What Are the Real Costs of a California DUI Conviction?

July 29, 2020

You’ll pay more than just court costs if you are convicted of a DUI.

What Are the Real Costs of a California DUI Conviction?

California imposes a range of penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs (DUI). The exact consequences will depend on the facts of the case. A first-time DUI will generally lead to a lower level of consequences (such as probation instead of jail time), while a third or greater DUI — or one involving other factors, like someone being seriously injured or killed — may lead to a lengthy period of incarceration in county jail or California state prison.

In addition, there are a range of fees, fines and penalties associated with a DUI conviction. As a DUI lawyer in Los Angeles, CA can explain, you may be on the hook for more than $2,200 if you are convicted of a DUI — without attorneys’ fees, added insurance costs, or other expenses. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) breaks down DUI costs this way:

  • Vehicle towing and storage: $187
  • Booking, fingerprinting, and jail costs: $156
  • Fines: a minimum of $468
  • Penalties: a minimum of $780
  • DUI victim fund: $100
  • Driver’s license reinstatement: $100
  • DUI classes: $500

This works out to $2,291. The number could be much higher if your fines and penalties are greater. Other items, such as the installation and maintenance of an ignition interlock device (IID) may add hundreds of dollars to your total.


Perhaps the biggest cost associated with a DUI conviction is increased insurance premiums. The CHP estimates that a person who is convicted of a California DUI will pay an extra $8,652 in insurance. That because you are required to get a certificate of insurance, known as a SR-22, in order to get your driver’s license back after it is suspended or revoked. The SR-22 certifies that a driver has auto liability insurance that meets California’s minimum standards. Generally, if you request a SR-22 certificate or your insurer otherwise learns about your DUI conviction, your insurance premiums will skyrocket. You will also lose any “good driver” discounts that you may have.

Because a DUI can be so expensive — costing you upwards of $10,000 — it is important to work with a DUI lawyer in Los Angeles, CA who can aggressively defend you against DUI charges. This may include negotiating a reduction in charges, fighting to have the charges dismissed entirely, or taking your case to trial to convince a jury that you are not guilty of the charges against you.

The Chambers Law Firm represents individuals who have been charged with California DUIs and related charges. We’ll work hard to help you get the best possible result — which may end up saving you thousands of dollars. Contact us today at 855-397-0210 or info@orangecountyduifirm.com to schedule a free initial consultation with a DUI lawyer in Los Angeles, CA.

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