Your First DUI: What You Can Expect To Pay If You’re Caught Driving Drunk

Everyone makes mistakes, but the cost of getting behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol can be high. Even if you don't cause any damage to yourself, other people or property, if you are caught you can expect to pay hefty fines. The fines or court costs of a first-time offense range anywhere from $250 to $1500, depending on the state. But there are other costs that you may not think about until after you are convicted of a DUI charge. These include:

Legal and Administrative Fees.

You don't have to hire a lawyer to represent you, but many people find that an experience attorney can make sure you get treatment or counseling and don't see any jail time. Sometimes a skilled attorney can also minimize the amount of time your license is revoked or can help you get a conditional permit that allows you to drive to work and other approved activities. 

In addition, you'll also have costs associated with reinstating a lost license, which can cost a few hundred dollars.

Automotive Costs.

You'll probably have to pay to have your car towed, and if you are jailed, you will have to pay for the time it was impounded.

The court may eventually require that you have an ignition interlock device installed, which prevents you from starting the car unless you can prove via breathalyzer that you have not been drinking alcohol. These can be rented, but costs start at about $65 a month and can be more expensive depending on your location.


In many states, some form of DUI counseling is required for every person convicted of driving under the influence. These counseling sessions are designed to help you understand alcohol dependency and how to identify and overcome dependent behavior. 

This counseling can have a positive impact on your life, but it usually does come at a cost. You'll typically pay for an assessment, the counseling course and any supplies you may need, such as a textbook or a workbook. This can run anywhere from a couple hundred dollars and up.

Especially when combined with other measures such as a revoked driver's license, counseling treatment is consistently shown to have an effect on reducing repeat drunk driving incidents.

For more information, contact a local counseling center (such as Counseling Center of Illinois).


If you thought your auto insurance premiums set you back a pretty penny before, you'll be paying a lot more for a while. With a DUI conviction on your record, your insurance company is taking a big risk keeping you as a customer. You may even be dropped by your insurance and have to enroll in a high-risk program that could cost you two to three times more than you previously paid.

You may also lose income from your job depending on whether you have any jail time or have to take time off to appear in court. In short, your total out-of-pocket expenses could be as high as $20,000. If you have already been convicted of an offense, take advantage of mandated DUI counseling to help you shake off your issues with alcohol.