This article comes from Craig Donofrio, a contributor for MSN Money Partner.  It covers the extremely high expense of a DUI charge.  I think we all knew that there would be a fine and that lawyers don’t come cheap.  But read on and see what else is involved.  It will make you think twice about getting behind the wheel of a car after having a few drinks.

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The extremely high cost of a DUI

Those 3 beers at happy hour could turn into a $15,000 ordeal if you’re arrested and convicted of drunken driving. There are lots of ways to get home safely.

At its worst, drinking and driving can be fatal — for you or for someone else. At best, a drunken-driving conviction will cost you thousands of dollars in fines, attorney’s fees and higher insurance premiums.

Ted Hollander, a lawyer who handles DUI cases at The Ticket Clinic, told Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson that a DUI can easily cost a driver $15,000. estimates that a first drunken-driving conviction will cost at least $10,000.

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Where do all those costs come from?

Initial costs and fines

Upon your arrest, you’ll likely have to post bail — from several hundred to several thousand dollars — which will be returned to you minus nonrefundable fees if you appear as scheduled in court. You may also have to pay towing and impound fees to get your car back, likely an additional $100 to $200.

Upon your conviction, you’ll pay a fine, which can run from the hundreds to thousands of dollars, plus additional court costs. For instance, the fine for a first offense in Texas is up to $2,000, and $10,000 if there was a passenger younger than 15 in the car.

DUI classes

You’ll be required to take a class on the dangers of drunken driving, and you’ll have to pay for it. In Florida, it’s $250 for a 12-hour class. In Connecticut, you’ll be looking at $550 or $750 for a 10- or 15-week program. Plus, there’s an additional cost for drug and alcohol screening.

License fees

Your license will be suspended, possibly for a year. To get it back, you’ll have to pay a restoration fee, which varies by state. In New Jersey, for example, it’ll cost you $100. In Minnesota, reinstatement costs $680.

Attorney’s fees

The fee charged by your lawyer can vary by experience level, location and the complexity of the case. An MSN Money article gives a range of $250 for entering a guilty plea to up to $25,000 if you fight the charge in court.

Insurance premiums

According to, a DUI will increase your insurance by an average of 19%. However, the increase can vary depending on factors like where you live and your insurance company. A recent blog post on gave an example of a typical California driver who would pay at least $2,500 more per year. (Use’s “Uh, Oh!” calculator for an estimate.)

How long you’ll pay a higher insurance rate depends on your insurance company, but generally it’s no less than three years.

Ignition interlocks

An ignition interlock is a device that records your blood alcohol content and allows the car to start only if your BAC is below a set limit. Installation costs $100 to $200, and monthly rental fees range from $70 to $100, according to Regular maintenance and calibration cost extra.

Fourteen states require ignition interlocks after a first conviction. For example, Connecticut suspends a first-time DUI offender’s license for 45 days, then requires an ignition interlock device be installed in all of the offender’s registered vehicles for a year.

Other costs

Other consequences could drive the financial drain of a DUI way above the $10,000 to $15,000 mark. In a worst-case scenario, you’ll lose your job, particularly if your occupation requires driving. Also, a DUI could affect the status of your professional license to practice medicine or fly a plane, MSN Money says.

Those who keep their jobs could lose valuable work time attending to the requirements of court appearances, DUI school, community service, counseling and jail.

If you’re unable to get a hardship permit that would allow you to drive to and from work while your license is suspended, you’ll have to figure in additional transportation costs.

A DUI could also impact future employment. How long the offense remains on your record depends on your state, but in many states it’s permanent. A prospective employer will find that information in a background check.

Let’s compare all of this with the cost of a taxi, which I figure is $15, including tip, for a trip from downtown New Orleans to my home five miles away. That’s one of your options to avoid getting arrested on a charge of DUI.

Here are some others:

DUI Schools AtlantaBlogger’s Note:  Wow, all of that will cost you a pretty penny and make you think twice about getting behind that wheel.

This Blog brought to you by North Buckhead Driving and DUI School, your first choice among Atlanta DUI Schools and Defensive Driving programs.

We here at North Buckhead Driving and DUI School are trying to make the roads a little safer.  We are a leading Atlanta DUI School with weekly DUI / Risk Reduction Classes as well as Defensive Driving Classes.  You can sign up by calling our office at (678) 510-2099 or by visiting our website at and using our secure registration system

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