123Getting a DUI involves some obvious costs such as the fine associated with the violation. However, it also includes some less-obvious costs. Things like lawyers’ fees, special state surcharges and license reinstatement fees may be unwelcome and unexpected surprises.

Before the Fines

People charged with a DUI often want to talk to a lawyer. While most lawyers will schedule an initial assessment meeting at no cost; getting REAL advice usually costs money. Lawyers fees varies widely depending on the area and the individual attorney.

  • Getting Bail: After an arrest, bail is usually necessary in order to be released from jail. Bail for first-time DUIs is normally relatively low, but it can still amount to anywhere from a few hundred to a couple thousand dollars. The average is somewhere between $150 and $2,500.

  • Other Charges: In many cases, when a person is charged with a DUI, their vehicle is impounded. This can mean additional costs in the form of cab fares or other transportation expenses. It also costs money to retrieve a vehicle from impound, often up to or in excess of several hundred dollars.


In most cases, people lump together all of the fines associated with a traffic ticket or crime. After all, the total is what the person has to pay, and many people don’t really care how it is divvied up after it leaves their bank account. However, it can be interesting to note that the money goes in a lot of different directions. It can also surprise some people with how high the cost is.

Fines associated with a first-time DUI vary slightly by state. However, there are almost always:

  • State and local court fees

  • Fees to the Department of Public Safety

  • A records fee or jail filing fee

Other fees assessed might include state fees such as the “brain injury surcharge” assessed in some states, and the cost of probation appointments. All of this can add up to a hefty fine. The cost of court fees and the actual fine varies the most by state, ranging from about $250 to $2,500. Jail filing fees range from approximately $10 to $50.

Other fees assessed average:

  • $250 to state DUI abatement fund

  • $500 to state Department of Public Safety

  • $78 to Victim Assistance Fund

  • $90 to Law Enforcement Assistance fund

  • $25 for Victim Impact Panel

  • $33 to Victim Compensation Fund

The “brain injury surcharge” is actually one of the smallest total dollar amounts on the list: it averages just $15. Probation costs average $20 per visit. Some states allow people to reduce the total owed through additional community service, but this option may be limited and is not available in all areas.

After the Fines

Once the cost of the fines is past, people often breathe a sigh of relief and consider their financial obligation complete. However, this is not necessarily the case. Additional costs can continue to add up, including:

  • Insurance rates increases

  • DUI treatment

  • License reinstatement fees

Not only the rate on car insurance increases, life insurance rates can also go up for people charged with a DUI. Treatment may be a condition of the offender’s sentence or it may only be required to have a license reinstated, but it is typically an additional required cost.

Reinstatement fees for licenses suspended or revoked because of DUIs are often higher than in other cases.

Total Cost

Not even considering things such as time off work, lost income because of lost job opportunities and additional factors that are hard to value, a DUI can cost somewhere around $10,000. Though the total cost depends on a number of things such as the lawyer’s fees or the fees in a particular state. Did you know the average cost for a DUI in New York is about $9,500, in Colorado it’s approximately $10,270 and in Illinois the estimated cost is $12,100 when all is said and done.


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Scott Desind

Scott Desind | Traffic Ticket Attorneys The Traffic Ticket Attorneys, Desind and Klijian, have over 25 years of experience fighting traffic tickets. Our attorneys are well respected and known for their experience in fighting traffic tickets, specialized knowledge of the law and procedures and results by the court personnel, officers, deputies, competitors and clients.