The Cost of a DUI in Florida: Fines, Fees and Increased Insurance Rates

The Real Cost of a DUI in Florida: Fines, Fees, and Insurance Hikes That Hurt Your Wallet

Getting arrested for a DUI in Florida can be an expensive lesson. The basic fines and fees from a conviction are bad enough. But add in the hidden costs – like dramatically higher car insurance rates – and a DUI can really take a bite out of your bank account.

DUI Fines in Florida: First Offense Starts at $500

The fines for a first-time DUI conviction in Florida start at $500 minimum and go up to $1,000 maximum. But most first-time offenders end up paying around $650 to $850 in basic court fines and fees.

Fines go up from there if it’s not your first rodeo. A second DUI conviction brings a fine between $1,000 to $2,000. Get convicted a third time, and fines are $2,000 to $5,000 plus higher insurance rates and license suspensions.

Here’s a quick overview of the basic fine structure:

  • First DUI: $500 to $1,000
  • Second DUI: $1,000 to $2,000
  • Third DUI: $2,000 to $5,000

But it’s not just the fines that cost you. The fees and other expenses quickly add up too.

Court Costs and Fees Add Hundreds More

In addition to fines, a DUI conviction also involves court fees and costs that typically add several hundred dollars to the total bill. Common fees include:

  • Court reporter fee – $100
  • Subpoenas – $50 per subpoena
  • Depositions – $300+

So with all the court fees and costs factored in, expect to pay around $900 to $1,500 for a first-time DUI conviction in Florida.

Need a Lawyer? That’s Another $2,500+

While it’s not required, having a lawyer represent you on your DUI charge is highly recommended. But legal help doesn’t come cheap.

You can expect to pay an average of $2,500 to $5,000 if you hire a DUI defense attorney. The fee varies depending on experience, reputation, and whether it goes to trial.

So with attorney fees figured in, the total cost for a first offense DUI easily climbs to $4,000 or more.

Install an Ignition Interlock Device? Add Another $2,000

If you’re convicted of a DUI in Florida, the court will likely order you to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle. This breathalyzer device prevents you from starting your car if you have alcohol on your breath.

You have to pay around $170 for installation plus $67.50 per month in monitoring fees while the IID is required (usually 6 months to 1 year). So budget another $500 to $800 for the ignition interlock device.

DUIs Drive Up Car Insurance Costs for Years

One of the longest-lasting impacts from a DUI is substantially higher car insurance rates. A single DUI conviction can increase your premiums by an average of 73% according to insurance industry data.

For example, if you were paying $1,200 per year before the DUI, you could easily pay over $2,000 annually for the next 3 to 5 years. That’s an extra $800 per year, adding up to $4,000 in additional premiums over five years.

And the rate hike gets worse if you have a second or third DUI on your record.

Estimate Your Total DUI Costs in Florida

When you add up all the fines, fees, lawyer bills, IID costs, and insurance increases – the total cost of a first DUI often exceeds $10,000 when all is said and done.

Second or third offenses can easily cost $15,000 to $20,000 overall.

Here is a breakdown of estimated first offense DUI costs in Florida:

  • Court fines and fees: $900 – $1,500
  • Attorney fees: $2,500 – $5,000
  • Ignition interlock device: $500 – $800
  • Increased insurance premiums: $4,000+ over 5 years
  • Total First DUI Cost: $8,000 to $12,000+

And again, a second or third DUI gets exponentially more expensive with higher fines, lawyer bills, court costs, insurance hikes, and more.

Avoid the DUI Financial Pain and Don’t Drink and Drive

The bottom line is that a DUI conviction in Florida can be extremely expensive. The basic court fines and fees will drain $1,000 from your bank account quickly.

But the longer-term impacts from insurance rate hikes, legal bills, and ignition interlock costs mean you’ll keep paying the price for a DUI for years. Estimates range from $8,000 to $12,000+ for a first-time offense when all costs are considered.

The smart move? Don’t drink and drive in the first place. Using a designated driver, rideshare service, taxi, or public transit is a whole lot cheaper than a DUI. And you avoid putting yourself and others in danger on the roads.

But if you do get arrested for DUI, speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. An attorney may be able to plea bargain to a lesser offense or even beat the charges altogether in some cases. Though legal help adds to the financial toll, it maximizes your chances of minimizing fines and avoiding a conviction.

Don’t let a lapse in judgement behind the wheel lead to financial hardship for years to come. Be smart, don’t drink and drive, and fight the charges if you do wind up arrested for DUI. It can save you thousands down the road.