Understanding A DUI Surcharge

Categories: DUI Defense

What to know about a DUI surcharge.

You are probably anxious and upset if you just got arrested for a DUI in Colorado. That’s perfectly natural, especially if you’ve never been charged with a crime before. At this point, you are probably more concerned about the prospect of going to jail. However, as you learn more about your DUI charges, you may come to realize that first-time DUI offenders can avoid jail in many circumstances. But that doesn’t mean a first-time offender avoids all penalties.

While the realization that you may avoid jail might relieve some stress, DUI charges can be costly in other ways. For instance, you might wonder what the DUI surcharge fees in Colorado are and how you might be able to avoid them. Speaking with a Colorado DUI charges defense attorney who has nearly 30 years of experience defending DUI cases can best help you understand the financial aspects of your DUI charge.

What Is the DUI Surcharge in Colorado?

Unfortunately, the State of Colorado imposes several fees and surcharges after a DUI conviction. The amount assessed depends on a few factors:

  • The fine the judge imposes at sentencing (if any);
  • Whether you have any prior DUI convictions;
  • If you took a chemical test or refused;
  • And more.

You should also note that the court is not the only state agency or business that can assess DUI surcharge fees. Agencies like the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), educational institutions for DUI classes, your auto insurance company, and an ignition interlock installation company can also charge you fees. Let’s examine some of these fees a little more closely.

DUI Fine Surcharge

The fines for a DUI conviction range from $600 to $1,000 for a first DUI offense, according to Colorado Revised Statutes 42-4-1307. The fines are slightly less after a conviction for driving with your ability impaired, or DWAI. The range of fines the court can impose after a DWAI conviction range from $200 to $500 for a first offense. The sentencing judge has the authority to suspend or waive the fines, but only if the court finds that you are indigent. As with DUI, the fines increase if you have previous convictions for DUI or DWAI in your criminal history.

Section 42-4-1307 also sets forth additional surcharge fees a person must pay after a DUI conviction or deferred adjudication. Here is a list of additional fees and surcharges the court will assess:

  • Detox/Jail fee: $303;
  • Court cost: $26;
  • Alcohol evaluation: $200;
  • Rural Alcohol Abuse Fund: $1-$10;
  • Probation supervision fee: $900;
  • Victim Impact Panel Program: $50;
  • Victim Assistance Fund: $163;
  • Victim Compensation Fund: $29;
  • Law Enforcement Assistance Fund: $90;
  • Community Service Supervision Fee: $60;
  • Brain Injury Fund Fee: $20; and
  • Persistent Drunk Driver Surcharge: $300.

As a result of a first-offense DUI conviction, you could owe the court as much as $2,211 in surcharge fees alone. And this sum does not count the fine the judge imposed on you as part of your sentence. The court could also order you to pay restitution to any victim who suffered financial losses from your drunk driving incident. Finally, if you have a deferred judgment, the court can assess a $21 fee plus a $5 surcharge against you.

Additional DUI Penalties Surcharge

Even after paying over $2,200 to the court in surcharges, you will have to pay for a treatment evaluation, alcohol educational programs, and other related costs. Here are some of the additional fees and costs you might encounter because of your DUI charges:

  • Towing costs: $175;
  • Vehicle storage fees (daily): $50;
  • Alcohol treatment program: $1,000;
  • Ignition interlock rental and service (annually): $2,172;
  • Instruction Permit from the DMV: $16.80;
  • Driver’s test: $21;
  • Restricted license fee: $26;
  • Driver’s license reinstatement fee: $95;
  • Additional reinstatement surcharge: $25;
  • SR-22 auto insurance coverage (monthly): $250; and
  • Auto insurance increase: $3,000 over five years.

The cost of DUI school is expensive as well. Depending on your risk assessment, you might need to enter therapy. That could cost you more than $1,000. That fee is in addition to any intake fees the program assesses and any supplies you need to buy to complete the program.

Incidental Costs of a DUI

DUI charges are serious cases. Not only do you have to face charges in court, but you also have to endure the collateral financial consequences that can really add up. As a result of your charges, you could:

  • Lose your employment, either permanently or temporarily;
  • Suffer from lost work hours and wages due to court dates and possibly incarceration, even if you keep your job;
  • Become disqualified from school or scholarship programs;
  • Be disqualified from obtaining a professional license;
  • Lose out on finding a new job or advancing in your current career path;
  • Incur transportation costs because you have no license; and
  • Face increased scrutiny in family court if you have a child custody case or divorce pending.

Of course, your everyday bills do not stop coming in because you are experiencing a difficult time in your life.

How Can You Avoid a DUI Surcharge in Colorado?

You might think the best option is to take responsibility for your actions so you can swiftly put this episode behind you. However, doing so without consulting a knowledgeable Colorado DUI charges attorney first could be a massive mistake.

An experienced DUI charges lawyer will examine your case thoroughly. After reviewing your case, your attorney will know if you have defenses that could help you avoid a DUI conviction—and all the associated expenses and penalties—altogether. You will never know if you can avoid liability if you don’t speak with a lawyer first.

Help with a Colorado DUI Surcharge Is a Phone Call Away

Colorado criminal charges defense lawyer Mark S. Rubinstein and his team with Mark S. Rubinstein, P.C., serves Western Colorado. If you have a DUI charge, you can rely on award-winning DUI defense lawyer Mark S. Rubinstein to vigorously defend you. Mark consistently receives high accolades from former clients. He’s won the Avvo Clients’ Choice Award and received a five-star Avvo rating. Contact attorney Mark today to learn more about how you can avoid Colorado DUI Surcharge Fees.

Mark Rubinstein

Attorney Mark S. Rubinstein has been practicing law for more than 30 years, including 25 years in Colorado. He founded Mark S. Rubinstein, P.C., in Carbondale after working for law firms in Denver and earlier in his career in San Diego. He focuses his practice in the areas of criminal defense and personal injury representation, and he is well known throughout western Colorado as an effective and unwavering advocate for his clients.