Breaking Down the Cost of a DUI

Interviewer: Let’s say I’ve had my first DUI and I’m a first-time offender. Not including attorney’s fees, what am I going to be seeing total – like court fines, things that I’m going to have to pay for like ignition interlock devices and so forth, all of the materials, classes, things like that? What am I looking for? What kind of figure am I looking at?

Matthew Nebeker: I’ll start breaking it down a little bit. If you are first offense convicted of DUI in the state of Utah, just the fine and cost to the court for the conviction will be around $1,440, so close to $1,500, and then if you are convicted, you’re going to have to have an ignition interlock device installed on any car that you own or operate. That’s going to be for a minimum of 18 months and that’s going to run about $1,200 for that period, so there you’re already at $1,600 or $1,700 just for those two things.

Then you’re going to be put on probation during that time, so another $450 to $500 for the cost of probation, and then there are fees to get your vehicle out of impound. Then there’s the towing. The impound fee here in Utah is just $350. That goes directly to the state, but then you have to pay the vehicle towing and storage fee and that’s anywhere from $300 to $400. You will have a driver’s license reinstatement fee. That’s another $265. You’re going to have to do some treatment, so you’re looking at another $300 for that counseling.

Then if you decide to get a bail bondsman, you’re probably looking at $300 in bail bonds fees. So those are just some of the basic costs with a DUI if you are convicted.

Interviewer: Can you round that up?

Matthew Nebeker: Okay, I’ve got it. I’m looking at about $6,000 for the things that I mentioned – court fines, ignition interlock, probation, impound fees, treatment, driver’s license reinstatement, towing. That’s rounded up.

Bonds & Release on Own Recognizance

Interviewer: What is this I hear about a promise to appear in lieu of a cash bond? Isn’t that somewhere in the $2,000s or something like that?

Matthew Nebeker: Yeah, sometimes here in Utah, once you’re booked into jail, on most cases the person is entitled to bail. He can post cash bail or that individual can contact a bondsman and usually post 10% of the total bail and the bondsman will post the balance, but that 10% is his fee for posting the rest of the money, of course, and so what you’re talking about is an OR release – being released on your own recognizance – and that does sometimes happen, but the key issue there is you have to wait to get in front of a judge to ask if you can have that and if that can be an option to you.

If you’re booked into jail on a DUI on a Thursday night or a Friday night, depending on the court’s schedule, you might not get to see a judge until Monday or sometimes even Tuesday. So you’re sitting there in jail, away from your job, away from the family, to go before the judge to see if you can get out on OR. I’ve had clients that have had that problem. Someone told them that if you just wait, you’ll get to go before a judge in a little while; well, after four days, I think he finally called a bondsman to come get him out because for whatever reason, he should have been in front of a judge before four days, but it didn’t happen, so he just sat there.

Guilty Plea

Interviewer: In Utah, do they charge a fee when someone pleads guilty?

Matthew Nebeker: Yeah, that would be the actual court fine and surcharge. On a first offence DUI in Utah, that’s around $1,440. That’s just for basically saying, “Guilty.”

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