When California authorities stop your car and charge you with driving under the influence, know that it may cost you quite a bit of money if the charge leads to a conviction. Most first-time DUIs are misdemeanors, but even those have the capacity to lead to financial hardship. Fines alone may cost you between about $390 and $1,000. Then, you have to factor in other expenses, which might include an ignition interlock device, DUI school and increased insurance premiums.
According to NerdWallet, automotive insurance almost always rises substantially after a conviction for drunk driving. How much more should you expect to pay for coverage once you have a first-time DUI in California?
Insurance rate hikes
The typical California motorist who does not have a history of drinking and driving pays about $1,627 annually to insure himself or herself behind the wheel. If your driving record is otherwise fairly clean, you may have paid about this much for annual coverage.
Once you have that drunk driving conviction, though, you should plan on seeing this number rise to about $4,006 a year. This makes for an annual difference of $2,379, which may prove difficult to finance given all the other expenses you face after a California DUI.
A lengthy increase
While paying another $2,379 a year to insure yourself behind the wheel may prove difficult, note that you should expect to pay this heightened amount for the next 10 years. A California DUI remains on your record for a full 10 years, and you are not going to be eligible for a good driver discount during this time.