Driving under the influence (DUI) is one of the most common criminal offenses in San Diego and the surrounding areas, but that doesn’t mean being convicted of DUI isn’t costly. In fact, drunk driving is one of the most expensive misdemeanor crimes you can be charged with in San Diego, with a single offense costing upwards of $27,000 when the criminal fines, administrative fees and other DUI costs are all tallied together. And in addition to the financial cost of a DUI, there are the personal and professional costs of a DUI to consider as well. If you or a loved one has been charged with DUI in San Diego or elsewhere in Southern California, your future, your freedom and your finances are at risk. Contact our knowledgeable DUI defense attorneys at Sevens Legal, APC as soon as possible to discuss how best to defend yourself against these charges.
Knowledgeable San Diego DUI Lawyers
Drunk driving can be an extremely costly criminal offense and it is common for someone arrested for drunk driving to consider the exorbitant costs they face and look for ways to save money. And one of the most common mistakes DUI defendants make when they want to save money is hiring a novice attorney to represent their case. This could potentially save you some money upfront, but an inexperienced attorney can actually end up doing more harm than good in terms of defending you against your DUI charges, which could end up costing you more in the long run. An experienced, trial-tested DUI defense attorney will have a clear understanding of DUI laws and how they apply to your case, and may be the only thing standing between you and a jail sentence.
No two DUI arrests are the same, and the actual costs associated with drunk driving can vary on a case-by-case basis, depending on the specific facts of the DUI, the defendant’s criminal history and even the judge assigned to the case, which is where our DUI defense attorneys come in. Our competent defense lawyers have years of experience defending clients against DUI charges in San Diego and the surrounding areas, and we have the skill and training necessary to mount a strong defense in your case and help you avoid some or all of the financial, personal and professional costs of a DUI. When it comes to defending your rights and safeguarding your future, there is no substitute for experience and professionalism, and that is what we offer at Sevens Legal.
DUI Costs in San Diego
Because DUI offenses are fairly common, many people who haven’t faced DUI charges themselves are under the impression that if you are stopped for drunk driving in San Diego, you can just write a check to the court and go on with your life. Unfortunately, that is not the case. The financial consequences of drunk driving can be extremely costly, even for first-time offenses, and many DUI offenders find themselves struggling under the financial burden of a DUI. In fact, when all is said and done, you could end up paying tens of thousands of dollars in fines, legal fees and other costs associated with your DUI, which may include insurance premium increases, income loss due to jail time and other devastating financial consequences. And with a DUI conviction on your record, you could also suffer significant personal and professional consequences that can follow you for years to come.
Financial Costs of a DUI
The state of California has taken a tough stance on drunk driving and DUI offenders are prosecuted and punished harshly in San Diego, even for first-time offenses. The actual financial impact of a DUI on you and your family can vary a great deal depending on certain details, such as your criminal history and the specific circumstances of the case, including whether the DUI caused any property damage or injury to a third party. All things considered, if you are convicted of DUI in San Diego, you could end up paying between $13,000 and $27,000 for a single offense. The following are some of the potential expenses associated with a San Diego DUI:
- Criminal Fines – A DUI conviction in San Diego typically results in a criminal fine of up to $1,000, though the fine may be higher for repeat offenders or DUIs involving certain aggravating factors. Because DUIs are “priorable” offenses in San Diego, the criminal penalties associated with drunk driving increase with each subsequent offense occurring during a ten-year period.
- Administrative Fees – Not only do you face hefty fines ordered by the judge in your criminal case, you may also incur significant administrative costs associated with booking and fingerprinting, vehicle towing and impoundment fees, jail time, probation supervision and posting bail, as well as license reinstatement and chemical testing fees. Many people never even consider these administrative fees when calculating the cost of their DUI, and they may seem like relatively minor expenses, but they can add up to a great deal of money.
- Vehicle and Insurance Costs – As a result of your DUI, your car insurance premium could double or more, and if you are involved in a DUI accident that damages your car, you can add the cost of getting the car fixed to the long list of fees and costs associated with DUI. All DUI offenses in San Diego come with an administrative driver’s license suspension, which could last anywhere from four months to several years, in addition to any license suspension term ordered by the court, and you will have to pay a fee to get your license reinstated. If your license is suspended, you may also be forced to find alternate transportation for getting to and from work or school, which can add an additional cost.
- Treatment Costs – If your criminal sentence includes mandatory participation in DUI school, a drug treatment program or drug diversion program, these are all expenses you would be responsible for paying.
- Restitution Payments – If your DUI resulted in injury or death to another person, you could be ordered to pay restitution to the victim or his or her family.
- Installation of an IID – More and more often, DUI offenders in San Diego are being required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in their vehicle, which is not cheap. IIDs can cost between $500 and $1,500 to install, and the devices must be recalibrated every 30-60 days, which is another fee you would be responsible for paying.
- Job loss – If you lose your job as a result of your DUI or you are forced to take days off work to attend court, you and your family could suffer a devastating loss of income that further exaggerates the financial cost of a DUI.
- Attorney Fees – If you hire a DUI defense attorney to represent your case, you could end up paying an exorbitant amount of money in attorney fees and costs, depending on what firm you decide to hire. At Sevens Legal, we pride ourselves on offering experienced legal representation at an affordable price, and we also offer potential clients a free consultation and case evaluation, which means you can discuss your case with a knowledgeable DUI defense attorney with no obligation to hire our firm.
Personal Costs of a DUI
Being convicted of DUI can be embarrassing and distressing, and drunk driving convictions typically carry a negative stigma that can haunt you for years to come, even after you have satisfied your sentencing requirements. In some cases, just being arrested for DUI can ruin your reputation and damage your relationships with family and friends, even if you aren’t actually convicted of the crime or found guilty of any wrongdoing. Additionally, in certain cases, a DUI conviction can result in adverse immigration consequences for non-citizens. For example, if you are not a citizen of the United States and you are convicted of DUI drugs, DUI with a child in the vehicle, felony DUI or multiple DUI offenses, you could face such adverse immigration consequences as deportation, denied reentry into the United States or denied citizenship.
Professional Costs of a DUI
If you hold a professional license as a doctor, nurse, lawyer, airline pilot or stockbroker, your license could be revoked as a result of your San Diego DUI. Additionally, if you are convicted of DUI, the conviction will show up on your criminal record, visible to any potential employer who performs a background check on you. The state of California has a “ban the box” law in effect, which prohibits employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal history before a conditional offer of employment has been made, but a DUI can still affect your ability to obtain future employment.
If you were convicted of misdemeanor DUI and you have completed probation for the offense, you could qualify to have the DUI expunged from your record, which means the judge would set aside your guilty verdict (or guilty plea) and the case would be dismissed. An expungement can help release you from many of the negative effects of a DUI conviction, including the adverse employment consequences mentioned above. However, even expunged DUIs count as prior offenses under the law, and can therefore be used to enhance the penalties associated with a subsequent DUI conviction occurring within ten years of the expunged DUI.
DUI Defense in San Diego
A DUI arrest in San Diego may seem like the end of the world, especially when you take into consideration the financial, personal and professional costs associated with DUI offenses. However, just because you have been arrested for DUI does not mean you will automatically be convicted of the crime, sent to jail and fined tens of thousands of dollars. Just like in any criminal case, you are legally presumed innocent unless proven guilty in your DUI case, and the prosecution bears the burden of proving the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If your DUI defense attorney can call on witnesses and/or present evidence that challenges the prosecution’s case and raises doubt in the minds of the jurors as to the likelihood of your guilt, you may be able to avoid a DUI conviction and the exorbitant costs that come with it. Any time you are facing DUI charges in San Diego, your best chance of getting acquitted is having an experienced and aggressive DUI defense attorney in your corner.
How We Can Help
As you can see, the costs associated with a San Diego DUI extend far beyond the $1,000 criminal fine typically attached to a drunk driving conviction, which is why hiring the right DUI defense attorney to represent your case is critical. At Sevens Legal, our defense lawyers have extensive experience protecting the rights of individuals arrested for all manner of DUI offenses, including misdemeanor DUI, felony DUI, DUI drugs, DUI with injury and out-of-state DUIs, and we will do everything in our power to help you get the best possible outcome in your case, whether that means getting the charges dropped, securing a reduction in charges, or minimizing the consequences of a DUI conviction. By contacting a DUI defense attorney as soon after your DUI arrest as possible, you can significantly improve your chances of getting a favorable result in your case and avoiding the costly financial, personal and professional ramifications of a DUI conviction.
Consult Our San Diego DUI Lawyers Today
After being arrested for DUI, you may think that you are safe from any significant DUI fees and costs so long as you can avoid a conviction. However, you don’t even have to be convicted of the crime to start racking up fees associated with your DUI. The moment you are arrested for drunk driving in San Diego, your driver’s license will be suspended by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), pending the outcome of your administrative DUI hearing, and the expenses will begin piling up from there. For more information about the costs of a DUI in San Diego or the surrounding areas, or to find a knowledgeable DUI defense attorney to represent your case, contact Sevens Legal today. Our seasoned legal team understands how devastating a DUI conviction would be for you and your family, and we can help you build a credible defense in your San Diego DUI case.