Driving under the influence is a serious offense everywhere. But in California, it’s become just a bit more serious than in the other 49 states. That’s because California regularly nets more than 200,000 DUI arrests every year, and that’s not even including the number of accidents that occur as a result of drunken, reckless driving. So, as the saying goes, desperate times call for desperate measures.
And in the Golden State, those measures have seriously tightened the belt around DUI drivers’ bank accounts. Getting a DIU could cost you some serious cash, as so many PSA campaigns do well to remind us. But how much, exactly, is it going to cost you? We’ve tallied the numbers here so you can understand just how much you’re putting on the line when you decide to gamble out on the road after having a few drinks.
When it comes to this kind of gambling, the odds of you walking away with more money than you came to the table with are zero. Between court fees, insurance rates and criminal defense attorney fees, you’re looking at a pricey admission ticket to ride. Naturally, after you land a DUI, you might have a few questions.
How much am I looking at in fines?
That all depends on whether or not this is your first drunk driving-related offense or not. If it is, you might be able to walk away with just over $1,000 in fines — but that’s before you factor in the non-criminal consequences. You could lose your license, likely resulting in public transport costs. You could be mandated to attend a DUI course or some kind of alcohol counseling at your own expense. But if it’s your second or third offense, don’t worry, you likely won’t need to fork over any cash. The judge will just send you straight to jail instead.
What about insurance charges?
Oh yeah, those. In addition to your bus pas, your court fines and your driving courses, you’ll be facing some serious increases in your monthly insurance premiums, too. You’ll likely be pegged as a “high-risk” driver and be made to pay much more every month than you had been in the past. Some courts may even force you to install a breathylzer inside your car to blow into before you can start it — and those aren’t cheap. All in all, you’re looking at a pretty expensive ride home.
How much does a DUI lawyer cost?
Of course, you could avoid all these results (OK, probably not all of them) by hiring a good DUI attorney to handle your case. But the better the defense attorneys, the higher the ticket price. Expect your criminal defense attorney fees to number somewhere in the $1,000 range, if not more. That brings a grand total of all your expenses to a cool $10,000, all things considered (according to a recent story run by MSN Money).
The bottom line is that it’s never a good idea to drink and drive. But, of course, alcohol tends to impair people’s abilities to make decisions based soundly on judgment alone. Do yourself a favor and think of the criminal defense attorney fees. Think of the jail time. Think of the lives you could destroy if you choose to drive drunk.
Then, you won’t be able to think of anything but a cab ride home.