Those who have recently been arrested on the suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol in San Mateo County may not know what is in store for them. Many people who are arrested for DUI--specifically first-offense DUI--do not realize the severity of the consequences for such a criminal charge.
Here in California, drunk driving convictions lead to serious penalties. Even for those who have clean records, a driver's license suspension, fines, increased insurance rates, probation and even jail time may be a part of a criminal sentence for a DUI. In fact, a recent Los Angeles Times report put the cost of a first-time drunk driving conviction at almost $16,000--not counting the lost wages that may be incurred if a defendant is jailed.
The $15,649 figure comes from the Automobile Club of Southern California, which says that a DUI costs drivers 29 percent more this year than in 2011. The group came up with this number by adding up fines, restitution, penalties, increased insurance costs and legal fees sustained by those convicted of DUI. Notably, it did not include the expenses that many people convicted of DUI must pay to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles.
The financial costs and the penalties increase substantially for those who face subsequent DUI charges.
California residents who face DUI charges may benefit from seeking legal guidance as soon as possible after the arrest. Although the penalties for a DUI can be harsh, there are often holes in DUI cases and defense attorneys can sometimes point to these in order to see to it that the charges are dropped or reduced. In other cases, skilled attorneys work to ensure the charges are resolved in the best way possible given the circumstances of the case.
Source: Los Angeles Times, "First drunk-driving conviction can cost nearly $16,000 in California," Jerry Hirsch, March 14, 2013
- Our Bay area law firm provides criminal defense counsel to people accused of drunk driving. For more information, please visit our DUI Defense page.