DUI costs concept

More than 1.5 million people get arrested every year for both alcohol and drug DUI. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a crime across the United States, especially in California, and if you get caught, you’ll go in for it. 

Nevertheless, DUI conviction differs from state to state. In some states, first offense DUI may attract a hefty fine and imprisonment. In other states like California, drivers will only pay a fine and fulfill other conditions. However, the penalties will likely increase as you get more DUI convictions while depending on the nature of the crime. 

There are various costs associated with DUI on your record and wallet. It’s also essential you discover your options when you get a first DUI. You don’t necessarily have to be driving to get a DUI. 

For instance, suppose you’re intoxicated, but inside a parked car, you might be arrested for DUI. You don’t need to be drinking to receive a DUI; you can simply be driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Some DUIs are gotten at sobriety checkpoints where officers are stationed to look out for intoxicated drivers. While there are checkpoints across the entire 50 states, excluding twelve states, California does allow them. 

When you’re arrested for driving under the influence at a sobriety checkpoint, you have certain rights as a California resident. Suppose you or your loved one has been arrested for DUI; here’s everything you need to know about how much is the cost of a DUI. 

 

How Much Will Being Arrested for a DUI Cost You?

DUI conviction varies from state to state, and it isn’t cheap. Professional attorneys believe that DUIs are one of the costliest misdemeanors to face in Southern California. This is because a DUI charge comes with many expenses, including: 

 

  • Administrative costs
  • The impounded motor vehicles cost
  • Money paid to victims
  • Criminal fines as ordered by the judge
  • Expensive deterrent programs

 

Some of these DUI costs mentioned above will depend on the nature of your case or might vary depending on the place you were arrested. However, this is the average DUI expense you might face. Thus, it’d be best to speak with an experienced DUI lawyer immediately after the arrest.

Collateral Consequences of DUIs

DUI penalties in Southern California are pretty high. Nevertheless, the state isn’t the only one with severe consequences for drunk driving. 

 

Drunk driving conviction consequences that come outside California are called collateral consequences. They’re often more difficult to handle than jail time, driver’s license suspension, and fines from the state.

 

Preparing for imminent collateral consequences, avoiding them, and minimizing their damage are things a skilled DUI defense lawyer from a great law firm can help you with. 

California’s DUIs Collateral Consequences

There are other consequences for DUI drunk drivers beyond court penalties. They include:

 

  • Affecting professional certifications, driver’s licenses, and car insurance
  • Higher car insurance costs from insurance companies that trigger SR22 requirements
  • Affecting ability to qualify for financial aid and university admission decisions
  • Compulsory ignition interlock device installation 
  • Disclosing DUI arrest details when applying for green cards, change of status, visas, or entering the US
  • Ability to influence your employment status when searching for a job
  • Signing a Watson Advisement, which will be used to checkmate you and prove willful malice when you get another DUI in future

Felony DUI With Bodily Injury

When there’s an injury to human life or death due to the DUI accident, the offender will face more severe DUI punishments than the average DUIs. A DUI that caused the injury is called a California “wobbler.” 

 

Driving under the influence can be a misdemeanor or felony, depending on prior records and facts. Bodily injury felony driving under the influence attracts the following penalties:

1. Fines and Fees

A felony DUI charge can attract penalties varying from a minimum fine of $390 up to $5,000. However, it depends on the offender’s history, facts, and substantial penalty assessments, totaling about $18,000.

2. Restitution

Drunk driving offenders are required to undergo restitution to injured parties.

3. Felony DUI Jail Time

As a felony DUI defendant, you can be eligible for jail time that might span between 16 months to three years in your state prison.

4. Driver’s License Suspension

A DUI offender can get up to four years of driver’s license suspension with the possibility of permanent suspension.

5. Probation

You’ll also get three to five years drunk driving probation, and if this is your fourth DUI, you must complete a 30-month drug education program as a probation condition for 4 DUIs.

6. IID Installation

Felony DUI offenders face penalties, including a compulsory ignition interlock device installed in your automobile for three years once you qualify for a restricted driving license.

7. Record

You’ll have a convicted felon status which you’ll have to disclose on certain occasions, like when looking for employment.

2nd DUI

A driver being arrested for DUI

Most people arrested for a second driving under the influence in Southern California cities like Santa Monica, always ask how the punishments and DUI penalties from the court or DMV are different from those given to a first DUI conviction. The truth is, there’s no simple answer to this concern because in every driving under the influence offense, you’ll need to consider specific facts of the case. 

 

When you’re convicted of a second driving under the influence in California, the punishments imposed by the court include:

 

  • Summary probation spanning three to five years
  • 96 hours to one year mandatory jail time
  • Completing a 30-month or at least 18 months of court-approved driving under the influence school in California
  • Fines of about $390 to $1,000 and an extra $1000 in penalty assessment 
  • Ignition interlock device installation for one year
  • Your driver’s license might be suspended for two years, and after 12 months, it might become converted to a restricted license. However, you can get an IID restricted license to enable you to drive anywhere you want once installed

 

Nonetheless, the court’s punishment and penalties for second DUI cases in California vary from county to county, depending on where the DUI offenses occurred.

3rd DUI

Third-time driving under the influence offenders are liable to three to five years probation in California. Besides the probation, you can get a jail term of four months to one year and fines ranging from $2,500 to $3,000. You’ll get a mandatory three years license suspension and 30-month of DUI school.

 

But defendants may be able to avoid jail through a live-in rehabilitation program, house arrest, or work furlough. And the DMV let’s most defendants resume driving right away with an ignition interlock device (IID). However, they must use it for two years.

 

Furthermore, offenders that refused to take the chemical blood or breath test after the arrest can’t drive for three years. Sadly, you won’t be able to get even a restricted license at this time. 

 

In California, 3rd DUI offenses are still a misdemeanor if they didn’t cause serious human life injuries. Offenders convicted of a third DUI may serve jail or house arrest through the live-in drug treatment program or work-furlough program. 

 

To avoid jail, once you’re arrested for DUI-3rd ensure to fight and get the charges dismissed or at last reduced to a minor offense. Furthermore, you’ll need to win both the DMV hearings, also called admin per se (APS) hearings, and criminal cases to avoid your license being revoked following a DUI-3rd in California.

4th DUI

A DUI-4th in California committed under ten years can be a felony or misdemeanor under the motor Vehicle Code 23550 VC. On average, the punishment includes six months to three years of imprisonment, a drunk driving education program for 30 months, fines ranging from $390 to $1,000, and four-year license revocation. 

 

However, DUI offenders can still drive with an IID. More so, it doesn’t matter if the previous DUIs occurred in California or not; you’ll face the penalties for DUI-4th.

 

As an offense that has been committed repeatedly, a fourth DUI conviction carries harsher penalties, especially if they all happened under the period of ten years. The court considers the offender’s blood alcohol content (BAC), the case’s facts, and any other aggravating factors. 

 

As a wobbler, a DUI-4th in California can be a misdemeanor or felony. It’s left for the prosecutors to decide whether to press misdemeanor or felony charges. 

 

As a felony, a DUI-4th conviction carries a prison sentence of one year and six months, two years, or three years. As a misdemeanor offense, the punishment includes six months to one-year imprisonment in the county jail. 

 

Don’t forget that drivers in California often face felony DUI charges for getting a new driving under the influence case after their first felony DUI conviction, regardless of whether the new DUI case didn’t cause injuries or accidents.

Foreign Citizen DUI

On average, most non-American citizens arrested for a single DUI offense will not face unfavorable immigration punishments. However, DUI can lead to denial of citizenship, inadmissibility to the US, or deportation under some circumstances.

 

Driving under the influence crimes that may lead to inadmissibility and deportation include:

 

  • Driving under the influence with a kid in the motor vehicle
  • DUI with other criminal convictions 
  • DUI of addictive drugs or combined with alcohol
  • Multiple drugged or drunk driving convictions 

 

Presently, most people convicted of DUI don’t suffer negative immigration consequences, especially DUI involving alcohol. The truth is, DUIs are often charged as a misdemeanor. 

 

While a DUI involving alcohol has no harsh immigration consequences, sadly, it isn’t so for DUI of drugs. Under the United States immigration law, offenders convicted of drug crimes automatically become inadmissible and deportable. Over time, courts have insisted that simple DUI isn’t a ground for a high penalty such as deportation.

 

However, you’ll need to be represented by an experienced DUI defense attorney with immigration and DUI expertise. That way, you can successfully navigate any additional DUI consequences while pleading guilty or no contest to another crime with fewer immigration consequences rather than fighting DUI of drugs charges in criminal court.

 

The following are some penalties for immigrants facing DUID crimes in California:

Undocumented (Illegal) Immigrants Can Face Deportation From DUI

Convicted undocumented immigrants might face immigration proceedings, leading to deportation regardless of whether you’re guilty of driving under the influence or not. Once the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are aware of your arrest and an immigration hold is issued, you’re eligible for deportation. 

 

ICE can discover your arrest through the following ways:

 

  • Information sharing from police officers under the DHS Secure Communities Program ensures rapid record and fingerprint sharing between ICE and law enforcement agencies

 

  • ICE expends more of its limited resources on finding people with criminal records. Thus, as an undocumented immigrant, it’s best to fight DUI charges while maintaining a record without criminal convictions to reduce the chances of getting deported

 

  • When the police officer discovers that you’re not a legal immigrant after your arrest, they can hand you over to ICE while in custody

 

Working with an experienced DUI attorney with immigration expertise is a good step towards navigating this complicated side of US law.

Deportation for DUI With Aggravating Factors

Being convicted of DUI has always not been enough grounds to deport permanent residents or “green card” holders and other legal aliens. According to the US Supreme Court Local v. Ashcroft case in 2004, the court ruled that a DUI isn’t a “crime of violence.” Thus, it isn’t an aggravated felony, which would have been the ground for deportation.  

 

DUIs with aggravating factors lead to problems reentering the US, problems adjusting immigration status, or deportation. 

 

Some aggravating factors examples include:

 

  • Driving under the influence with a suspended license
  • Multiple DUIs 
  • More DUIs than other crimes in your record
  • DUI involving child endangerment
  • DUID, especially those in the federal list

Visas Can Be Revoked

In many cases, the US Department of State consular officers can automatically revoke DUI offenders’ visas quickly before your lawsuit is being heard to enable you to defend yourself. You aren’t even required to plead guilty. 

 

The revocation speed is a result of how rapidly law enforcement agencies share arrest records and bench warrants. 

 

Prudential visa revocations by the DOS affect non-immigrant visa holders, including:

 

  • H1B highly skilled workers
  • Exchange visitors
  • International F1 visa students
  • Scholars on the J1 visa

 

With a revoked visa, it’ll be tough to reenter the US. You’ll need to reappear first before a DOS consular officer and reestablish your visa eligibility. If you attempt to reenter the country with a revoked visa, you’ll be prevented from boarding a flight to the US or denied entry upon landing.

How Much Does a DUI Cost In California

There isn’t a specific answer to this question because DUI legal fees depend on the amount of alcohol or drugs in your system, the city the arrest happened in, your age, first-time offense, and other factors. 

 

According to the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs, the estimate for an average first-time DUI crime include:

  • Court Fines and Attorney Fees: $4,000

After your DUI conviction, you’ll have to pay fines alongside various court fees. Hence, it’d help if you got a DUI lawyer like Louis J Goodman to help you fight unfair charges or post a bail bond.

  • Drug Treatment and Education: $650 

Most California DUI convictions come with some mandatory drug or alcohol education program. You’ll have to complete a 60-hour, 44-hour, or at least 30-hour program after your first DUI crime, depending on the driver’s BAC level. 

  • Car Towing/Impound Fee: $685 

Following your DUI arrest, the police will tow and impound your car since you won’t be able to drive it. 

 

  • DMV reinstatement fee: $100
  • Car insurance premium estimates for the next 13 years: $40,000. Motor vehicles estimates range from below one thousand dollars for Esurance to about $2,700 annually from the state. 

 

Thus, the total estimated cost for first-time DUI offenders in California is $45,435. Don’t forget that this is an estimate and not the exact cost. However, for repeat DUIs, the fines and penalties will be higher. 

Final Words

California Peace officers are highly vigilant in getting ahold of individuals who might have been drunk driving. The California DUI law empowers them to arrest people for drunk driving regardless of whether they saw them just sitting down in a parked car or standing beside it. 

In this case, the appropriate offense will be a drunk-in-the-public charge, but with the wrong representation, you can suffer court penalties. Hence, you need an experienced DUI lawyer with vast knowledge of the California criminal justice system to help you post bail after your arrest, get a fair DMV hearing, and possibly a plea bargain or have the case dismissed. 

Sadly, California prosecutors are often picky about the charges they dismiss or plea down. According to the DMV reports, over 70 percent of DUI arrests result in a conviction. The rate becomes higher amongst people who represent themselves when compared to those who hire experienced lawyers specializing in drunk driving cases to defend them. 

Suppose you’re a foreigner or non-immigrant residing in California and are asking how much does a DUI cost; we hope you’ve gotten your answer. However, the penalties are more dire than this when you don’t work with reputable and highly-experienced California DUI attorneys with substantial knowledge of immigration law like Louis J Goodman to help you turn the tide in your favor. Visit their website for a free consultation and legal counsel for your drunk driving case.

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