The Hidden Costs of a DUI

Getting charged and convicted of drunk driving in Colorado can drastically affect your life. Consequences include jail time, probation, fines and fees, and the loss of your driver’s license. Still, even that doesn’t cover all the hidden costs of a DUI. The additional expenses can easily add up to thousands of dollars, on top of your criminal sentence.

How Much Does a DUI Cost in Colorado?

Understanding the average DUI costs in Colorado starts with the criminal sentencing and administrative penalties. The fine associated with a conviction for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs, or Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) depend on your criminal history:

  • First DWAI: $200-$500

  • First DUI: $600-$1,000

  • Second DUI / DWAI: $600-$1,500

  • Third DUI / DWAI: $600-$1,500

In addition, for any drunk driving conviction you will be assessed court costs based on your charge and your sentence. Court costs could include:

  • Probation supervision fees

  • Victim compensation costs

  • Law Enforcement Assistance Fund (LEAF) surcharge

  • Alcohol / drug evaluation costs

  • Persistent drunk driver surcharges (PDD) for repeat offenders

  • Drug offender surcharges for driving under the influence of drugs

  • Other court costs based on the procedures in your case

Remember that court fines and costs are only one part of a potential DUI sentence. You could also face jail time, probation, and community service, as well as a suspension of your Colorado driver license.

DUI Hidden Costs You May Not Have Considered

However, there are also additional hidden DUI costs that can be incurred outside the courtroom. If you are considering whether to contest DUI charges, you should also consider the effects of a conviction on your household budget. This includes everything from alternate transportation costs to increased auto insurance rates.

Vehicle Towing & Storage Fees

Many DUI arrests leave a car with no driver. If you don’t have someone immediately available to pick up your car, the police may have the vehicle towed and stored until you can arrange to pick it up. There is a charge for this. Depending on how long you are in jail, the storage fees for holding your vehicle can add up, so you should try to make arrangements to retrieve your car quickly.

Transportation Costs

If you are convicted of any DUI or of DWAI on a second or subsequent offense, your Colorado driver’s license will be revoked for between 9 months and 2 years. That means you will need to find other forms of transportation for everything from your commute to work and errands to probation meetings and court hearings. Depending on where you live in Colorado, access to public transportation may be limited. This could drive your transportation costs from a DUI rising even higher.

Alcohol or Controlled Substance Classes

Many people convicted of DUI or DWAI are ordered to receive alcohol abuse or substance abuse treatment as part of their sentence. This medical treatment does not come free. Some Colorado residents will have health insurance that covers some or all of the cost of group therapy or individual substance abuse counseling. However, others will need to pay for the cost of treatment out of pocket.

Substance Abuse Monitoring

In addition to the cost of treatment, you may also have to pay for ongoing drug and alcohol testing during your probation. If a court orders substance abuse monitoring as part of a sentence, there are fees associated with each urine test. Depending on the terms of your sentence, you may be required to test randomly, often at least twice per month. With a typical cost of $25 per test, you can expect to pay $50 per month for drug testing for as long as the order lasts.

Driver License Reinstatement Fees

While the automatic revocation of your driver’s license after a DUI conviction is 9 months to two years, that revocation remains in effect until you complete the reinstatement process with the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). There is a reinstatement fee of $95. In addition, depending on your driving history and criminal conviction, you may need to hire an attorney to advocate for the reinstatement of your license. This will involve an additional cost.

Interlock Ignition Device Lease & Installation

If you do get your license reinstated on a restricted basis, you will likely need to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in your vehicle. An IID is a small breath-testing device attached to your steering wheel. It prevents your vehicle from starting until you blow into it and then randomly while the car is in motion. If the IID detects alcohol, it will turn off the vehicle (after giving the driver time to pull over). After you are convicted of your first DUI, you can resume driving immediately if you have an IID. However, the cost of installing an IID can be $70 to $200, and they have a monthly operating cost of around $60 to $90 (as of 2022). You should expect to have the IID installed in your vehicle for at least four to nine months.

Increased Auto Insurance Rates

In addition to all the costs directly related to your DUI, you may also face increases when you go to renew your auto insurance. Most insurance providers base their rates on the number of points on your driver’s license. A DWAI adds 8 DMV points and a DUI adds 12 DMV points. As a result, once you have been convicted, you may receive notice that your next insurance payment will be far higher.

Get Help Defending Against DUI Convictions to Avoid Hidden Fees

The best way to defend against DUI hidden costs is to avoid conviction in the first place. At Aviso Law, our Colorado DUI defense attorneys know how expensive a drunk driving conviction can be. We can help you consider your options to avoid a DUI conviction and the costs that come with it. Contact us today to schedule a consultation. We are here to serve you every step of the way.

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