Originally published on Jun 21, 2018, updated on Feb 6, 2020.
Though the exact dollar amount varies on a case-by-case basis, the average cost of a DUI is around $10,000. The main reason for this substantial price tag is to deter people from drinking while under the influence, which puts your life and others’ lives at risk.
At Intoxalock, we understand how confusing and expensive the DUI process can be, and we want to help guide you through the costs of a drunk driving conviction while providing money-savings tips that will help you along the way. Even though the cost of a DUI varies from state to state, a majority of DUI offenses will have similar processes.
Typically, the price of a drunk driving offense will first be met with costs associated around bail, bond and any towing fees. From there, DUI attorney costs and court-ordered fines will come into play.
After the court date, many DUI offenders will need to regain their driving privileges by installing an ignition interlock device, applying for a restricted driver’s license and attending DUI classes.
Here’s a high-level look at the fees associated with each step of a drunk driving charge.
Bail and bonds
After being arrested and processed for a drunk driving arrest, bail will be the first fine you pay. In most of the United States, you’ll have to pay the court to get out of jail before appearing before the judge. If you cannot afford bail, you can work with a bondsman.
Costs: $150–$2,500 in fees depending on where you live and your legal charges
Save money on bond:
Some courts allow DUI offenders to get out of jail without paying based on personal recognizance, or a PR bond. A PR bond is when a court releases you from jail based on your word that you will appear for court and will not commit any other offense while on bond. If you were arrested for a first DUI offense and have a clean record, you may be able to be released on a PR bond.
Towing and impoundment
When you’re arrested for a drunk driving offense and don’t have a sober passenger to drive your car, law enforcement will tow your car to an impoundment lot. The price will vary on how far the towing company had to drive to retrieve your car and how many days your car was in the impoundment lot.
DUI defense attorney costs
Before selecting a DUI attorney, you need to understand how the attorney will charge you for their time. DUI attorneys might charge for their services in several ways, including hourly rate pricing, a retainer, or a flat fee.
If you are convicted of a DUI offense, you will be required to pay court-ordered fines. These will vary by state and offense, and if you’re trying to regain your driving privileges, you may also have to pay other court fines.
Save money on an attorney:
If you’re unable to afford a private DUI attorney, a court-appointed attorney may be able to represent you at no additional cost. Typically, you will be able to request a court-appointed attorney during your arraignment (the first time you’re in front of the judge). Your eligibility is determined by your income, the severity of your case and your jurisdiction. Keep in mind you will likely pay higher court fees if you work with a court-appointed attorney.
SR-22 insurance & increase premiums
Most people believe SR-22 is a type of insurance. However, it’s a document you must have if you’ve been convicted of a DUI, caught driving without a license or had another serious driving violation. The SR-22 is often referred to a certificate of insurance. You will be required to obtain an SR-22, and your car insurance premiums will likely increase.
Save money on purchasing SR-22 coverage:
When filing for an SR-22, you may need to switch car insurance providers if your provider doesn’t cover high-risk drivers. While researching new insurance companies, make sure you get quotes so you’re not surprised by a high premium.
Alcohol treatment & substance abuse evaluations
In some states, you may be required to complete alcohol treatment and substance abuse evaluations after a DUI conviction. You might have to attend classes or be evaluated to verify whether or not you have a substance abuse problem, to assess the extent of the substance abuse or addiction and to provide information on treatment solutions.
Save money on alcohol treatment courses:
Some alcohol treatment classes will require you to attend multiple sessions. Consider attending the required DUI education near your home or work to save costs on transportation.
Restricted license application
After a DUI conviction, you license will be suspended, but depending on your charge and the state where you live, you may be eligible to apply for a restricted driver’s license to regain your driving privileges.
Ignition interlock device
If you have been granted restricted driving privileges after receiving a DUI, there is a strong likelihood that these privileges will be dependent on if you install an ignition interlock device. Many states now require you to install an IID after a first or repeat drunk driving offense. Charges associated with an IID include the installation fee and monthly lease.
Costs: $70–$100 installation; $60–$90 monthly lease, learn more about IID costs.
Save money on a ignition interlock:
Choose an IID provider that has never been decertified from a state. If your provider is decertified while you’re leasing one of their devices, you will have to pay multiple costs to disconnect your device and switch providers.
Intoxalock Can Help
Intoxalock understands that a drunk driving offense creates a significant financial burden for most people. We are committed to helping you through the process and making the ignition interlock requirement affordable and easy. Call us today at (833) 623-0200 to learn more about installing an IID and price saving options available in your state.
If you are required to install an ignition interlock device (IID), you can download and complete the IID Application Form to begin the ignition interlock installation process.