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How Does Getting a DUI Impact My California Car Insurance?Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol is a treacherous but common mistake that is made throughout the U.S. on a daily basis. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 10,511 deaths from drunk driving accidents in 2018. Getting behind the wheel while intoxicated is rarely intentional — many people may not recognize how easy it is to surpass the 0.08 blood alcohol concentration limit. Typically, anyone who consumes one standard drink per hour remains under this 0.08 line, but it can be easy to get carried away without even realizing it. Being charged with a DUI has serious consequences, many of which can impact your finances and your future.

Financing My Security

As is the case in most states, California requires all car owners to have proof of insurance of their vehicle. This shows that they are able to provide financial assistance for any injuries or damages that may have been caused by their driving. California’s average auto insurance rate is slightly higher than the national average — around $1,868 as compared to the national average of $1,548. However, this marginal difference increases significantly upon a DUI conviction. On average, insurance rates nationally increase by 65 percent if convicted of a DUI charge. In California, this insurance price rises to $4,937, a 164 percent increase from the state’s average rate. DUI charges typically result in the highest rate increase of any driving charge.

Other Consequences

The price of your car insurance will likely be the least of your worries if you are convicted of a DUI in California. For first offenders, their license will be immediately suspended for at least four months, an ignition interlocking device will be installed to the vehicle, and a $125 license reissue fee will be required. The guilty party can also face up to six months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. The driver is required to attend a DUI program and file an SR-22, labeling themselves as a high-risk insurance holder. This will affect their insurance rates, as described above, and make it difficult for them to find affordable insurance rates. Any subsequent DUI convictions have the same requirements with increased jail time and fines.

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DUI in California Can Cost Tens of Thousands of DollarsThere is a price to pay if you are convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Many people think of the possibility of jail time and the likely loss of their driving privileges, but there is also a monetary cost to a conviction or even being arrested. A DUI conviction in California costs between $10,000 and $15,000 on average, with the cost going higher depending on the severity of the charge and other circumstances. The cost includes fees that are directly related to your conviction and expenses that can be tied back to the conviction:

  1. Fines: Punishment for a DUI conviction includes a fine, which can be from $390 to $1,000. The fine for a DUI conviction involving an injury can go as high as $5,000.
  2. Court Fees: On top of the fine, the court will charge an administrative fee to help pay for its operating expenses. The exact amount will vary by court, but the fee can be more than $1,000.
  3. Victim Compensation Fee: Those who are convicted of DUI in California must pay a fee to the California Victim Compensation Fund, even if no one was injured during their incident.
  4. Legal Fees: The best way to prevent a DUI conviction and to avoid the related fees is to hire a criminal defense attorney. However, you will need to pay the attorney for their services.
  5. Vehicle Towing Fees: After you are arrested on suspicion of DUI, your vehicle will be towed and impounded at your expense. Paying to get your vehicle back will likely cost hundreds of dollars.
  6. Ignition Interlock Fees: The court may order you to install a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) on your vehicle as a condition for allowing you to drive. A BAIID costs drivers an average of $70 to $100 per month, including the initial installation fee and ongoing maintenance fees.
  7. Class Fees: Many people convicted of DUI must attend classes on the dangers of drunk driving, which can cost several hundred dollars.
  8. License Reinstatement Fee: Applying to reinstate your driver’s license after it has been suspended will cost $125.
  9. Insurance Increases: Your auto insurance provider will likely increase your rate because you will be viewed as a higher-risk client. The increase could cost thousands of dollars over several years until you are able to establish a record of safe driving.
  10. Lost Wages: Attending court for your DUI case will likely interfere with your work, causing you to miss time. If you are convicted of DUI, you may lose your job, especially if your job requires you to drive.

There are other potential costs that do not apply to every case but could be expensive, such as having to post bail or an accident victim filing a lawsuit against you.

Contact a Richmond, California, DUI Defense Attorney

The cost of a DUI case will go down considerably if you can prevent a conviction. Schedule a free consultation with a San Francisco DUI defense lawyer at Burglin Law Office, P.C., by calling 415-729-7300.

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