DUI Fees on the Rise in Southern California, Officials Report

There’s no secret that being convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) comes with serious short- and long-term penalties. Aside from criminal penalties that can include probation, criminal records, and possible terms of imprisonment, there are also a number of financial repercussions on the line. These include not only the costs of driver’s license fee, and various expenses associated with requirements such as installation and calibration of an ignition interlock device (IID), but also the underlying fines and fees imposed by courts upon conviction. For individuals facing DUI charges in Ventura County and other surrounding jurisdictions of Southern California, some of these fees will soon be increased.

According to officials from Ventura County, a shortage in program funding has resulted in a DUI fee increase throughout the jurisdiction. That’s because the Ventura County Board of Supervisors recently voted to make up for a $546,000 funding shortage by increasing fees convicted individuals must pay to attend and complete court-mandated DUI education programs. The fee increase is the first since 2009, and is intended to raise money needed to cover employment salaries and operating costs.

These programs, often referred to as DUI school or DUI education, are a common penalty imposed upon driver’s convicted of various DUI offenses. Convicted individuals are typically required by courts to enroll in and complete these programs and pay for them at their own expense. Programs usually provide educational courses and group sessions on a weekly basis, and the length of a program is dependent upon the facts of an individual case. For example:

  • First-time DUI offenders may be required to complete 3, 6, or 9 month DUI education programs, depending on the circumstances surrounding an arrest. For example, DUI cases involving drivers with higher BAC levels (.15 or greater) often subject offenders to longer 9-month programs.
  • Second and multiple DUI offenders, as well as individuals convicted of felony DUIs, are required to complete longer DUI education programs. This may include an 18-month program, often imposed in cases involving a second DUI conviction, or 30-month programs, which may be ordered when motorists are convicted of a third or subsequent DUI, or a felony DUI.

Enrollment and successful completion of these course is mandated by the court upon a DUI conviction, and is a requirement for reinstatement of a driver’s license following a suspension and issuance of an SR-22. It may also be required in some cases for drivers who wish to obtain a restricted driver’s license, which can allow them to use their vehicles for limited purposes, including travel to and from work.

The fees associated with these programs can place financial strains on individuals and their families, particularly when they are compounded with other court fees, fines, and various collateral costs and financial damages of a conviction – ranging from job loss, formal probation fee assessments, and more. We have discussed many of these financial repercussions in previous blog posts.

With fee increases like these, the serious consequences of a DUI conviction now have even greater potential for disrupting the lives of convicted individuals and their families. As such, any person accused of DUI has more reason to enlist the support and representation of proven defense attorneys who can not only help them explore options for a defense and dismissal of charges, but also reduced charges and penalties, including shorter DUI education programs, that can help alleviate or mitigate some of the burdens they face in the months or years following a conviction.

At Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP, our DUI attorneys represent clients throughout Ventura County, Los Angeles County, and beyond following DUI arrests and charges. By leveraging decades of collective experience, our award-winning attorneys aim to protect clients’ rights and futures, and secure the most positive results possible. If you wish to discuss a recent DUI arrest, the potential penalties you face, and how our legal team can help, contact us for a free and confidential consultation.