to the hundreds or thousands of dollars in immediate fines and fees, there will be long term insurance increases. Here is an estimate for a first-time DUI:

  • Bail - $200 - $2500
  • Fines and penalties - $1000 to $6000
  • Towing and storage - $700 (approximately $100 - $150 per day)
  • DUI classes/substance abuse counseling - $500 - $1000
  • Attorney’s fees where no injury or death occurred  - $1000 - $5000 (varies according to case, jurisdiction, circumstances)
  • Attorney’s fees where injury or death occurred – estimates from $4000 - $8000 (varies according to case, jurisdiction and circumstances)
  • DMV reinstatement fee - $100 - $300
  • Insurance increase –high risk insurance may increase premiums $1500 or $2000 yearly for at least three years

Other Consequences and Penalties of a DUI Conviction:

  • Lost time from work due to court hearings, attorney meetings, probation officer meetings treatment and other case-related appointments
  • Possible jail or prison sentence
  • Points on driver’s license
  • Permanent DUI entry on driving record – lasts for a lifetime
  • Stigma of DUI conviction
  • Higher life insurance costs
  • Driver’s license suspension – often lasts from 30 to 360 days or more
  • Professional licensure is usually negatively affected

DUI Costs Increase for Subsequent Convictions

DUI Costs Increase for Subsequent Convictions:

DUI costs will increase for each DUI conviction. The estimates listed above may double or triple for subsequent DUI convictions. In addition to increases in penalties and fines, a subsequent conviction will increase the likelihood of a jail or prison sentence. If a DUI results in the death of another, the driver is likely to be charged with vehicular homicide, which is more expensive to defend against. Legal fees will be greater due to the preparation and time involved in defending against these serious charges.

Auto Insurance Premiums Increase from DUI Conviction:

Auto insurance providers regularly check the insured’s driving record. The insurance company may choose to cancel the insurance coverage immediately or to not renew it. If they do choose to renew it, rates may increase 100% to 500%. The driver will be classified as a “high-risk driver” and this will affect premium rates for at least three years. In some jurisdictions, auto insurance premiums may be affected for up to 10 years or more.

The SR-22 Auto Insurance Form for DUI Offenders:

In many states, the convicted DUI driver will be required to obtain an SR-22 form. “SR” is an abbreviation for Safety Responsibility. This form is filed with the state by the insurance provider to prove that the driver has the minimum required auto insurance coverage. In many state the SR-22 is used to reinstate the driver’s driving privileges after a suspension or revocation from a DUI.

(Note: The costs noted above are estimates. Costs will vary from state to state and change frequently.)

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Michael S. Berg
Attorney At Law