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How Much Could a DUI Cost You?

    3 minute read

    When you look at the circumstances surrounding poor driving behaviors, it is truly amazing how people can rationalize their actions.

    Take speeding, for example. Some think: Oh, it’s just a few mph over the limit. I’m not tailing anyone or weaving through traffic, and even if I do happen to get pulled over, it’s just a couple hundred bucks for the ticket.

    A similar tendency to minimize and rationalize dangerous behavior occurs in those who consume alcohol and choose to drive. Oh, I can handle my liquor. I actually feel pretty good. I don’t have too far to drive anyway.

    So, How Much Could a DUI Really Cost You?

    Let us set aside the safety ramifications of both of these risky decisions for just a moment and take a look at the potential financial consequences. If you choose to drive after drinking alcohol and then get pulled over, arrested, and convicted on DUI charges, it is not just a couple of hundred dollars out of your pocket such as with a speeding ticket. It can cost you over $15,000.

    That is right: fifteen grand for your first DUI! And if you are under age, that figure can shoot up to more than $22,000!

    According to a new study conducted by the Automobile Association of Southern California, the average total cost of a first-time DUI is $15,649, or $22,492 for an under-21 DUI. The organization calculated these figures by looking at several of the different costs associated with a DUI conviction.

    Here is a closer look at the AASC breakdown:

    • Fines and penalties ($1,655) – Fines issued by the state and other state penalties that must be paid range between $1,400 and $2,600.

    • Booking ($170) – As part of the arrest process, booking fees are issued to the individual who is charged with the DUI.

    • Vehicle towing and storage ($350) – If you are pulled over for a DUI, law enforcement will tow away and impound your vehicle, and those costs will be passed on to you.

    • Education ($575) – A condition of almost every DUI conviction is that the offender must attend a series of alcohol education classes at his or her own expense.

    • Restitution ($140) – In California, restitution is built in to every DUI conviction, unlike in many other states, where restitution is only required if another party is harmed in some way. That means every DUI offender pays into the state’s Victim’s Restitution Fund.

    • Driver’s license re-issuance ($125) – The driver’s license of a DUI offender can be suspended anywhere from one to ten months for a first offense. In order to get your license back after your suspension, you have to go to the DMV and pay the reissuance fee.

    • Attorney or other legal fees ($2,500) – This figure can vary widely, but you will most likely need to employ the services of a lawyer to help you navigate the legal process associated with DUI charges.

    • Auto insurance premium increase ($10,154) – This is where getting a DUI really hurts you financially. Insurance companies view DUIs as strong indicators of risky driving, and they will increase the auto insurance rates of people who have this type of offense on their driving record. (Note that while Auto Insurance Specialists can help you shop for an insurance company that is more forgiving of “points” on your driving record, the best defense is to not get them!)

    The AASC figure does not take into account other possible costs of a DUI, such as damages awarded in a civil trial to a plaintiff who was injured by your actions, lost work wages while serving a jail sentence, or the price of a state-mandated ignition interlock device to be placed in your vehicle.

    yellow taxi speeding bySo, the next time you are at a bar or club in California bemoaning the price of drinks, think twice about not only the huge safely risk, but also how much money you may have to pay if you were to get a DUI.

    This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements. The definitions, terms and coverage’s in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.