You can be arrested for a DUI in the state of California if your blood alcohol level (BAC) is 0.08% or more. A DUI charge picked up in the state of California can end up costing more than you think.
A DUI conviction may easily be one of the most expensive misdemeanors you can incur in the State of California. In fact, the average cost of a DUI here is $10,000 to $15,000. That’s why it’s important to get a criminal defense lawyer who may be able to get your charges reduced or dropped.
Standard Costs Involved With a DUI Charge
In addition to the stress a DUI charge can carry, it is certainly an expensive crime as well. For a first-time offense, the total cost is likely to add up to well over $10,000. That is in a situation where no one gets hurt, and there are no medical bills involved. The costs for a DUI resulting in an injury can increase astronomically.
You’re probably wondering where all of the different charges come from to make up that price tag. Here’s a quick breakdown of the typical costs involved with an average DUI. Again, this is for a conviction in which no one gets hurt:
- Car insurance – Your rates can increase for three years due to a DUI in California. On average, that increase is over $3,000 annually.
- Impound fees – These include towing and storage fees that can add up to about $700.
- DUI programs – These classes can be court-ordered, and you will have to pay for them out of your pocket. An average course costs about $650.
- Driver’s license reinstatement – This will cost you about $100.
- Lawyer fees – These vary, depending on who you hire and the duration of your case.
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Additional Costs of Getting a DUI in California
The list provided above is not all-inclusive. There are several other costs that can come with a DUI charge. However, these charges don’t all necessarily apply to every defendant. The above list does not include:
- Bail bond costs
- Booking fees (That’s right – you have to pay for everything from the photography fee for your mugshot to the processing fee for your fingerprints.)
- Court-imposed fines
- Paying to fix the damage to your car
- Paying to fix the damage to the other person’s car
- Medical expenses, if the other party was injured
- Your own medical expenses that your insurance doesn’t cover
- Installing an interlock device in your car
- Lost wages from time missed at work while attending court appearances and possibly while recovering in the hospital
- Transportation costs while your license is suspended or revoked
All told, a DUI charge can easily cost you a small fortune. This is especially true if someone was injured as the result of an accident. Fortunately, many of these charges only apply if you are convicted. Therefore, the sooner you speak with a DUI lawyer after your arrest, the better position you will be in to make the strongest case possible.
Will My Insurance Rates Automatically Increase After a DUI?
When you are convicted of a DUI, one of the largest costs is often a hike in your insurance premiums. Fortunately, these costs are spread out over time, so they won’t hit you as one large bill that you have to pay immediately following a conviction. In fact, you may not even see a rate increase for several months.
Insurance companies can not legally adjust your policy in the middle of the term. Instead, they have to wait until it comes up for renewal. If you still have several months on your current policy, you won’t see a rate increase until that period has ended, unless you apply for new coverage. An insurance company can then charge the increased rate.
Depending on the particulars of your situation, you might be able to avoid any increase to your insurance rates entirely. It depends on whether or not you need to file an SR-22 form. If you are required to fill out form SR-22, you will need to inform your insurance company of your DUI arrest, and your rates will rise.
California DMV, Form SR-22, and DUI Charges
This form is a special proof of insurance and is often required to reinstate your driver’s license after a suspension. After a DUI arrest, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) normally suspends your driver’s license for 30 days. This is known as a “per se” suspension and occurs before your trial. If you receive a “per se” suspension you have to fill out form SR-22.
By acting fast and requesting a hearing from the DMV within 10 days of your arrest, it might be possible to avoid a “per se” suspension. If successful, your insurance company will only find out about your DUI if they check your DMV record.
Your insurance company has the right to check your record at any time and likely will when your policy is up for renewal. However, if they don’t you may be able to continue avoiding an increase in your rates. A DUI charge will stay on your DMV record for 10 years, so it is possible that you could face a three-year increase at any point during this period.
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Criminal Penalties for a DUI in California
In addition to the costs and fees involved with a DUI charge, there are several criminal penalties a defendant can suffer as well. These penalties increase in severity, depending on whether the crime is prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony.
Generally, if this is your first offense, and if no one was killed or badly injured, then chances are good that the charge will be prosecuted as a misdemeanor. The most common sentence for a first-time offense is a term of probation that lasts between three and five years. As a condition of your probation, you may be subject to the following:
- Prohibited from driving with any measurable amount of alcohol in your system, even a legal amount
- Prohibited from participating in any further violations of the law, except for minor traffic violations
- Court-ordered attendance in a support group or related program
- Roadside alcohol testing, if an officer requests it
If you do not comply with any of these terms, then you may be charged with violating your probation, which can result in jail time. However, here at the Simmrin Law Group, we understand that sometimes life gets in the way, or sometimes you make a mistake.
Whether you completely forgot and had a drink, or whether your transportation fell through and you missed a support group meeting, we can help you explain your situation to the court and potentially avoid a probation violation.
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A DUI Charge Can Be Pricey. If You’re Facing One, Call Us!
It may not appear to be the case at first, but a DUI charge can easily bankrupt you with all of the fees and charges associated with it. Let our experienced criminal defense lawyers help you build the best defense possible in an effort to avoid a conviction that can mean both jail time and bankruptcy.
Fill out our online contact form or give us a call to speak with one of our experienced professionals. You can schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation. Our team will walk you through all your options and help get your life back on track.