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How Much Does a First Offense DUI Cost?

Posted on April 1, 2021 in DUI,First DUI

Arizona lawmakers take driving under the influence (DUI) crimes very seriously. They deter drivers from operating under the influence of drugs and alcohol by penalizing these crimes harshly. After adding up the various expenses associated with a first offense DUI, this crime can cost thousands of dollars – more than most other types of first offenses.

Fines and Penalties

Based on surveys conducted throughout the U.S., the average first offense DUI costs around $6,500. This does not include lost income – the average of which was $4,400 – bringing the total cost to almost $11,000. This sum is broken down into many different pieces. One of the biggest sections is the court-ordered fine for a first offense DUI conviction in Arizona.

The amount of the fine imposed as a penalty depends on the class of the DUI conviction. With a first offense misdemeanor DUI, the fine is at least $1,480. For a felony DUI, however, the fine increases to $3,000 to $3,250 or more. A first offense DUI may be charged as a felony in Arizona if it has aggravating factors, such as serious bodily injuries or deaths. Mandatory fines can increase to over $4,250 for repeat offenders.

Fees and Surcharges

In addition to the fine, a driver convicted of DUI in Arizona also has to pay related fees and surcharges imposed by the courts and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). These can include court costs, filing fees and fees from the DMV. Additional fees can increase the price of a first offense DUI by a few hundred dollars or more.

Ignition Interlock Device

All DUI convictions in Arizona come with a mandatory requirement for one year of an ignition interlock device. This is a device installed in the driver’s vehicle that will prevent it from starting until the driver breathes alcohol-free breath into the device. Drivers are responsible for paying for the devices themselves, as well as paying for installation and monthly fees. The cost of this device is between $70 and $150 for installation alone.

SR-22 Insurance

Many drivers with DUIs on their records have to pay extra for high-risk auto insurance policies, known as SR-22 insurance. The premium for SR-22 insurance varies but can range from $200 to $800 or more per month, plus a filing fee. It is often a requirement for at least three years.

Civil Damages and Restitution

If the drunk driver causes an accident, the driver may also owe victims financial restitution to pay for their medical bills and property damage repairs. These costs are typically paid by the driver’s auto insurance provider but may be assessed out of pocket if the driver does not have insurance.

Attorney’s Fees and Bail Costs

It is important for a defendant facing DUI charges in Arizona to hire a defense attorney. A Scottsdale first offense DUI lawyer can mitigate the charges and build a defense strategy based on the unique elements of the case for the best possible outcome. The cost of an attorney averages around $2,000 for a DUI case, but can depend on the complexity of the lawsuit and how the law firm charges. It will cost less for a public defender.

If the DUI involves an arrest, the defendant may also have to post bail to wait for the first hearing at home rather than in jail. The amount it costs to post bail depends on the county and the specific situation. The average for a first offense DUI is about $5,000. As long as the defendant obeys the terms of his or her release, about 90 percent of the bail amount will be refunded.

Other Consequences of a DUI

Expensive fines are not the only possible penalty for a DUI conviction in Arizona. The driver may also face other repercussions, such as:

  • Jail time
  • Driver’s license suspension or revocation
  • Job loss
  • Mandatory drug or alcohol counseling
  • Traffic school
  • Community service
  • Probation or house arrest

Most of these requirements will also cost the defendant money in some form. For more information about how much you may have to pay for a first offense DUI and Scottsdale, AZ, contact a defense attorney.

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