The Los Angeles DUI Law Blog

1st-Time DUI in California Costs $16K: Report

Drunken driving can cost you, in dollars and in lives. Especially in California.

Even a first-time DUI conviction in the Golden State can cost you as much as $15,649. That statistic comes from a recent report by the Automobile Club of Southern California, reports the Los Angeles Times.

For underage drinking and driving, costs can run even higher. Those cases came with an average price tag of about $22,492, according to AAA.

These price estimates come from calculating the state and local fines and many other costs associated with DUIs. Those include the legal cost of restitution (i.e., paying a victim to make him whole). In California, those costs are built-in to the criminal DUI process. But in general, the concept of restitution is a cost that often shows up through personal injury lawsuits.

Legal fees and insurance costs are also taken into account when calculating the fees. These are just legal fees for defending a driver against his DUI charge. AAA's research doesn't take into account the legal costs for other things, such as a DUI manslaughter trial or a civil trial stemming from a DUI charge.

Also not included is the cost of installing an ignition interlock device in a vehicle. This device is one which when installed, requires the driver to blow into it. If alcohol is detected in the driver's breath, the car's ignition locks. The cost of an ignition interlock device takes into account the installation as well as the monthly rental fee.

So the next time you order a drink, remember the potential cost of a DUI. It's just not worth it to drink and drive.

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