DUI Lawyer: How Much Will a DUI Cost You in Pennsylvania?

Driving under the influence (DUI) can not only cost you a damaged reputation but also in a quite literal sense, as well. Between court-ordered fines, education and treatment fees, and increased car insurance premiums, a DUI can become costly, and quick.

If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI, it's important to be prepared for the potential expenses that come along with it. Fortunately, working with an experienced DUI lawyer can help minimize the penalties you may face. Read on to learn more about how much drunk driving in Pennsylvania can cost you, and be sure to contact a Philly DUI attorney right away.

DUI Fines in Pennsylvania: First, Second, Third Offense

When it comes to the cost of a DUI, the true cost you have to pay involves much more than just fines and court fees. Additional expenses can include reinstatement fees, lost wages, vehicle towing fees from the impound, and higher auto insurance rates.

DUI fines and fees vary and are dependent on the details of the offense. For example, if your blood alcohol content or blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was in the .08 to .099% range, and this is a first-time DUI, you may face a fine of $300. But, on the other hand, if this is your second offense and you have a BAC in the same range, you may face a fine up to $2,500.

Potential fines for Pennsylvania DUIs include:

.08 to .099% BAC (“General Impairment”)

  • First DUI Offense – $300

  • Second DUI Offense – $300 to $2,500

  • Third DUI Offense – $500 to $5,000

.10 to .159% BAC (“High BAC”)

  • First DUI Offense – $500 to $5,000

  • Second DUI Offense – $750 to $5,000

  • Third Offense – $1,500 to $10,000

Drugs or .16%+ (“Highest BAC”)

  • First DUI Offense – $1,000 to $5,000

  • Second Offense – $1,500 to $10,000

  • Third Offense – $2,500 to $10,000

It's important to note that drugged DUI offenses are automatically placed into that "highest BAC" category which is accompanied with the strictest penalties.

If you were arrested in Pennsylvania for driving under the influence of prescription pills, marijuana, or another form of controlled substance, you should seek legal advice from an experienced DUI/DWI attorney right away.

As explained by the breakdown above, court-imposed DUI fines in Pennsylvania can range anywhere from $300 to $10,000, depending on the details of the offense.

But, remember; those fines aren't the only expenses that accrue from DUI cases. Read on to learn more about some additional costs you may face.

What Will a PA DUI Cost Me?

One of the penalties for a DUI, or DWI, as it is sometimes referred to (driving while intoxicated) in Pennsylvania, can include driver's license suspension. Aside from the obvious inconvenience of being unable to drive, this can also impact your ability to maintain or obtain employment, due to the difficulty of your new commute issues.

How much this will cost you will depend on these two factors:

  1. The length of the suspension imposed

  2. The court's willingness to grant occupational driving privileges during the suspension

Please note that before the court will even consider granting you driving privileges during this suspension, you will be required to provide proof of insurance and proof of employment.

And, while missing work will undoubtedly hurt your finances on its own, you'll also have to pay reinstatement fees to get your driver's license and driving privileges back.

Additionally, at the end of your license suspension, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) or Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will require that you pay a reinstatement fee prior to your driver's license being reinstated. In Pennsylvania, the reinstatement fee is typically about $70.

Along with the hassle of paying the fees for license reinstatement and obtaining an occupational limited license (OLL), you can also most likely anticipate higher auto insurance premiums for years even after the DUI is disposed of.

One analysis actually compared insurance rates before and after a DUI and found these increases at three of the largest auto insurance companies:

State Farm

  • Before DUI – $1,616

  • After DUI – $1,960

  • Increase – 31.3%


  • Before DUI – $2,388

  • After DUI – $3,198

  • Increase – 33.9%


  • Before DUI – $3,072

  • After DUI – $4,516

  • Increase – 47%

Some DUI offenders find themselves unable to afford auto insurance after a DUI, which then requires that they purchase a bond proving financial responsibility before being permitted to drive again.

And, on top of these reinstatement fees and insurance increases, you may even be required to attend driving school and/or undergo drug or alcohol education and treatment. And, paying these associated costs and fees is entirely your responsibility.

Facing Multiple DUI/DWI Offenses

As previously mentioned, the true cost of a DUI will depend on how many offenses are on your record and what the court orders as your punishment. 

On top of all the costs we mentioned earlier, you may even have to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on your vehicle, which can run between $500 and $1,500. And, of course, in more severe DWI/DUI convictions you could face community service, numerous court dates and court costs, and even jail time - which can really rack up in attorney fees if you don't opt for a public defender.

This is why there's no true way to pinpoint the average cost of a DUI arrest, but just know that even with your first offense, it can get very expensive.

Philadelphia DUI Defense Attorneys Fighting Against Drunk Driving Charges

Ultimately, there are many variables involved in a DUI case, so the total cost you will face for your DUI is difficult to calculate.

But, to sum it up, individuals faced with DUI charges can typically anticipate costs for court-ordered fines, impound fees, vehicle accident property damage fees, lost employment wages, increased automobile insurance premiums, a license reinstatement fee, and driving courses or treatment. As you can imagine, these DUI penalties combined can quickly add up to thousands of dollars.

If you or a family member was arrested for DUI, drugged driving, or other related offenses, you need to speak with an experienced DUI lawyer right away. If you have been charged with a DUI in Philadelphia or anywhere else in Pennsylvania, contact the law firm of Scarpello & LaTour today at (215) 732-0460.