How Much Does A DUI Actually Cost?

When all is said and done, the average cost of a DUI is close to $10,000. But the financial cost may only be the tip of the iceberg, and the total cost of your own DUI may be as high as $25,000. As if you needed another reason to drive sober!


If you would like to be released after your arrest, you’ll have to pay bail. The cost of bail is set by a judge and can be anywhere between $150 and $2,500. If it’s your first DUI, you’re less likely to get serious bail, while repeat offenders are more likely. If you’re not able to pay bail and you have to turn to a bonding company, the total cost can be quickly raised to the higher end of that scale even for a first time offender.


After you’re arrested, your car will need to be towed. A quick tow will usually only cost you around $100, but this number can vary drastically by region. For example, the city of Chicago charges offenders more than $1,000 for the first day of towed vehicle storage, and $50 each day after. If you’re unable to retrieve your car in one month, your car is auctioned by the city. And if the value of your vehicle does not cover the cost of having your car impounded, the city will send you a bill for the rest.


When most people think about the cost of a DUI, they think about rising insurance premiums. Just one DUI can have a serious effect on your rates for three to five years, depending on how far back the insurance company looks into your record. Many insurance companies will drop your coverage after you’re arrested, regardless of the outcome of your legal proceedings. If you’re able to keep your insurance, your rates may be more than doubled. The state of Illinois has estimated that these rate increases add up to around $1,500/year for each year that the DUI is considered.

Even after enduring three to five years of inflated insurance costs, you may have to spend another five years as an incident-free driver in order to return to your previous insurance rates. That means the low premiums you once enjoyed could be as far as eight years away from your DUI.


Anyone convicted of a DUI will need SR-22 vehicle liability documentation. The SR-22 informs the DMV your driving privileges can be returned to you, and the form may be required for as many as three years following your incident. The total cost of all license reinstatement fees is between $100 and $250.

Legal Fees

Having a lawyer put in a guilty plea for you might be as cheap as $250. But if you’re going to try and contest the charge, legal fees range between $2,000 and $25,000 depending on the circumstances of your case. A serious defense by an experience attorney may involve hiring an investigator or the need for expert witnesses, both which can add thousands to your legal costs.

Job Prospects

Having been convicted of a DUI is an excellent way to scare away employers. And because a DUI remains on your record for so long, in the state of Washington as long as 15 years, a DUI may have serious long-term economic ramifications as well. The $10,000 or so that a DUI costs may truly be on the tip of the iceberg should you make the mistake of driving under the influence.

Originally posted 2016-04-02 14:21:28.