Originally published on Jun 21, 2018, last updated August 15, 2022
A DUI is not just a legal entanglement. After a DUI arrest, offenders often find themselves on the hook for a variety of financial penalties, as well as new financial obligations.
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. The cost includes financial penalties, as well as things like increased insurance costs, mandatory interlocks, and more.
We understand how a DUI can seriously impact your life. The process is often confusing, and expensive. We want to help you understand the costs of a DUI conviction, and share some money-saving tips that might help you. Please note,the costs and process varies by state, but Intoxalock is here to help. Our state specialists can provide any specific costs. Even though the cost of a DUI varies from state to state, a majority of DUI offenses will have similar processes.
This guide will cover all the various costs you will run into. This includes costs associated with bail, bond, and towing fees, as well as attorney costs and court-ordered fines.
After your court date, you will have a better idea of additional costs. Many offenders will need to install an ignition interlock device in order to regain driving privileges. Thus, they will be responsible for the installation and leasing costs for the device. Here’s a high-level look at the fees associated with each step of a drunk driving charge.
Bail and bonds
If you are arrested and processed for a drunk driving incident, you will have to pay a bail fee in order to be released. In most states, paying a bail fine is required before you are able to appear before the judge. Bondsmen are available in these situations and can provide loans if you cannot afford to pay bail.
Costs: $150–$2,500 in fees depending on where you live and your legal charges. Felony DUI charges command much higher bail amounts, upwards of $50,000 to $100,000 or more.
Save money on bond:
It’s possible you will not have to pay a bond fine if you are released on personal recognizance. This means that you are using your promise to appear in court as your bond. You are required to show up for your court date and not commit another offense while out on bond. This option may be available to first-time offenders with an otherwise clean record.
Towing and impoundment
If you don’t have a sober passenger who can drive your car home, it will be towed by law enforcement to an impound lot. You will be required to pay to get the car out of the lot. The price may vary depending on how far the car was towed, and how many days it was in the lot.
DUI defense attorney costs
The cost DUI attorneys charge will vary. When you are choosing an attorney, find out how they charge for their time before making your decision. There are several ways they might charge, such as hourly pricing, a retainer, or a flat fee. Finding out can help you budget appropriately
These fines are typically determined by statute. Most states outline the fees associated with various offenses, so you can find out how much you will be expected to pay. 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.
Costs: $1,000–$2,000 for first offenders in most states
Save money on an attorney:
You may be eligible to request a court-appointed attorney if you are not able to afford representation. The court-appointed attorney will provide representation at no cost if you meet criteria. Eligibility for a court-appointed attorney 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 as a certificate of insurance. It proves that the driver has the appropriate amount of liability coverage required by the state, and is often provided to the state’s monitoring authority in order to regain driving privileges. Not only will you be required to obtain an SR-22, 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. Be prepared to pay a premium for coverage.
Alcohol treatment & substance abuse evaluations
Some states may require you to complete alcohol or substance abuse treatment or evaluations.If required, you will likely be covering the cost yourself. You may need to attend classes, or undergo a substance abuse evaluation. These evaluations can be used in court to help your case.
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. There are also online options in some states, which would allow you to save both money and commuting time.
Restricted license application
After a DUI conviction, your driver’s license will be suspended. You may be able to apply for a restricted driver’s license to regain your driving privileges, depending on your state.
Ignition interlock device
Ignition interlock devices are often required as a condition of getting your driver’s license back or obtaining a restricted driver’s license. An ignition interlock device requires the driver to test their breath alcohol content and pass before they can start the car. 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–$120 installation; $60–$125 monthly lease, learn more about IID costs.
Save money on an 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.