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The Hidden Costs of a DUI

Posted on March 31st, 2015 / By Carly Flaws

$20 will buy you a lot of things; a case of beer, a bottle of wine or 5 drinks during happy hour at the local bar, as some examples. All these things are also almost guaranteed to push you past the .08% legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC). If you choose to drive following consumption of these beverages, you put yourself at risk of getting charged with driving under the influence (DUI).

All of a sudden, that $20 alcohol bill that got you arrested seems like pocket change compared to the costs you are about to face. Let’s assume “best case scenario” for purposes of this analysis. This is your first offense, there are no minors involved and no injuries or damage accompany the charge. While we’re being conservative, it’s important to understand that subsequent offenses could double or even triple costs.

How much does a DUI cost?

The national average cost of a DUI is around $10,000, but it can vary greatly depending on where you live. Oftentimes, the total clocks in much higher. ( This map breaks down the average cost per state.

There are many things that contribute to the overall cost of a DUI, with the initial fines being just a small piece of the pie.

  • Fines – With minimum fines ranging from $500-$2,000, this is the charge that kick starts a long list of expenses.
  • Incarceration & Bail – As an example, incarceration in Arizona can cost $165 for the first day and $60 for every day following. ( Bail amounts vary, but for a first-time offense, can come in around $5,000. This amount increases quickly with multiple offenses.
  • Legal Fees – Attorney fees average around $2,500, but could be much more depending on the complexity of the case.
  • License Reissue Fee – This varies by state, but can cost up to $250.
  • Treatment Classes – If required, these could add up to $500 to your total.
  • Ignition Interlock Device (IID) – With pricing varying depending on the state you are in and the type of device required, these cost between $60-$120/month. After taking into consideration installation, de-installation and set-up fees, this recurring cost adds quite a bit of weight.
  • Insurance Costs – Long-term, this is the most expensive part of a DUI. You will be considered “high-risk” and might even require specific SR-22 insurance. You are generally considered “high-risk” for three years, which can total anywhere from $3,000-$4,500. (
  • Loss of Income – Some companies will refuse continued employment to someone with a DUI offense. Even if your job agrees to allow you to continue working for them, a loss of income during a period of incarceration is a reality.

While the tragedy of drunk driving is infamous, the costs and consequences associated with it isn’t as well known. If more people understood what all follows a DUI conviction, maybe they would think twice about testing their luck and getting behind the wheel.

Intoxalock is dedicated to helping prevent drunk driving through the use of ignition interlocks. If you or someone you know could benefit from an Intoxalock ignition interlock device, contact us to find out how we can help you to live and drive responsibly.


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Carly Flaws

Carly Flaws

Marketing Manager at Intoxalock
Carly has been with Intoxalock for three years and oversees branding, strategy, and creative development.

Filed Under: Drunk Driving

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