The Financial Costs of a DUI: From Fines to Insurance Hikes

A DUI conviction in South Carolina carries more than just a legal sentence; it can lead to significant personal, professional, and financial consequences. This overview covers the multifaceted financial costs of a DUI conviction in South Carolina, highlighting why it’s crucial to understand the implications and seek guidance from a Charleston DUI attorney.

The Immediate Fines and Fees From a DUI Arrest

Once you’re arrested for DUI, the financial hits start coming fast. First, the fines and fees come with the actual arrest. Depending on the state, these can range from $400 to $1,000 for a first offense. Some of the charges you can expect include:

Court Costs and Administrative Fees

Most states charge additional fees for DUI-related court costs, including fees for things like probation monitoring or alcohol education classes. These typically range from $200 to $500.

Vehicle Impoundment Fees

If your vehicle is impounded after arrest, you must pay impoundment and storage fees to get it back. These average $100 to $200, and the fees increase the longer your vehicle is impounded.


If you’re taken into custody after your DUI arrest, you’ll have to post bail to be released. Bail for a standard DUI charge typically ranges from $250 to $1,000. If you use a bail bondsman, you’ll usually pay a nonrefundable fee of 10% of the total bail amount.

License Reinstatement Fees

Once your license is suspended, you’ll have to pay a fee to reinstate it. Depending on the state, license reinstatement fees range from $50 to $500. Some states also charge additional fees for DUI-related license suspensions and revocations.

a DU charge will result in long term financial penalties

Ignition Interlock Devices: Additional Costs Under Emma’s Law

If convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) in many states today, even first-time offenders must have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in their vehicle for a mandated period.

Installation Fees

An IID isn’t something you can install yourself. You’ll need to have it installed by a certified installer, who typically charges around $100 to $200. The total will depend on the number of vehicles you need to install the device.

Monthly Monitoring

Most states require IIDs to be electronically monitored to ensure they are used properly and have not been tampered with. Monitoring fees are usually around $100 to $150 per month. For the average license suspension of 6 to 18 months, you can expect to pay $600 to $2,700 in monitoring fees alone.

Calibration and Removal

Over time, IIDs need to be recalibrated and serviced to maintain accuracy, which incurs additional fees around $50 to $100 each time. Once your suspension period is over, the IID will need to be removed by a certified installer, which costs between $50 and $200.

Increased Auto Insurance Premiums After a DUI

Insurance companies use your driving record and other factors to calculate how likely you are to file a claim. A DUI signals to them that you engage in risky behavior behind the wheel, so they jack up your premiums to account for the assumed increased risk of you causing an accident.

The more time passes without another violation, the more your rates will decrease, but it can still take 3-5 years to get back to your pre-DUI premiums. According to NerdWallet, drivers with a DUI pay an average of $1,400 more yearly for car insurance.

How a Charleston DUI Lawyer Can Help You Understand the Financial Costs of a DUI

A DUI charge is serious business. Even a first offense can carry heavy fines, license suspension, and possible jail time. The financial costs of a DUI can be devastating, from court fees and insurance hikes to time away from work.

The bottom line is that if you’ve been charged with DUI in Charleston, you need the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Every day that passes is critical, so call us at (843) 277-8711 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation immediately.