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How Much Will a DUI Really Cost Me?

Our Mesa DUI Attorneys evaluate the true cost of getting convicted of Driving Under the Influence in Arizona.  It may cost you more than just dollars.  Read on and find the many ways a DUI conviction impacts your life.  If you are arrested and charged with a DUI in Maricopa County, contact our Mesa, AZ DUI Team for a free consultation.  Fight your charges, Don’t take a plea!  Our experienced criminal defense team can help.

During the holidays, especially during a pandemic, your budget may be tight. However, that doesn’t mean that calling a ride instead of driving yourself isn’t worth the expense after holiday celebrations that involve alcoholic beverages. Whether you live in Arizona year round or you’re just here for the holidays, it’s crucial that you know just how serious a DUI conviction is here. 

Arizona sorts DUI charges into separate categories, based on how intoxicated the driver was and if other aggravating factors were present. Drivers who are arrested with a BAC of .08-.149 will be charged with a per se DUI. However, drivers with a BAC of .04-.079 can be charged with DUI – Impaired to the slightest degree. Drivers with a BAC of 0.15-0.19 at the time of arrest will be charged with Extreme DUI, and a BAC of .20 or higher will yield a Super Extreme DUI charge. All of the aforementioned charges are misdemeanors, but the driver will be charged with aggravated DUI- a felony- if any of the following are met: there is a passenger in the car under the age of 15 at the time of the arrest; the driver’s license is already suspended, revoked, canceled, etc.; there is already an ignition interlock device installed in the vehicle; or if this is the driver’s 3rd DUI in 7 years. 

Fines for a Mesa DUI

For a first time per se DUI, the minimum fine is $1,250. The judge may order higher fines if it would more effectively penalize the defendant. The minimum fines increase to $3,000 for subsequent DUI offenses. The minimum fine for a first extreme DUI is $2,500, which increases to $3,250 for subsequent offenses. 

Jail Time for an Arizona DUI Arrest

Arizona’s DUI laws are unique because anyone convicted, even as a first offense, will serve at least 24 hours in jail. Jail time can cost you in more ways than one. Judges have discretion to order far more than 24 hours in jail, which can mean taking time off of work to complete the sentence. You may also be ordered to pay for the time you spend in jail. In Arizona, a first night in jail due to a DUI conviction will typically cost about $200. Each additional night in jail will cost about $90. Jail time minimums increase with the charge of DUI, and a felony conviction yields at least four months in prison. 


Vehicle Impound, Loss of Vehicle Use

For extreme, super extreme, and aggravated DUI arrests, the vehicle will be automatically impounded by the police for 30 days. The impound lot may charge up to $15 per day of storage, or $450 for the mandatory 30 days. The impound lot will also charge an administrative fee of $150, bringing the total cost for a vehicle impound to $600 if the driver picks up the vehicle on the first day it is eligible for release. If the vehicle isn’t picked up within 10 days of it being eligible for release, the impound lot may file for an abandoned title to the vehicle. 

Ignition Interlock Device

An ignition interlock device is a device that requires a driver to blow into it, proving they are sober, before the vehicle will start. Drivers convicted of DUI will need to keep it in their vehicle for 3 months to 2 years. Installing and maintaining an IID isn’t cheap. You may need to pay an installation fee of a few hundred dollars, and the device itself will cost $80-120 per month depending on your provider. 

Auto Insurance Rate Increase

A DUI conviction will raise your auto insurance rates, and you may even be required to get SR-22 (high risk) insurance coverage after a DUI conviction. SR-22 rates are approximately 77% higher than standard auto insurance rates in Arizona. This can mean a yearly increase of $1,000 or more for your insurance premiums. 

Traffic School

The points added to your driving record by a DUI will not only increase your insurance rates, but typically require you to attend traffic school. You may also be required to attend alcohol screening as part of this course. You can expect to spend around $500 on this expense. 

Community Service

If you are convicted of DUI in Arizona, you will probably be required to complete at least 30 hours of community service. Traveling and supplies may cost you, and that is at least 30 hours of your time that could be spent working, spending time with your family, or simply relaxing. 

Property and Bodily Damage

Drinking and driving is illegal because it increases the likelihood of an accident, so it’s no surprise that many DUI arrests occur after the intoxicated driver causes an accident. If you injure another person while driving under the influence, they may receive additional damages against you in a personal injury claim. Depending on your insurance policy, you could be left with thousands of dollars in judgments against you after a DUI accident. 


Arizona DMV Fees

Your driver’s license will be suspended or revoked after a DUI conviction. To get it back, you will need to complete steps like traffic school and IID installation. There will be plenty of miscellaneous fees associated with getting your license back as well, like reinstatement fees, application fees, and any citation fees associated with your arrest. 

Opportunity Costs

A DUI conviction on your record will create hassles in almost all aspects of your life, for the rest of your life. It will be harder to get a job, an apartment, professional licensure, etc. It is impossible to calculate how much this will cost you financially in the long run. 


Contact our Mesa DUI Attorneys if Arrested for DUI in Arizona

After a DUI arrest, you will also be presented with the choice between representing yourself, opting for a public defender, or hiring your own private criminal defense attorney. You may be ordered to reimburse the county for some of your public defender fees if you are deemed to have the ability to do so. An experienced Mesa DUI Lawyer may cost you more up front, but may also be able to have your charges reduced, dismissed, or win your case at trial. To see if the cost is worth it for you, call today (480) 833-8000 to schedule your free consultation with one of our expert DUI lawyers.  Or click here.