How Much Does a DUI Cost in California?

how much does a DUI cost in California

In the State of California, driving under the influence (DUI) is a very serious crime. Any DUI conviction is likely to be quite costly, but how much does a DUI cost in California? That’s what we’ll find out.

If you or a close relative have been charged with DUI, you need to be familiar with the potential fiscal implications. With all the fines and court fees, attorneys’ bills, and increased car insurance premiums, the costs related to a DUI can pile up very quickly.

In this article, we’ll look at the numerous costs involved in a DUI case in California and provide you with a comprehensive guide explaining exactly how much a DUI in the Golden State can cost you.

How Much Does a DUI Cost in California?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how much a DUI costs in California, that must be said.

The fine can vary for a number of reasons, such as where the offense took place and whether any other charges or penalties are added to that amount. However, most people’s bottom line still comes in between $5,000 and $15,000, or sometimes more.

If you’re in a legal bind, reach out to our seasoned California criminal defense attorney for expert guidance and support.

Average Cost of a DUI in Different California Cities

In different places, the cost of a DUI in California varies greatly. A few cities in California hit drunk drivers with substantially larger fines, plus fees, than others.

Now, let’s examine the average cost of a DUI in the main California cities:

  • Los Angeles: Los Angeles is known for more than its glitz and glamour; it is infamous for its high DUI costs as well. Anyone would understand the reason for the many DUIs committed in a city whose nightlife is all disorder and whose undeclared war on the auto rages on. The cost here can range from $7,000 to $20,000, including fines, legal fees, high insurance rates, and compulsory DUI education programs. It could be even more than that if there are aggravating factors like causing an accident or having a high blood alcohol concentration.
  • San Francisco: San Francisco’s historic Golden Gate Bridge and its varied neighborhoods lead both residents and tourists to visit there. But if you end up charged for a DUI in this city, get ready for a fat bill. Whether you are driving home after a night out with friends or too tipsy to take a taxi in San Francisco, the DUI fees are prohibitive. An average DUI conviction in San Francisco is $8,000–25,000, with costs including legal fees, fines, alcohol education programs, and higher insurance rates. The price rises even more in such cases: driving recklessly, carrying additional charges, or if there is any property damage involved.


Still, don’t face a DUI charge alone; consult with an experienced DUI lawyer who knows the ins and outs of California’s DUI laws.

Financial Costs of a DUI in California

Now, let’s go over the various financial penalties of a California DUI case. From bail to attorney’s fees, it’s important to know all the potential expenses that you may be hit with through the legal system.

cost of a DUI in California


Once you get arrested for DUI, you are probably going to come up against high costs; the first of these is bail. $500 to $10,000 is the bail set in your case.

If you’re short on money when faced with high bail, then you may have to turn to bail bonds, which take 10% of the bail money as their usual fee.

Fines and Court Costs

You can expect to pay hefty fines and court costs upon conviction. The exact amount varies depending on the nature of the offense and any previous DUI convictions.

In California, a first-time DUI offense can have you paying from $1,000 to $3,000 in fines. Subsequent convictions can lead to significantly higher penalties, some even exceeding $5,000.

Towing and Impound Fees

Following an arrest for DUI, if your car is impounded, you will have to foot the bill for towing and impound fees. These charges vary by the location and duration of the impound.

You could expect to pay, on average, anywhere between $200 and $400 for towing, plus $50 to $75 each day in impound fees.

License Reinstatement Fees

If you commit a DUI, chances are your driver’s license will be suspended. To restore your license after a DUI conviction, you have to pay the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The expense of reinstatement usually varies anywhere from $100 to $250.

Ignition Interlock Device (IID)

In some circumstances, individuals convicted of DUI may be required to install a device known as an ignition interlock device (IID) in their car. When the driver’s BAC (blood alcohol concentration) exceeds a preset limit, the IID functions like a breathalyzer, preventing the engine from starting.

At a minimum, paying the cost of an IID installation plus monthly maintenance fees varies from $75 to $200.

Insurance Premium Increases

Following a DUI conviction, you should expect to pay a much larger amount for your car insurance to get coverage.

Once a DUI conviction has been handed down, insurers look at offenders as riskier individuals and, as such, will hit your wallet hard. While the average rate hike varies based on individual case details, it typically ranges from 50% to double the original premium.

Attorney’s Fees

It is highly advisable to retain a lawyer when faced with a charge of DUI. With the help of an experienced DUI attorney, you can navigate the legal maze and improve your chance of a favorable outcome.

Attorney fees can vary widely depending on experience and the complexity of the case but typically range from $2,500 to $10,000 or more.

what is the average cost of a DUI in California

Other Potential DUI Penalties in California

Until now, we’ve covered the average cost of a DUI in California, but is there more to consider? Yes! In addition to the financial loss, a DUI conviction in California may entitle you to more.

There could be an alcohol program requirement as well as probation, penalty assessments, community service, or DUI school, depending on how severe your charge was and whether you have a record of prior arrests.

When legal troubles arise, feel free to contact our criminal defense lawyers; we’re here to help!

Remember What’s Important!

In short, DUI in California can be an expensive proposition. But a DUI isn’t just money; it’s also DUI life’s fees. Consider the uncertain expenses in advance, so it’s not a gamble you lose money on!

DUIs can have long-term consequences for one’s life as well. Before getting behind the wheel of a car after drinking, it is important to think twice, especially now that you know how much a DUI costs in California. And if you are accused of a DUI, seek legal advice from an experienced lawyer to protect your rights and lessen your financial loss.




Are You Required to Complete DUI School in California?

Yes, people convicted of a DUI in California are typically required to complete a DUI education program. The length and type of program may vary depending on the nature of the offense and whether it is a first-time or subsequent conviction.

What is The Highest DUI Can Cost?

The cost of a DUI in California can vary based on factors such as location, legal fees, fines, and other circumstances. In some cases, the total cost can exceed $20,000, particularly in cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco, where fines, legal fees, increased insurance rates, and additional penalties can accumulate.

How Much is Bail For a DUI in California?

The bail for a DUI in California can vary, but it is generally set anywhere from $500 to $10,000, contingent on the specific details of the case. If the individual facing charges has difficulty affording the bail, they might consider seeking assistance from a bail bondsman, who usually charges a fee amounting to 10% of the total bail.

Will My Insurance Rates Automatically Increase After a DUI?

Yes, insurance rates are likely to increase significantly after a DUI conviction. Insurers typically view individuals with a DUI as higher-risk drivers, leading to higher premiums. The exact amount of the increase can vary based on individual circumstances but may range from 50% up to double the original premium.

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