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Drinking, Driving, and Thanksgiving: Don’t Get a DUI

Thanksgiving. For some, it’s stressful because they’re worried about burning dinner or feeding undercooked turkey to their guests. For many, it’s stressful because we’re with our families, those people who know just how to push our buttons and get under our skin.

So what is the normal reaction in this situation? We drink. We try to calm nerves with cannabis, Xanax or Valium. And, after our bellies are full of food and our mind is full of reasons why we’ll never talk to our sister, brother, uncle, mother, father ever again, we hit the road.

That’s why, in recent years, Thanksgiving has been a deadlier holiday than New Year’s Eve, thanks to DUI crashes. And if the possibility of crashes, injury or death aren’t enough to make you think twice about driving under the influence (that means alcohol OR drugs), let’s have a word with your wallet.

No one in the law enforcement, emergency services or hospital system wants you to drive under the influence, and that is what makes the costs so high. It’s called a deterrent, and to drive the point home, we’re going to give you an estimate of what it could cost you to say “Just this once.”

  • Fines and penalties: $1,500
    If it’s your first offense, expect a fine of about $400 to $1,000, but if you’ve already been convicted, expect to be charged about three times more.
  • Towing and impound fees: $250
    No, they don’t drive your car to the station. It gets towed and impounded, and those costs will rise sharply the longer that it is in impound.
  • Treatment program: $630
    First time offenders in California, and many other states, are required to complete a 30- or 60-day treatment program, based on the BAC, or blood alcohol level, the offender had in their system at the time of arrest.
  • Court costs: $800
    Don’t think that this includes an attorney; this is just the cost of filing paperwork and making mandatory court appearances. The length of the case and the severity of the offense will determine these costs.
  • Attorney fees: $2,500
    This is a basic cost to defend a DUI, but if you were involved in an accident with another vehicle, damaged personal property, or injured or killed another person, the fees will rise.
  • Restitution fund: $500
    The California Victim Compensation Program, a state fund that assists the victims of crime, will get this money.
  • DMV reissue fee: $125
    Think they just give you your license back? After the four-month suspension, you’ll have to pay to get it. And you’ll probably have to stand in the DMV line too.
  • Insurance premium increase: $2,700
    All insurance premium costs are based on risk assessment. Clearly, you are now a risk. If you’re convicted, expect to pay higher insurance premiums for years to come, so this number could be a lot higher.


This is just an estimate of fees, penalties and costs only; exact cost will vary by state and circumstance. This also doesn’t factor in what happens if your employment depends on the ability to drive, whether for work or to and from work. That lost income will add up fast, and make $9,000 look like chump change.

Nobody starts their day by saying, “Hey, I’m going to drink and drive today!” Life happens. Things change. Things spiral out of control. That’s why you need to have dependable legal counsel immediately if and when something happens.

Make sure to read our page on Driving Under the Influence, which also provides the five commandments you need to remember when you are arrested for any crime, felony or misdemeanor.

Do you need a free case review from Orange County’s top DUI attorney? Call us at the Law Offices of Glew and Kim now.

We wish everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday. And please, don’t drive under the influence. But if you do, remember our number: 714-713-4525.

This is not an attorney-client communication, and as such no advice is being offered in this article. Any and all communications related to the Glew & Kim Law website should be deemed and considered advertisement. This article is purely opinion, and the basis of this and any opinion was formed subject to the reporting by the actual news agencies, the information from which was used as source material.