Virtually every day the Sonoma County CHP issues a news release reporting its latest DUI arrests. This Friday, the county’s Avoid the 13 anti-DUI task force begins a two-week crackdown, including checkpoints. Last year, 3,073 DUI cases were filed in the county, court records show.

So what’s the cost if you get a DUI?

James Sansone, a Santa Rosa attorney who handles a variety of cases, including DUIs, offers some insight. While he notes every case is a bit different, he says generally for someone convicted of their first DUI the court-related costs break down this way:

–$2,000 to $3,000 is the average for attorney fees.

–$2,100 in court fees and costs. He said the standard plea deal with the county District Attorney’s Office is for a driver whose blood alcohol level was less than 0.15, whose driving wasn’t overly reckless and who caused no property damage or injury. The penalty also typically calls for two days in the county jail served through the work release program, attending a three-month DUI program and being placed on informal court probation for three years.

–The DMV will suspend your license for four months — a year if it’s not a first offense.

And then there are other costs:

–The biggest cost, your insurance will skyrocket. While the increase depends on the driver’s record, a local Allstate representative said a first-time offender in general could see his or her insurance premium double. And that’s not just a one-year hit. Over several years, the higher premium could add up to thousands of dollars.

–Towing of your car, paying for cabs or other ways to get around after your lose your license and the list goes on.

What’s the grand total? It varies by person, but it seems that for a first-time offense it’s around $10,000 or more.

For more information about how the DMV deals with DUIs, CLICK HERE.

To read what the state Vehicle Code says about DUIs, CLICK HERE.

To see statewide arrest stats and such, CLICK HERE.

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  1. K-dawg

    It should cost more than that. The state should also charge another fee, just as a penalty, to help with the budget deficit.

    While they’re at it, charge big fat fees for people driving with no/suspended licenses since they are knowingly breaking the law.

    August 18th, 2011 9:00 am

  2. John

    Don’t forget towing and storage if your car gets impounded. That can run $300-$500.

    August 18th, 2011 9:19 am

  3. Str8laced

    I’d say 5k for the first 15k for the second

    August 18th, 2011 9:49 am

  4. Bennett

    The average cost I’ve heard is about $15,000, probably more nowadays.

    Some judges won’t let you do the work release program, so it’s either extra $$$ or jail.

    Then there’s bail, if you don’t want to spend time in custody right after you’re arrested. If you work, you’re going to want this. Not sure how much it is.

    Moreover, now you have a mark on your criminal record! Have fun explaining it if/when you have a job interview. That potential loss, alone, is probably tremendous.

    August 18th, 2011 9:50 am

  5. f250jbh

    well for me(lake County 2010) ….. $1760 court fine (pay by the month 50.00) dmv 135.00 restricted license … Dropped colision on the car`s Ins actually went down !!! $286 for 6 months now , 3 month DUI school 526.00… NO attorney fees What a JOKE !! No car towing i got afriend ride to get the car and home !!Booked and released No Jail time !!!

    August 18th, 2011 10:27 am

  6. Marc T.

    The sad part is the are using the wet and reckless as a revenue, that means even if you are under the .o8 limit they can write you up and you do not have a DUI on your record but you have to pay the $10,000 the same as a DUI and they know it will cost you more to fight it by hiring a lawyer since you are under the Legal limit. I know people that had this problem.

    August 18th, 2011 11:31 am

  7. David

    Why even use a lawyer/attorney? What is that 2-3k going to get you?


    August 18th, 2011 11:44 am

  8. rat

    f250jbh has it right. its not as much as people make it out to be. Dont get a lawyer, they cant do S— for you if you were over .08.

    Marc T. your info is way off. 10grand is a worse case scenario ,on a 2nd or 3rd dui. They dont write fake tickets if your not impaired. I only know this stuff because i might have been involved in 1 or 3 of these situations

    August 18th, 2011 11:54 am

  9. Bennett

    A lawyer might be able to get your DUI down to a wet reckless. This can happen for a number of reasons, among other things, they know how to work with the judges. It could be something as simple as the judge’s impatience. IMO, it’s better to try than to just keel over.

    August 18th, 2011 12:22 pm

  10. steve

    You don`t need a Lawyer to rip you off, if you are over .08, They got you.Save your money. you don`t need cab fair, ask a friend, take a bus.

    August 18th, 2011 12:38 pm

  11. bill

    What this has become is one of the biggest rackets in modern history. Not only is it the incorrect approach to a major problem it is a powerful reason to change the way we get around. Now that driverless cars are a reality it is only a matter of time before this senseless approach to a medical issue is transformed and recognized for what it really is. Putting sick people in jail and making money from it is immoral and those who profit from it will be reckoned with eventually.

    August 18th, 2011 1:01 pm

  12. Jim

    I think the penalty should be actually punitive. $10,000 is nothing to most when faced over a few months. I know, it is a lot but it isn’t horrendous. I say the fines should be $20,000. The attorney’s fee should be something different. Second offense…game over. I say PRISON for a year minimum for the second offense.

    The State keeps making the fine for holding a cell phone higher and higher when the FACTS are that holding the phone isn’t a problem. Rather, it is talking on the phone (look up the multiple studies). Why make DUI so easy. MANDATORY PRISON.

    August 18th, 2011 1:12 pm

  13. Bennett

    Jim, do you have even a remote clue what that would do to our already crowded prisons, much less our state budget?

    August 18th, 2011 1:27 pm

  14. Dave T

    I am in favor of all monetary penalties, but Jim let’s be a bit reasonable. The fact that the vehicle code currently lists the acutal bac violation as a misdemeaner is correct. It becomes a felony with injury or property damage, which also makes sense. Let me put this another way. If you are going 85 in a 65 zone, it is a misdemeaner, you are driving recklessly. Just being pulled over brings about a ticket. If you are doing the same speed and hit someone, now you can have a felony for damage and injury. DUI is not easy. It is serious business. It is not just the cost, it the time it takes to deal with it, and for many, the psychological issues it causes. There are always going to be those that never learn, regardless of the penalties imposed. But as it stands, the penalties are stringent and based on the current legal system, fit the crime.

    August 18th, 2011 1:52 pm

  15. f250jbh

    @ JIM… Really 20,000 start saving Jim and let me know Khow you are doing and where its comming from >>>I know, it is a lot but it isn’t horrendous. I say the fines should be $20,000. <<< would you stand uP to paying 5,00 for a NO DRIVER LICENSE in possession !!! Get real !!

    August 18th, 2011 3:42 pm

  16. Peter

    There is also help online at http://FightDUIcharges.com for people facing a DUI and how to pay their fees. It’s worth checking out since the service is free and most people do need assistance when paying for the unexpected costs of fighting a DUI case.

    February 24th, 2013 12:39 am

  17. xibajal

    the hidden costs involve the insurance rate increases. if you’re not careful, ur gonna have to pay $500/month on insurance.

    to offset this, u gotta go with an insurance company that won’t check ur driving record. 4autoinsurancequote is one i know of that doesn’t check. there are probably some more out there too if you google.

    January 6th, 2014 8:20 pm

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