Frequently Asked Questions When Face with a DUI in Los Angeles

Your FREE initial consultation with an attorney at Los Angeles DUI Attorney Law Firm is you first chance to ask the questions that really matter to you. The most common question people want the answer to is how much does a California DUI cost, and why is it so high. The simple answer is that Mothers Against Drunk Drivers has a very powerful presence in California, and the California legislature has consistently increased the penalties associated with a DUI in the hopes that it will deter the number of drunk driving incidents. While it is questionable how effective these measures are, the bottom line is this: a DUI is very expensive. In a perfect world, the costs of a DUI are limited to the costs of hiring an attorney. The reality is if you are found guilty of anything related to drugs or alcohol and driving, you will be penalized quite severely. This is why having competent counsel is even more important; skilled attorneys have a better chance of having the case against you dismissed, or at least pleading down to a charge that doesn’t result in such expensive consequences. Below is a breakdown of the true cost of a DUI in California.

As you may have gathered from the introduction above, a DUI is an incredibly expensive misdemeanor; it is the most expensive misdemeanor you can be convicted of in Los Angeles. One conviction for a DUI will have the practical effect of tying you into recurring payments for years to come. There are a number of costs that you occur almost immediately:

  1. Fines ordered by the judge overseeing your case;

  2. The Court costs associated with overseeing your case;

  3. Restitution to the victims (you will be forced to pay any victims of the crime).

  4. The cost of recovering your car from the police impound lot; and

  5. The cost of alcohol and/or drug education and treatment programs.

Do not be alarmed by the number that will follow this simple question. If I am convicted of a DUI that does not have any aggravating factors, what is the high-end cost I will have to pay. The high-end number is a truly frightening number when you consider how quickly it can happen with just one mistake.

If you are convicted of a DUI in Los Angeles, you could be looking at a total of nearly $16,000 dollars!

As mentioned above, once you are arrested costs begin accruing. If you are convicted of a simple DUI the costs continue adding up, and quickly become unmanageable:

Fingerprinting & booking:


Court penalties (average)


Minimum fine:


Restitution to the Victim Fund


Impound fee & cost of towing:


increase in car insurance over the span of 10 years


DUI school for 3 months


fee to DMV for your driver’s license


Maximum cost of the bail bond


Obviously, the costs associated with your case are dependent on the facts of your case, the skill of your attorney, and your previous history; specifically as it relates to prior DUIs and other convictions involving drugs or alcohol.

Where do all these costs come from?

The Courts generally justify the costs associated with a DUI by masking them in “legalese” or legal jargon.

  • Fingerprinting & Booking: The police will assess their costs against a person who has been convicted of a DUI. These costs include police overhead, the “cost” of taking your mug shot, the cost of fingerprinting, and the cost of the booking itself.  
  • Court penalties (average): Local government will generally set the cost of Court penalties, so it is difficult to give a comprehensive breakdown of the costs by jurisdiction. The idea if to approximate how much it costs the Court to review your case; the goal is to require someone who is guilty of the offense to bear the cost of the Court handling their case, instead of the taxpayer. It could be argued that this is a way to circumvent the laws placing a cap on the total amount of money you can be fined for a DUI.  
  • Minimum fine. In general, the fines for a DUI can cost you between $400 and $1,000
  • Restitution to the Victim Fund: If you have been convicted of a DUI, part of your conviction ill include monetary restitution to a state created fund for victims of DUI related harms; this is a direct result of the lobbying by Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD); you will have to pay into this fund even if your particular DUI did not cause harm to anyone, or anything.  
  • Impound fee & Cost of towing: When you are arrested for a DUI, your car will be towed and impounded by the police. The costs of these “services” vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, so it is difficult to give a clear cost for this. The number presented is meant to reflect an average cost of the release fee to get your car back, the cost of towing, and the cost to store your car at the police impound. These are similar to the booking costs above in that they are trying to shift the cost to a convicted person instead of the tax payer. Much like every other cost, this is a clear attempt to circumvent the maximum fine allowed by law.  
  • Increase in cost of car insurance of the span of 10 years: If you are convicted of a DUI, your car insurance rates will automatically go up, there is simply nothing you can do about that inevitability. The amount your insurance will go up is largely dependent on your demographic, plus a modifier associated with the existence of a DUI on your driving record.  
  • DUI School for 3 months: Once you have been convicted of a DUI, it is a foregone conclusion that you will be required to attend an alcohol treatment, or an alcohol education program for a minimum of 3 months. The purpose of this program is to educate you about the risks associated with driving under the influence. The cost of these programs can cost you up to $800.  

Are the numbers above all I will have to pay?

Unfortunately, the financial pain of a DUI conviction is not limited to the numbers set forth above; you may also be on the hook for costs such as:

  • The fee for putting what is known as an “ignition interlock device” (IID) in your vehicle;
  • Any income you would have earned while at work, instead of dealing with the charges against you, and performance of the conditions imposed by the Court;
  • costs of transporting yourself from point a to point b while you do not have a license; and
  • The cost of hiring an attorney to represent you in the charges against you

How long has the Chief Trial Attorney Been Practicing Law?

Vincent Ross, Esq., has been in the business of representing Defendants in a wide variety of criminal cases for nearly three decades. Every attorney under him has received extensive tutelage regarding the ins and outs of the criminal justice systems, what strategies work, how to effectively cross-examine, and the best defenses to rise.

Does Los Angeles DUI Attorney Law Firm practice in any other areas of law?

No, the attorneys at Los Angeles DUI Attorney Law Firm are focused on, and dedicated to, providing the best representation in cases involving DUI charges; this focus has honed our attorney’s skills to a fine point. The end result is the best representation money can afford.

What process does Los Angeles DUI Attorney Law Firm go through to determine if it will take my case?

After you have come for your FREE initial consultation, the attorney you met with will thoroughly review your case to identify what steps can be taken to help you. In the event that they do not believe they can assist, they will tell you in an open and honest manner where the flaws with the case are, provide you with the best course of action, and aid you in obtaining a favorable result if possible.

You spent a lot of time talking about the costs of a DUI, how much will it cost me to hire Los Angeles DUI Attorney Law Firm?

It is a difficult question to answer because everyone’s case is unique, despite the common theme of a DUI allegation. We strive to offer the best prices for the best representation, but it is impossible to say what the cost will be without familiarizing ourselves with your case. We do everything flat fee, and do not want to create false expectations only to seemingly “spring new costs” onto you. We understand that people are not made of money, and the cost of the DUI itself is truly daunting. We offer payment plans with 0% APR in certain cases.

If I hire you, will your attorneys dodge my calls, or take time to respond to me like other firms?

Absolutely not, at Los Angeles DUI Attorney Law Firm we pride ourselves on being accessible to our clients at all times. Once we are retained, you will receive your attorney’s person cell phone number. You will also receive the information of the administrative staff member in charge of your case. A DUI is a frightening reality, and we believe that having the comfort of knowing that you can get answers at any time goes a long way to allowing you to breathe easy while we fight for you in Court.

If you have been charged with a DUI, contact us immediately at 424-285-5400 for a FREE consultation