In our state, the fines and fees associated with a DUI charge can become very expensive.Click To Tweet
Contrary to popular belief, hiring a DUI defense attorney is not the highest expense associated with a drunk driving arrest. The cost of conviction includes not only the criminal fines—which increased nationwide in 2015—but also administrative fees, and raised insurance rates.
The Real Cost of a DUI Conviction
Assuming no property damage or injuries occurred, the base criminal fine for your first DUI conviction ranges from $600-$1,000 dollars. But as mentioned above, this is far from the only cost associated with a DUI. Much of the expense comes from things most people don’t even consider.
Pre-trial Costs. In Colorado, if you are arrested for driving under the influence, your car may be impounded. You will have to pay the impound fee to recover your vehicle, usually somewhere in the vicinity of $350 dollars.
If you are released on a bail bond, the typical fee you will pay is somewhere between $150-$500 dollars. This is not your bail money, but rather the fee you pay to the bondsperson for posting your bond. So unlike bail, it will not be returned to you at any point.
Sometimes, you are placed on monitored sobriety as a condition of your bond, and you must pay for the cost of these random urinalysis tests when ordered by the court.
And remember, all of these costs happen before your trial, so you will have to pay them regardless of whether you are convicted or not.
Evaluation and Treatment. As mentioned before, the criminal fine for a first DUI in Colorado is $600-$1000 (or $200-$500 for a first time DWAI). After conviction, your monthly probationary supervision fee is usually $50.
You will also be required to take Alcohol Education classes. The cost of these classes can vary widely depending on your sentence and location. The cost can be between $25 and $35 per class, with some court-ordered education and treatment programs as long as nine months.
Community Service and Work Release. For a DUI, a conviction requires you to complete between 48 and 96 hours of community service. You will often pay a fee for supervision during your community service, but of course that doesn’t cover other associated costs such as lost work time, transportation to and from the location where the service is performed, and so on.
Many offenders participate in a work release program instead of serving straight jail time, when doing so is authorized by the court. The jail will charge you significant fees for the privilege of your nightly stays there during your work release sentence.
Probation. Probation sentences also come with a high cost. You will have to pay a “probation supervision fee.” – this fee will depend on how long of a term of probation you are to serve.
License Reinstatement/Renewal. Of course, there is also the cost of a revoked license. After your first DUI conviction, your license will be suspended for a period of nine months. To reinstate and renew your license, you will have to pay a $95 dollars reinstatement fee to the DMV.
IID. If you apply for an ignition interlock device (IID) in order to retain limited driving privileges, there are costs associated with this device as well. The cost of the IID depends on how long you are required to use it. There are both installation and monthly fees associated with the device.
The IID is a “rental,” and thus you will have to pay a regular fee in order to keep using your vehicle in addition to the cost of installing the device. The cost of installation and rental will be somewhere between $480 and $1,460 dollars.
Insurance Costs. The highest cost will not come from the state, however. For the majority of individuals convicted of a DUI, the spike in their insurance rate will ultimately be the most expensive consequence of their DUI.
Since your insurance company premium factors in your driving record, these rates will go up for a DUI conviction.
When you reinstate your license after suspension, Colorado law also requires you to purchase SR-22 insurance.
This is because you have now been labeled a “high risk driver” due to your conviction. The amount your insurance premium will increase will vary depending on the individual involved, but most people convicted of a DUI see their insurance cost rise by $500-$1,000 per year. Typically, this goes on for a few years following the conviction.
The real cost of a Colorado DUI conviction can easy total over $10,000. But an experienced DUI defense attorney can help you fight these charges, earning you a more favorable outcome for your case.
About the Author:
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012” and “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012 and 2013 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. She has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.