How Much Does A Second DUI Cost In California


If you’re reading this after being arrested for driving under the influence, there’s not much good news for you. A DUI arrest can turn into a financial nightmare. Of course, this is correct. While the numbers have decreased significantly over the years, drunk driving is still far too common.

According to the United States Department of Transportation, nearly 30 people are killed in drunk driving accidents in the United States every day.

A DUI will almost certainly cost you far more than you think. If you’ve had a few drinks, get a cab, Uber, or a ride from a friend. While calculating the cost of a DUI is difficult due to the numerous variables involved, experts believe the total cost could easily exceed $10,000.

Hopefully, you’re reading this article about the cost of a DUI before you go out drinking and driving – rather than after you’ve already been pulled over. Wondering how much a second DUI costs in California? This article is a full guide.

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What Is DUI

Driving under the influence (DUI) is the crime of driving, operating, or being in control of a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs (including recreational drugs and those prescribed by physicians) to the point where the driver is incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle.

Farm machinery and horse-drawn carriages, as well as bicycles, are examples of vehicles. Other terms for these offenses include drinking and driving, drunk driving, drunken driving, impaired driving, operating while intoxicated, or “over the prescribed limit.”

The criminal offense may not involve actual driving of the vehicle, but rather being physically “in control” of a car while intoxicated, even if the person charged is not driving. A person found intoxicated in the driver’s seat of a car and holding the car keys, even if the car is parked, may be charged with DUI because he or she is in control of the vehicle.

What Are The Penalties For a Second DUI In California?

A second DUI offense in California is punishable by three to five years of summary probation, up to 30 months of DUI school, fines and penalties ranging from $390 to $2,000, and no less than 96 hours in jail. License suspension and ignition interlock devices are also penalties.

A second misdemeanor DUI in California is punishable by up to a year in prison. In general, the sentencing for a second DUI is determined by the facts of your case. For example, the court could suspend a driver’s license for two years. If your previous DUI was a felony offense, your second DUI could result in harsher penalties.

Will I Lose My Driver’s License After a Second-Time DUI Conviction?

After your second DUI conviction, you may lose your driving privileges due to a driver’s license suspension. In fact, you could face a suspension ten days after your arrest, even before your case is heard in court. There are two ways to lose your driver’s license for a second drunk driving offense:

  • Through a DUI conviction and
  • At a DMV hearing.

After a DUI arrest, the DMV will automatically suspend your license if you fail to schedule a driver’s license hearing with the DMV. You can fight to keep your driving privilege at the hearing. If you do not schedule a DMV hearing, your license will be automatically revoked.

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Will I Have a Permanent Criminal Record After a Second DUI in California?

Although it is certainly disheartening, a second DUI conviction may be expunged from your permanent criminal record. This can be accomplished by obtaining an expungement.

You should be able to have your California DUI conviction expunged if:

  • You were sentenced to probation and
  • You completed probation successfully.

A DUI expungement is similar to any other California criminal record expungement in many ways. A petition is essentially filed with the court and then reviewed by a judge. If the judge grants the DUI expungement, you may withdraw your guilty or no contest plea and re-enter a “Not Guilty” plea. Once this “Not guilty” plea is entered, the case should be dismissed.

How Can You Fight a Second DUI in California?

A second DUI arrest in California is a difficult but manageable challenge. When you hire the right DUI attorney, there is often the hope of a dismissal or acquittal at the end of the process.

However, it helps to have the mindset immediately after your arrest to have a DUI defense lawyer look over your case in order to achieve this. The following are the specific reasons why you should hire a criminal defense lawyer to fight your DUI case:

#1. Collecting and Analyzing Evidence

A good DUI defense lawyer will know how to gather and analyze evidence that will help your case. This includes subpoenaing witnesses who may be able to help your case. Obtaining the police vehicle video of your stop, as well as any accompanying audio recordings, may also be included.

If, for example, an officer claims that he stopped your vehicle because you didn’t have a front license plate and it is later proven that the officer never saw the front of your vehicle prior to the stop, the officer’s testimony may be tainted.

Aside from the need for an attorney to collect and interpret evidence in your case, a good criminal defense attorney will be able to use this evidence as the foundation for putting together written motions in support of your case.

For example, if you believe that any of the officers involved in your DUI arrest unfairly targeted you or treated you in an inappropriate or unprofessional manner, indicating police misconduct, your attorney can file a “Pitchess Motion.”

This motion, which may be filed and heard prior to any trial, may allow your attorney to unearth information from an officer’s personnel file, potentially providing you with more ammunition to fight your case.

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#3. Plea Bargaining

Hiring an attorney is also important because he or she may be able to “settle” your case to your satisfaction. Because the vast majority of DUIs are resolved without a trial, having a good DUI trial attorney is just as important as having a DUI attorney who knows how to “talk the talk” with District Attorneys. These negotiations may help you get a “wet” or “dry” reckless charge for your first DUI in California.

How Much Does a DUI Cost?

DUI fines in California range from $390 to $5,000, plus penalty assessments and fees that can bring the total cost to $18,000, depending on the severity of your DUI charge.

DUI resulting in injury or property damage may also necessitate payment to injured parties. It’s difficult to predict how much a DUI will cost because so many variables are at play. It depends on how much you drank, the state and city you were stopped in, your age, and other factors.

According to Peter Liss, a criminal defense attorney in San Diego, the total cost of a DUI could easily exceed $10,000. Arnold Chapman, a former trucker and the founder and CEO of, an online automotive magazine, predicts that you’ll spend $10,000.

How Do the Costs of a DUI in California Break Down?

The breakdown of the high cost of DUIs is-

  • Court costs. If you are pulled over for a DUI and the police believe you are intoxicated, you will be arrested. A friend or family member may be required to post bail, but if that does not occur, you will face at least a court-imposed fine, according to Wilder. The amount of a DUI fine also depends on where you live.
  • Towing and impound fees for vehicles You must obtain your vehicle as soon as you are released from jail. Because your vehicle was towed somewhere. Chapman estimates that you’ll spend between $100 and $1,200 to get your car back. You may also be unable to drive your car away from the police department’s impound lot. You’ll need the help of a family member or a friend for this.
  • Hiring a lawyer. If this was your first offense and you were just barely over the limit, you may choose to appear in court and pay your fine, and you may not have to pay any, or very low, attorney fees. In some cases, you should definitely consider hiring an attorney.
  • Fees for licenses. If you are convicted of a DUI in many states, you will automatically lose your driver’s license. If you are pulled over while intoxicated in California and are found guilty, your driver’s license will be suspended for nine months.
  • Transportation expenses. If you lose your license, you should budget for the cost of taking the bus, Uber, or another form of public transportation.
  • Insurance premiums. This can be an excruciatingly painful aspect of a DUI. Your insurance premiums will skyrocket. A drunk driving conviction will typically raise a person’s premiums by 20% to 25% for up to three to ten years, depending on the insurance company.
  • Ankle bracelet with alcohol monitoring. If this isn’t your first offense and the court is concerned about you driving without supervision, you may be required to wear a Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor.

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Collateral Consequences of California Dui’s

DUI convictions have consequences beyond the courtroom. Some of them are-

  • DUI convictions in California can jeopardize professional licenses, insurance, and certifications.
  • It is mandatory to install an ignition interlock device.
  • The cost of auto insurance rises, necessitating the use of an SR22.
  • Prior convictions are frequently asked about by job applicants, and background checks will reveal them unless the conviction has been expunged.
  • DUI convictions in California can have an impact on university admissions and financial aid eligibility.
  • You are usually required to sign a Watson Advisement, which will be used against you in the event of a future DUI accident.
  • When applying for visas, changing status, green cards, or entering the US, non-US citizens must explain their DUI arrest details to DHS.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cost of your first DUI in California?

From $390 to $1,000. A first DUI conviction in California is typically classified as a misdemeanor. Convicted drivers face fines ranging from $390 to $1,000, as well as penalty assessments that can total several thousand dollars or more.

What is the cost of a DUI in California in 2022?

DUI fines in California range from $390 to $5,000, plus penalty assessments and fees that can bring the total cost to $18,000, depending on the severity of your DUI charge. DUI resulting in injury or property damage may also necessitate payment to injured parties.

How serious is a DUI in California?

DUI is a criminal offense in California that will result in a permanent criminal record unless expunged several years later, which will cost more attorney fees.

How long does a DUI stay on your record in California?

Ten years. Fortunately, a DUI conviction does not remain on your driving record indefinitely. In general, it stays on your driving record for up to ten years and can be viewed by the DMV and law enforcement during that time. Another piece of good news is that a DUI conviction does not appear on most background checks.

In California, what happens after a DUI?

In California, the penalties for a first-time DUI conviction generally include three years of informal probation, fines of $390 plus “penalty assessments” (totaling approximately $2000), and completion of a first-offender alcohol program, which consists of a 30-hour class at a cost of around $500.

In California, how long is probation for a DUI?

Between three and five years. People are typically placed on probation for three to five years and are expected to complete a drunk driving program(s), pay court fines and fees, refrain from committing any criminal offenses, and refrain from driving with any measurable amount of alcohol in their system.


A DUI conviction is not cheap. DUI is, in fact, one of the most expensive misdemeanors in California and the surrounding areas.

This is due to the fact that a single DUI charge can result in a variety of expenses associated with different crimes, such as criminal fines imposed by the judge, administrative costs, money paid to victims, the cost of an impounded vehicle, and enrollment in costly deterrent programs.

Overall, do everything you can to avoid a second DUI in California.



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