Welcome to FindLaw's DUI Law series. If you have been charged with a DUI, know someone who has, or just want to know about the law and how to protect your rights during a DUI stop, please come back each week for more information.
Every DUI is unique, which means not all DUIs cost the same. State DUI laws and the particular circumstances of your case will determine your exact cost, but recent studies have shown that a first time DUI in California can cost almost $16,000.
Here's a breakdown of the factors that will determine how much a DUI can cost, and how to avoid them.
The Standard DUI
Even though every DUI is different, there are some general costs that come along with any DUI arrest, trial, and conviction:
DUI and Then Some
Those are just the standard costs that come with any misdemeanor DUI. But your case could cost you more if it is bumped up to a felony. Prior convictions, having kids in the car, an extremely high blood alcohol content, or an accident involving injury or death can mean more sever criminal charges and thus more cost. And if you are involved in an accident causing property damage or injury, criminal sanctions are just the start. You could also be sued in civil court for any damages caused by the accident.
Just because a DUI can be expensive doesn't mean you should avoid getting legal help. In fact, not talking to an attorney about your DUI could end up costing you more in the long run. If you've been charged with drunk driving, talk to an experienced DUI attorney immediately.