In the state of California, a DUI charge could be an expensive expenditure for any individual. One reason is that it attracts other charges and requirements which also have different expenses associated with them. Additionally, it involves driving which has several costs associated with it as well.  These types of cases are rarely hopeless, they are characterized with many errors from the beginning. Therefore, some DUI defense attorneys will have the ability to capitalize on these issues. If you are facing any DUI charges, our DUI defense attorneys have the experienced background to handle your case. With the many years of expertise in the DUI charges, we have developed legal know-how to handle and defend our clients in DUI court cases. 

What Constitutes a DUI in California?

The law in California is very serious when it comes to driving under the influence. It forbids all the motorists who are driving to have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent (%) or higher. The law is different in certain situations for certain drivers. For commercial drivers to get arrested the BAC should be 0.04% or more. For the ages of 21 and below, the regulation makes it even tougher for the driver, since the required percentage to get an arrest is 0.01% or more. Additionally, proof of driving is required for any individual to get a DUI conviction, even if you are actual physical control.

Understanding a DUI Arrest

Understanding your DUI arrest is a key factor to consider since DUI involves many crimes. Many of the DUI arrests start with either a traffic stop or a checkpoint. The officer of the law will refer you to perform a couple of field tests, after which the cop will ask you to blow twice into a Breathalyzer. With the given conditions, you will either pass or fail. The results of failing the test will constitute you being arrested and taken to the police station, jail or hospital, where you will be required to take a blood or breath test. The penalties of not taking the drug test will result in tougher DUI penalties with a one (1) year suspension of your driver’s license.

Note clearly, for any misdemeanor DUI arrest the police will release you within a few hours of the arrest and booking. When you get released, the officer will hand you two documents, a citation that reflects that you will appear in court and a temporary license, which is pink in color. For a felony DUI, it is quite the opposite, the possibility of posting bail is usually high for you to get released. The officer will post your license to the DMV if you are a California resident. Moreover, if you are from another state and you get a DUI arrest in the California state, then the officer has no right to take your physical license.

What are The Different Types of DUI?

Under the California vehicle code, 23153 VC is where the law defines the crime of DUI. It describes the offense as any driver who is under the influence of either drugs or alcohol and their blood alcohol levels are above 0.08% and 0.01% for minors. This type of case will be categorized as a misdemeanor; that is if it did not involve any aggravating factors. If you were involved in any aggravating factor such as death, the situation changes to a felony.

The felony charge will range from DUI causing injury, vehicular manslaughter, gross vehicular manslaughter, and California felony DUI. Regardless of the case you are facing, you should inform your DUI Defense Attorney immediately. This is to enable them to build a better defense on the case. The evidence collection will consist of, looking at the site of the accident, reanalyzing your blood samples, having to examine the maintenance history of the breathalyzers, attending subpoena while cross-checking the police officers’ hearings at the DMV and reconstructing the incident to find any complications and concerns that will lead you to an effective DUI defense. 

Because of the varying factors constituting your DUI charges, the Cost associated with the various charges may differ.  Below we will give you a synopsis of the costs pertaining to a DUI without aggravating factors.

How Much Does a DUI in California Cost?

The penalties as stated above are very hefty, considering that a misdemeanor is a simple crime. The legal fines that will be associated with your case could be simple but the expenses could be costly. Take an example of one single DUI charge with different crimes and different fines, including;

  • Fines you are ordered to pay by the judge,
  • the administrative costs,
  • injuries you caused to the casualties,
  • impounded vehicle costs and
  • the programs you must attend.

Under 23152(a) VC and 23152(b) VC the penalties for a simple DUI include:

Legal fees: The fines for any first, second and third time DUI convict the estimated minimum cost will range between three hundred and ninety dollars ($390) to one thousand dollars ($1000). The judge might also add a penalty assessment raising the bill to around one thousand seven hundred and fifty dollars ($1750) and sometimes even up to several thousand dollars. According to our findings, a first-time DUI offense minus any injuries or death could amount to the staggering sum of fifteen thousand, one hundred and five dollars ($15,105).

The shown costs below try to explain why DUI costs are expensive in California. They mostly entail the total cost of a first-time DUI offender. Here are the numbers in most of the California area:

Minimum fine                                

 $390 (Three hundred and ninety dollars)

Court fines by the judge (Reliant on region)

 $1245 (One thousand, two hundred and forty-five dollars)

Booking and fingerprint                               

 $170 (One hundred and seventy dollars)

Towing and impound fee of the vehicle   

 $350 (Three hundred and fifty dollars)

The victim restitution fund                    

 $140 (One hundred and forty dollars)

DUI school for three (3) months               

 $575 (Five hundred and seventy-five dollars)

The DMV license fees                                  

$125 (One hundred and twenty-five dollars)

Insurance increase                                       

$10000 (Ten thousand dollars in the span of 10 years)

Bail cost                                                         

 $2500 (Two thousand, five hundred dollars)

Total Cost                                                       

$15105 (Fifteen thousand, one hundred and five dollars)

Some of the costs listed above will vary depending on the circumstances surrounding your case. This will include the location where your arrest took place. Generally, the total sum provided above is what you should expect to pay if you are convicted of DUI charges. 

Interpreting the Figures 

Sometimes, it might prove hard to understand the costs of a DUI since most involve a lot of legal jargon. You, however, will need to understand that there are several costs that add to the total amount of a first time DUI offense. Below is a simplification for each of the costs. 

  • Legal Fees as Ordered by The Court: If a California court finds you guilty of a DUI charge, you should expect to pay as much as one thousand, two hundred and forty-five dollars ($1,245) as court fees. The charge is not as high if you are found not guilty. 
  • Attorney’s Payments: Finding a good lawyer to represent you in court might give you an upper hand. They, however, do not come easy and you could expect to part with anywhere between three thousand ($3,000) and five thousand ($5,000) dollars. If you choose to use a public defender, expect their costs to be lower. 
  • Bond: Depending on the circumstances leading to your arrest, you might have the opportunity to post your bail and get out of jail. The total sum to be paid again will vary on several factors. You might spend as little as one hundred and fifty dollars ($150), to as much as two thousand, five hundred dollars ($2,500). 
  • Vehicle Insurance Increases: If you ever get yourself a DUI, there is a very high chance that your vehicle insurance provider will bump up your charges. On average, your car insurance could go up by eight hundred dollars ($800) yearly. Some insurance companies could hike your price to a thousand dollars ($1,000) every year. 
  • Substance Misuse and Traffic School Classes: You will be required to enroll and attend substance abuse and traffic school classes if you want your drivers' license reinstated. Such courses on average will last about three months (3). In total, the might end up costing you up to five hundred and seventy-five dollars ($575). 
  • Ignition Interlock Device (IID): In regards to your jurisdiction, some parts of California will require you to install an ignition interlock device in your car. Nine times out of ten, you will need to pay for both the installation and maintenance of the device out of your own pocket. These devices on average will have you part with not less that one hundred and seventy dollars ($170). 
  • Vehicle Hauling and Impounding fee: In the event that you are arrested for driving under the influence, your vehicle will be towed to an impound lot. You will be expected to pay for all the services provided, which total to a sum of three hundred and fifty dollars ($350). 
  • Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Payments: The DMV will also expect you to pay for your license reinstatement if suspended on a DUI charge. You might have to pay anywhere from one hundred and twenty-five dollars ($125) up to two hundred and sixty dollars ($260). 

Additional DUI Costs

Jail: since it is a misdemeanor, you will face between two (2) days to six (6) months in county jail as a first-time offender. There is also a possibility the judge will order probation, where you do not have to face any mandatory jail time. Occasionally, most of the judges will be more lenient on first-time offenders. For a second DUI, jail time will be between three (3) days to one year in county jail. Although, there are other ways to serve jail time through house arrest or jail work programs. The third offense will have you facing five (5) days to one (1) year in jail. 

License Suspension: For any first offender under the DUI, the individual will get six (6) months of license suspension and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will impose four (4) months of administrative suspension, that is if your blood alcohol concentration is between 0.08% or more. For a second time deferment will lead to two (2) years from the judge and twelve (12) from the DMV and for the final deferment will be three (3) years from the court and twelve months (12) from the DMV, if your BAC is 0.08% or more. With the three types of suspension, the offender can overlap, meaning the driver will not have to complete both separately.

Probation: For all three levels of DUI, offenders will normally get three (3) to five (5) years in terms of informal probation. The probation is set with various conditions that you must complete; they include, three (3) months DUI school for a first-time offender, eighteen (18) to thirty (30) months for a second DUI and for the third, the judge will give a strict thirty (30) month DUI school. If the offender had a BACs of 0.20% or more, they will have to sit for a nine-month program. 

IID: From 2019, most of the DUI arrestees will have the consent to apply for an IID restricted license. IID stands for ignition interlock device, a device that will detect the alcohol in the body and will allow you to start your vehicle after blowing into the device. The installation of the device is between seventy dollars ($70) to one hundred and twenty ($120) and a monthly fee of sixty ($60) dollars to eighty dollars ($80). For a first time DUI offense you might be ordered to use the device for up to 6 months, second DUI is one (1) year, the third conviction will be around two (2) years and the fourth or any subsequent conviction will be up to three (3) years. For this reason, you can easily figure out why it is expensive to get a DUI conviction on your record. 

What a Prosecutor Has to Prove for Any DUI Conviction?

Probable cause: for the officers who stopped you, they must give a number of probable reasons as for why they did it, was it a broken taillight or even an expired license tag? Either way, the officer had the probable cause of pulling you over. The police officer may have requested the driver to take a field sobriety test. The sobriety test would be taken if there were signs that the driver was indeed intoxicated, they include the odor of alcohol, slurred speech, among others.

Blood alcohol level: If the BAC tests of the individual were 0.08% of alcohol, then the prosecutor can prove that the individual was intoxicated. Clearly note that the accepted alcohol level is not mentioned under the Vehicle codes, meaning that even if you had a lower BAC, you might also get charged with a DUI

Driving: The prosecutor has to prove that you were driving the vehicle. There some basic elements that must align in this situation: where were the keys to the vehicle? Was the driver involved sitting in the driver’s position?  Were there any other individuals or how warm was the engine? The prosecutor has to bring this type of evidence to light, for you to be found guilty.


There are several ways the prosecutor can reveal this to the court, most of them will deal with the field sobriety tests. That isn’t enough to get a conviction, so the prosecutor has to include a Breathalyzer test, urine test or the results from your blood work. In most of the cases, the authorities will need to get a warrant to take our blood or urine sample.

Legal Defense for California DUI

The symptoms were not signs of DUI:  the officer who made the arrest will testify that indeed you were under the influence and you had various signs proving his fact, they might include red watery eyes, slurred speech, among others. But an experienced DUI defense attorney will defend against your charges by addressing the “innocent explanations” which caused those signs such as fatigue, eye irritation or even allergies attacks.

Field Sobriety Tests are inaccurate: most of the prosecutor will heavily rely on this testament and use the evidence on your case. Relying on most verbal words such as "experts" or "performed poorly" on those tests, conclude that you were guilty of DUI. For an experienced legal attorney, they can explain how Field sobriety test affects both balance and coordination. Most of the compelling arguments are due to physical stability and certain conditions, they include nerves, flat feet, fatigue and among others

Conducting the observation period: For proper results, the officer has to observe the offender for fifteen minutes before committing to doing any DUI breath test. The 15-minute interval is under the California Code of regulation 1219.3. For most of the officers, they don't observe this regulation, instead, they do the paperwork or start setting up the Breathalyzer.  Showing the court that they didn't observe the proper conduct will introduce question the breath test results, but also the entire case.

Charges Related to California DUI

Boating under the influence (BUI) is a law set under the harbors and Navigation Code 655(b). The offense consists of any water-based vehicle being piloted by an individual, while under the influence of either illegal drugs, alcohol or a combination of both. The blood alcohol concentration under this law states it shouldn’t exceed 0.05 to 0.08 percent. For commercial boating the BAC shouldn’t be 0.04 percent or above, if you are found guilty you will be charged under code 655 BUI, 23152 VC or DUI or code 23153 

Find a Vista DUI Attorney Specializing in California DUI near Me

DUI charges are one of the most demanding and expensive offense you can be charged for. It could also tarnish a perfect reputation if you are found guilty. If you are arrested with a DUI charge, you will need to look for a well experienced DUI defense attorney.  At Vista DUI Attorney, we offer the best DUI defense attorneys who have practiced California law for many years and with more than enough knowledge to represent you in a DUI court hearing. We serve areas in Vista and North County, call 760-691-1540 today.