How much is a DUI in California

How much is a DUI in California?

The answer to this question could change the trajectory of your pocketbook and career in many ways. While the direct monetary losses can stack up quickly, there are also indirect impacts.

As with other convictions, a criminal history can haunt you for decades. But, here’s the good news: you don’t have to and shouldn’t try to resolve the complications that arise alone. Following the advice of competent legal counsel can help you mitigate the damage and move on with life. You can begin that effort today by following the professional advice we’ve gathered in this article.

1st and 2nd DUI Fines

The Department of Motor Vehicles provides some expectations for the fines that follow your first and second DUI. The judge that presides over your case can order a payment of $390 – $1,000 upon conviction. They also have the power to assign hefty penalty fees at their discretion.

There is a strong likelihood that you will have to pay impoundment costs for your vehicle. We will help you take this payment, in addition to the fines, legal fees, and court costs in another section.   

3rd and 4th DUI Fines

A third or fourth DUI ramps up the fines under California DUI laws. The base fines assigned by legislation are $2,500 to $3,000. You will also need to pay for a 30-month DUI program that you will need to finish as part of your sentence. Generally, this course will cost you another $3,000.

Penalty Assessments

The base fines in state law only tell part of the story. Each county in California has adopted legislation that defines their penalty assessments. For example, the County of Sacramento has a long list of these to consider. A few of the items they can include during sentencing include:

  • $10 for each $10 of the base fine for the State Trial Court Trust Fund and County General Fund
  • $10 for a DMV History Fee
  • $2 for each $10 of the base fine for the Maddy Emergency Medical Fund
  • $2 for each $10 of the base fine for the County Courthouse construction fund
  • $1 for each $10 of the base fine for DNA Identification Fund

Legal Fees

The cost of your legal fees after a DUI in California can stack up quickly. The amount of the fees ultimately depends on the attorney’s hourly rate. But, you can set some expectations based on a legal counselor’s specialty.

As a broad estimate, a California DUI attorney will typically charge $2,000 to $5,000 for a first DUI. However, a specialized lawyer will have a different rate in these cases. For instance, a California DUI Association Specialist with more experience might be a consistent $3,500 to $4,500.

The more complexities there are to your situation, the higher the cost of a DUI in California rises. Next, we will examine some examples of how this will work.  

How Much Is a DUI in California?

Narrowing down an educated guess after a DUI means putting the details we’ve included together. Since the penalty assessments vary by county, we will choose one location to remain consistent. To break down the costs based on where you live, you have to search through the local laws. For the purposes of this exercise, we will assume that you are at risk of a guilty verdict in Sacramento County.

1st and 2nd DUI

We will presume that the judge in your case sentences you to pay the middle range of the base fee. Your costs will depend on your circumstances, but the ballpark figure can be: 

  • Base fine: $700
  • Attorney Fees (estimated): $3,500
  • Impoundment Fee: $136.50
  • State Trial Court Trust Fund and County General Fund Fee: $700
  • County Courthouse Construction Fund: $140
  • County Jail Construction Fund: $175
  • County Automated Fingerprint Fund: $70
  • Maddy Emergency Medical Fund: $140
  • State Court Facilities Construction Fund: $210
  • DNA Identification Fund: $70
  • Second DNA Identification Fund: $280
  • State Court Facilities Construction Fund – Immediate and Critical Needs: $140
  • Night Court Assessment Fee: $1
  • DMV History Fee: $10
  • Criminal Surcharge: $140
  • Court Security Fee: $40
  • Criminal Conviction Assessment: $30
  • Emergency Air Medical Transportation Act Fee: $4
  • Parking Violations: $3
  • DMV Traffic Violator School Completion Certificate Fee: $3
  • Estimated Total: $6,492.50

3rd and 4th DUI

Once again, the estimates in this section will take a middle path. Assuming a moderate scenario, your third or fourth DUI in California may incur the following:

  • Base fine: $2,750
  • Attorney Fees (estimated): $5,000
  • Impoundment Fee: $136.50
  • State Trial Court Trust Fund and County General Fund Fee: $2,750
  • County Courthouse Construction Fund: $550
  • County Jail Construction Fund: $687.50
  • County Automated Fingerprint Fund: $137.50
  • Maddy Emergency Medical Fund: $550
  • State Court Facilities Construction Fund: $825
  • DNA Identification Fund: $275
  • Second DNA Identification Fund: $1,100
  • State Court Facilities Construction Fund – Immediate and Critical Needs: $825
  • Night Court Assessment Fee: $1
  • DMV History Fee: $10
  • Criminal Surcharge: $550
  • Court Security Fee: $40
  • Criminal Conviction Assessment: $30
  • Emergency Air Medical Transportation Act Fee: $4
  • Parking Violations: $3
  • DMV Traffic Violator School Completion Certificate Fee: $3
  • Estimated Total: $16,227.50

Work With an Experienced California DUI Lawyer  

By this point, you should feel more confident about the fundamental question, “How much is a DUI in California?” 

The costs can give anyone facing financial penalties for a DUI in California sweaty palms. The stress is painful, whether you have to deal with the consequences of your first or fourth conviction.

In the long run, hiring a California DUI attorney gives you an opportunity to negotiate a livable sentence. Once you get your life back on track, the fees and fines will feel more distant and less relevant.

We even have the ability to connect you with an attorney across state lines. Request help online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to talk to an experienced DUI lawyer near you!

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