There is no such thing as a cheap driving or traffic violation. DUI’s specifically can get very expensive, especially if they are coupled with a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC), or an accident causing damage to other vehicles. If you recently received your first DUI, you may be wondering what you may be looking at paying in total expenditures once everything is said and done. In this article, learn more about the average cost of a first offense DUI in Virginia, as well as the various factors that can influence how much you end up paying.
First Offense DUI Fines
A first offense DUI in VA is considered a class 1 misdemeanor, punishable with a one-year license suspension and a hefty fine (see below). That said, it is highly recommended that you do not drive until your license can be reinstated, as driving with a suspended license (even while sober) will only make everything worse.
The minimum fine for a first DUI is $250, with a maximum fine of $2,500. But that is just the beginning.
Legal Fees and Other Costs
In addition to charges for the offense itself, you will likely incur legal fees such as paying for your attorney and court fines, which can run you an extra $2,000-$3,000. You will also be expected to pay for traffic school and substance abuse courses, towing and storage of your vehicle, and bail.
Additionally, the state of Virginia will require that you pay for and install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your car. This device works like a breathalyzer to detect if you have any alcohol in your system. The car will not start unless you blow into it with alcohol-free breath. It may also conduct “rolling retests”, which will prompt you to pull over and breath into the device again.
Other costs involved with a DUI will be an increase in your car insurance (which could go up as much as three times what you are already paying), and the DMV fees required to reinstate your license after the year long suspension is over.
Average Total Cost & Breakdown
With the aforementioned factors considered, the average total cost for a first offense DUI comes to about $5,000-6,000. As we have already discussed, there are a lot of separate fees that go into this total cost, so let’s look at each one in a bit more detail.
- Attorney and court fees. Whether you get a public defender or enlist assistance from a private attorney, you will be looking at roughly $2,000 just in attorney fees. Also, if you have been convicted, court fees are going to run you an extra $1,000.
- Car insurance increases. Post DUI Insurance is steep. Any insurance company is going to hike your rates up once your DUI conviction goes through. And searching around for cheaper companies is going to be fruitless as long as the DUI remains on your record. People who have been convicted of a first DUI report having had their insurance increase by an average of $800 a year!
- Traffic school and IID. Upon conviction, you will be required to attend, and pay for, some sort of traffic school or education courses regarding the abuse of alcohol while driving. These courses could cost you between $300-$400. You will also be required to install an IID in your car (mentioned above), which generally costs about $170.
- DMV fees. Once your suspension has run its course and you are allowed to reinstate your license, the reinstatement fee for Virginia is $145. Keep in mind, also, that you will still need to have car insurance in place to reinstate your license.
- Towing fees. If you no one can come drive your car home for you, you will be responsible for the cost of towing your car, as well as any storage fees at the garage. Towing and storage fees may run you between $150-$200.&
- Bail fees. If your DUI puts you in jail for a short time, you may have to pay bail (about $150) to get out early.
Other Factors to Consider
The different circumstances of being arrested for a DUI can sometimes affect your overall cost.
For instance, if your BAC is over .15, or you were driving with a minor passenger, your minimum fine will be $500 or more (not exceeding $2,500), and you will be required to spend a minimum of five to ten days in jail.
Speak with An First Offense DUI Attorney
We hope this post has helped clarify the many repercussion and fees of incurring a first offense DUI in Virginia. Now that you have a better idea of what your first DUI will cost you, consider getting legal help to help reduce these costs. The attorneys at The Brown Firm will be able to give you more information regarding your specific case, as well as work with you to find ways to minimize your costs. Contact us today for more information!