How Much Does a DUI Cost?
One of the most common questions that our experienced team of DUI defense attorneys is asked is, “How much is all of this going to cost?” The short answer is – it depends.
The DUI statute in Florida mandates a minimum penalty to be imposed by the court on if convicted of a DUI. The court may impose harsher penalties depending on the specifics of the case, going up to the maximum specified in the same statute.
Only the best DUI lawyer in Clearwater will be able to clear or reduce the charges for you in such cases. Read on for a detailed breakdown of the costs involved in being convicted of driving under the influence.
DUI Cost Breakdown in Florida
After an arrest, the booking deputy will set a bond based upon the Pinellas County Bond Schedule. This bond amount can vary from being released on your own recognizance or “ROR” (you do not need to post any money to get out of jail) to $10,000.00 or more if there are prior DUI convictions or serious injuries.
Court Fines and Costs
The fines and court costs associated with a DUI offense vary depending on a few circumstances. These include your prior record of DUI convictions, you breath or blood alcohol level, and whether or not there were any minors in the vehicle at the time of the offense. If convicted of a DUI offense, the fines and court costs can range from $1,000.00 up to $5,000.00.
There are multiple factors at play when it comes to attorney fees – whether you are a first-time offender, whether you want to take a plea or go to trial, how reputed an attorney you are seeking, etc. Consider a window of $2,500 – $10,000 in attorney fees, which may go up if you are a repeat offender or if there was an accident with injuries or death.
While showing up in court without an attorney is permissible, we would not recommend it. DUI charges are serious and complicated, but the best DUI attorneys in Clearwater can help defend your case in court.
Vehicle Towing and Storage fees
While you are getting arrested and taken to jail, your car is often towed away for storage in a secure facility. Depending on how far this storage facility is, expect to be charged anything between $50 to $200 for vehicle towing fees. Additionally, if the arrest was made by the St. Petersburg Police Department, a local ordinance in the City of St. Petersburg allows for an additional penalty of $500.00 to the city in order to secure the release of your vehicle.
Victim Impact Panel
In some cases, the court may order an individual accused of DUI to attend a Victim Impact Panel. These seminars, which may be available online, normally contain 3-4 DUI victims sharing their stories of being affected by a drunk driving accident. The aim is to educate the offender and to deter them from future instances of impaired driving. The offender may be charged around $100 for a Victim Impact Panel in a DUI case in Florida.
Insurance Cost Increase
Even a single DUI charge can increase your auto insurance by 2 to 3 times, resulting in an annual increase of far over a thousand dollars. Additionally, any discounts or insurance coverage you may have gathered over time will likely be forfeited. There have also been cases when existing insurance providers have dropped clients with DUI charges against them, in which case finding new coverage is both difficult and costly.
Probation and Monitoring Costs
The offender is required to pay probation costs on their own, which may cost anything between $55 to $3,300 in Florida, based on our experience. This includes regular alcohol/drug testing, which may cost a few hundred dollars, and using wearable monitors which cost $10 per day. Our top-rated DUI defense team will work with you to minimize these costs by completing court expectations in advance of ever appearing in front of a judge.
DUI Traffic School
If the authorities mandate, you may have to attend traffic school at your own cost. While traffic school charges may vary, the typical range is $325-$450. The costs for repeat offenders will be higher because they may have to undergo additional courses like a state-approved driver intervention program. In addition to the school, a corresponding alcohol evaluation is conducted. If ordered to do counseling, the costs generally range from $500-$1,000.
Driver’s License Reinstatement Fees
Florida’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) charges a penalty upon the suspension or restriction of a license, and further on its reinstatement after you meet the requirements threshold. This will cost you around $250.
Ignition Interlock Costs
Ignition interlock devices check your blood alcohol content before your vehicle starts. The court may mandate you to install such a device in your vehicle after a DUI charge, at your own expense. The equipment also needs to be maintained regularly. Therefore, along with a one-time charge of $150 for purchasing the equipment, you may add up another $150 per month for service.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me If I Get a DUI?
A DUI charge in Florida is not just challenging but also overwhelming if you consider the time and costs that you must bear. With a capable DUI defense lawyer by your side, you can delegate the management and documentation of your case to a dependable expert. Securing favourable outcomes such as a reduction to reckless driving can often alleviate many of the hidden costs in a DUI prosecution.
At Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan, P.A., we are regarded as one of Clearwater’s best DUI attorneys. Our professional legal team has successfully defended numerous clients in Florida, including in high-profile cases.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.
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