The costs associated with DUIs in California, including fines and fees, may add up quickly and affect people for years after their arrests.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles reports there were over 172,000 DUI arrests across the state in 2012, the most recent year with statistics available. Following such an arrest, many are focused on the possibility of jail time. However, California DUIs carry a number of other penalties. The financial costs of drunk driving arrests could add up quickly and have lasting implications.
In addition to or in lieu of jail time, people who are convicted of or plead guilty to DUI in California may face fines. Under California state law, drivers may be fined anywhere from $390 to $1,000 for a first time misdemeanor or felony DUI offense. The fines people may face are increased for those with prior drunk driving convictions and in situations when they were involved in a drunk driving accident that resulted in injuries. For instance, a driver may be fined between $1,015 and $5,000 for felony DUI resulting in an injury.
Towing and storage fees
After a DUI arrest, some drivers’ vehicles may be impounded. This action comes at their expense. According to California’s Administrative Office of the Courts, people may be charged up to $137 per day for vehicle storage fees. This could add up to more than $600 if their vehicles are impounded for at least five days.
Alcohol treatment programs
California’s Administrative Office of the Courts points out that a DUI conviction in the state may result in people being ordered to participate in an alcohol treatment program. Depending on the circumstances, these programs may range from three to six months and may cost upwards of $600. The drivers themselves, and not the state, are responsible for the costs of participating in these mandatory treatment programs.
Ignition interlock devices
Once people have their driving privileges reinstated, they may be ordered to have ignition interlock devices installed on their vehicles. They may be required to maintain such devices on any vehicles they own or operate for between five months and three years. Often, companies charge an installation fee of between $75 and $100 for ignition interlock devices. Additionally, they may charge a monitoring fee. On average, this may run people about $2.50 per day.
It is common for insurance companies to raise drivers’ premiums following a DUI arrest. The amount by which their monthly payments may increase varies based on a number of factors such as their insurance carrier and their prior records. Typically, people will be subject to these escalated premiums years after they have paid their fines and served their time.
Seeking legal guidance
When people in California are arrested for drunk driving, the consequences may be ranging and long lasting. The costs of DUI arrests are often overlooked, but may add up quickly. Therefore, those who have been charged with alcohol-related offenses may benefit from obtaining legal representation. An attorney may help them understand their options for limiting their penalties and the associated costs, as well as to establish a strong criminal defense.