What does a DUI cost in Colorado?
A DUI conviction is expensive in Colorado. In 2016, The Colorado Department of Transportation estimated the average out-of pocket expenses associated with a first time DUI. The estimated costs assume that no one was injured and that no property damage was sustained. The overall costs of each of these items has only increased since 2016 and one should expect the overall cost of a DUI to increase every year.
First, are those fees associated with the initial arrest and booking:
Detoxification: $450; Chemical Testing Fee: $150; Towing Fee: $175, Bond Fee: $50; Impound Lot Storage Fees $50/day; Jail Booking Fee: $30; Bondsman Fee: $200
Second are those out of pocket expenses incurred as the result of a conviction:
Alcohol Treatment Evaluation: $200; First Conviction Fine ($600-$1,000); Alcohol Education Classes ($150-$1,000); Probation Supervision Fee (up to $1,200); Victim Assistance Fund: $78; Victim Impact Panel: $25, Victim Compensation Fund: $33; Ignition Interlock Rental ($550- $2500); Law Enforcement Assistance Fund: $90; License Retesting Fee: $26; License Reinstatement: $95; Community Service Supervision Fee: $60; PDD Surcharge Fee ($50-$500); Brain Injury Fee Fund: $15.
Average Auto Insurance Increase (estimated for a driver age 21-24 over a 5-year period): $3,000.
Beyond the “out-of-pocket expenses,”
Often carrying an even greater financial impact, is the loss of time. Lost time means lost pay. People who get DUI cases report missing a lot of work (and therefore losing a lot of income) dealing with their mistake, as a result of court hearings, community service (48-96 hours), probation appointments, meeting driver’s license reinstatement requirements, monthly ignition interlock appointments, attending mandatory alcohol education classes (up to 1 year) and sometimes a jail sentence of up to a year.
For many people, the loss of a driver’s license means loss of their job. For others, it is a permanent scar that will always show up on a job application or background check.
A DUI is a Criminal Charge
In addition, a DUI is a criminal offense (an unclassified misdemeanor) that will stay on your record permanently. You cannot seal or expunge a DUI or DWAI conviction in Colorado. In fact, you cannot seal the charge even if you are found not guilty, unless every charge associated with your DUI or DWAI case was also dismissed. A Colorado DUI carries a variety of “collateral consequences” for various occupational and professional licenses and can cause you issues with traveling abroad, especially to Canada.
If the case involves an accident or there are other aggravating factors involved, such as a prior criminal record consisting of drunk driving convictions, the costs can increase. The court, separate from insurance or other civil claims, can order restitution for any sort of out-of-pocket expenses of the victim to an accident. The cost for multiple offenses increases due to added monitoring, probation supervision fees, court fines, and the related expenses. Appeals of county court verdicts or DMV hearing decisions are also time consuming, and therefore expensive.
Losing your driver’s license at the DMV is also costly. In order to reinstate your driving privilege in Colorado after an alcohol-related revocation, the cost of an ignition interlock device, SR-22 insurance, alcohol education and therapy, and the reinstatement fee can add up quick.
Colorado DUI Defense
Fighting a DUI charge and making sure that you receive the best possible outcome is also an expense. Good legal counsel, preferably a DUI attorney with experience and a good reputation in the court where your charges are filed, can easily cost over $5,000. In addition, additions to your defense team for investigators and expert witnesses can be costly, even with an acquittal at trial. Not only can an experienced defense lawyer potentially get you off the hook in court or with your driver’s license, but also he or she can get you through the legal proceedings with the least amount of consequence and roadblocks as possible. Even so, there is never a guarantee that an attorney can get you a better result than without one, so it is an expense that must be considered on the front end.
It is understandable that given all of the costs involved with a pending DUI charge, the process can seem overwhelming. Actions that you take on the font end can make a big overall difference to the overall disposition of the case and the overall expense in the end. Therefore, the most cost-effective move you can make at the beginning of the case is often investing in competent defense counsel to represent your best interests.