Bail For DUI

If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), it’s important to know how much your bail is. Bail is a fee that you must pay in order to be released jail before your court date. When you’ve been arrested for a DUI, you’ll want to get started working on your case with an attorney right away, so you’ll want to post bail instead of wasting that time sitting in a county jail.

There are several factors that determine how much the total cost for bail will be, including whether you have prior DUI offenses and how serious this one was. Here is everything you need to know to get out of jail after a DUI arrest.

What is a DUI?

A DUI, or Driving Under the Influence, is a criminal offense that involves operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. The prosecution must prove that you were intoxicated while driving and that you had enough alcohol in your system to impair your ability to drive safely. They can do this using chemical testing of bodily fluids such as breathalyzer tests and urine tests, but they will also look at other factors such as whether you were swerving across lanes or getting into accidents.

What is the difference between drunk driving and driving under the influence? A drunk driver has consumed so much alcohol that they are unable to function properly behind the wheel; a person who is “under the influence” has not necessarily taken in an excessive amount of drugs or liquor but nonetheless faces legal penalties for their behavior behind the wheel (for example, if they have been prescribed medication which makes them drowsy).

You have the right to post bail for DUI charges

A DUI is considered a criminal case, but you have the right to post bail and be released until your court date. Depending on several factors — prior DUIs, whether your license is suspended or revoked, and the circumstances surrounding your arrest — you may be eligible to get out of jail.

The best situation, obviously other than a DUI offense at all, would be getting released on OR, or “own recognizance”. This is a situation where defendants are released without any bail required, but there are restrictions. You also promise to appear for the arraignment and all other court dates. Failure to appear would result in the immediate issue of a warrant for an arrest and mandatory jail time.

If you are granted release on your own recognizance, always be in touch with your attorney, and stick to the restrictions placed by the courts.

Who is Eligible for Bail?

If you’ve been arrested for DUI, it’s important to understand the likelihood that you’ll be released on bail.

If you are not a United States citizen, you must post a cash bail at the full amount to get out of jail. If you are a citizen or have been in the country long enough to apply for citizenship, then there are surety bonds available through an insurance company or bail bond companies that will enable you to pay your way out of jail.

You may be released from custody if:

  • You have no prior convictions and this is a first-time DUI offense
  • Your arrest was based on probable cause
  • Your breath test showed your blood alcohol content was 0.08% or less at the time of your DUI arrest
  • There are no other aggravating factors involved

How Are Bail Amounts Determined?

First-time offenders find it easier to come out on bail. However, depending on certain circumstances, you may still be denied bail even for a first-time offense. The bail schedule in California is determined by each county separately. The judge can set a different amount of bail for the same crime, depending on several factors including:

  • The severity of the crime
  • Whether or not you have a criminal record or are on probation
  • Your financial situation (i.e., whether or not you can afford to pay bail)
  • Whether or not you are considered a flight risk
  • The judge

Other aggravating factors include the nature of the charges against you, your driving history and what kind of vehicle you were driving when arrested (if any), if there are multiple offenses in this incident, and more. In some cases, if you are granted bail, you may also be required to wear an alcohol monitoring device.

Bail Amounts Vary Based on Jurisdiction.

While bail amounts vary based on jurisdiction and other factors, you can generally expect to pay about $2,500 for your first DUI in California. Other states range from $500 all the way up to $10,00, even for a first DUI. Of course, other factors are considered. The amount will be higher if you have a criminal record or prior convictions for driving under the influence. Either way, it is a lot of money to fork up and an extra inconvenience, to say the least, in a DUI charge.

What Happens If You Can’t Afford Bail?

If you’re charged with drunk driving or DUI in California, then your total cost associated with this offense can quickly add up. You may be required to pay for an attorney as well as other expenses related to court appearances (e.g., fines). These costs may result in significant debt that impacts your financial situation going forward; however, there are ways to manage these costs while maintaining some semblance of financial stability during this difficult time in life.

  • Bail Bond Company

If you cannot afford a cash bail, you may be able to get a bail bond. Bail bonds can usually be avoided if the amount of your bail is less than $2,500, but many people choose to use them anyway. If this is the case for you and you do end up getting a bail bond, one thing to consider is that you will have to pay the bail bondsman a non-refundable fee of 2-10% of the total bail amount (the percentage varies by state). So if your court costs are $100 and your bail is set at $1,000 then the bondsman would charge 10% ($100) plus their fee (often between 6%-12%) which should come out to around $100-$120 more than what it cost to post your own recognizance bond earlier on in this process.

  • Friend or Family

If you don’t have enough bail money, there are some alternatives available. If someone is willing to post your bond on your behalf, then they may do so as long as they do not charge any fees (bond agents are allowed to charge fees). You can also ask a family member or friend who lives outside of the state of California if they would be willing to post a cash bond through an out-of-state agency or company.

How Much is Bail for a DUI in California? It Depends.

The amount of bail you pay will depend on several factors, like the severity of your offense and your prior criminal history. Additionally, it’s possible for a judge to set an amount higher than the bail schedule if they believe that you are a flight risk or may commit another criminal acts.

Bail amounts can be determined by looking at a person’s record and the charges he or she is facing. If you have no previous convictions but are facing serious charges like murder or manslaughter, then expect to pay more than someone who has been convicted of a lesser crime in the past.

The judge may also take into consideration whether or not it seems likely that someone will return for trial once released on bail. This can mean refusing to release you if they believe there is little incentive for doing so since there might not be any change in your life situation after release (i.e., no job prospects).

How and When Is Bail Set?

There are two ways bail can be set: by a judge or magistrate, or by a city or county agency that oversees pretrial release. If you have been arrested for a misdemeanor, your bail will most likely be set at your first court appearance. For felony crimes, it will most likely be set by either an administrative agent (if you are in jail) or another judge at this first appearance.


In California, the average bail amount for a first DUI is $2,500. It is important to understand, though, that whatever Los Angeles county laws and regulations are, for example, might be different from Orange county, Alameda county, or other counties. So be sure to check with an attorney to see what your options are with regards to bail bonds, as well as what your options are in court. You also want to get in touch with a bail bondsman in your county, as well.

As with any criminal offense, this amount can vary depending on where you’re arrested and your record. If you are facing misdemeanor or felony DUI charges in California, contact the Law Office of Louis J Goodman who offers a free consultation, puts value on building a good attorney-client relationship, understands the court system, and who provides comprehensive legal support. Make sure to discuss getting released on your own recognizance, but if that is not possible, you now know your other options for getting released on bail.

Request A Free Case Evaluation

Fields marked with an * are required

"*" indicates required fields

I Have Read The Disclaimer*
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Real Time Web Analytics