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How Much is Bail for a DUI in California?

In Los Angeles, for a first time DUI offense, bail is $2,500 (in 2017).If you’ve been arrested for a DUI in California, the costs can accumulate quickly. You may lose time from work, you might need to get an attorney, and you’ll likely need to pay court fines and costs associated with alcohol programs. Before you can get to any of that, you’ll need to make bail. The costs for bail can range from reasonable to extremely expensive. It all depends on your own unique circumstances, your representation, and the judge’s decision.

The Difference Between a First Offense or Multiple Offenses

If you’ve already been convicted of a DUI, your penalties will be more significant than those of first-time offenders. A first-time DUI offender in California can face up to six months in jail and up to $2,600 in fines. If you’ve been convicted of a DUI within the past ten years, the amount of jail time you could be facing, and the total cost, increases with each occurrence. If someone is injured usually the arrest is for felony DUI. The bail is typically $100,000 in Los Angeles County.

Before you can worry about the aftermath of your decision to drive while intoxicated, however, you must get out of jail.

What Exactly is Bail?

When you’re arrested for a DUI, you’re sent to jail and processed. This means you’re not able to go to work, see your family, or do the things you would normally be doing in your life. The quicker you can get out of jail, the quicker you can get back into the swing of things. Bail is an option that allows you to give the courts money, property, or some other form of collateral as a promise that you’ll appear in court when you’re ordered to do so. If you post bail and do not show up to court, a warrant for your arrest will likely be issued.

How Much Will Your Bail Be?

Bail not only varies by state; it also varies by county – sometimes significantly. It’s possible you may not have to post bail and could be released on your own recognizance (O.R.), meaning you would get out of jail free. Most of the time, O.R. releases are granted after an overnight stay in jail to people who were arrested for misdemeanor crimes and have strong ties to the community.

In some circumstances, you may need to wait to see a judge before you’ll know how much your bail will be. This could be the case if you’re a repeat offender or were arrested on a felony charge. However, each jailhouse will have a posted bail schedule.

Here’s a look at a few California counties’ DUI offender bail schedules:

County First Offense
Los Angeles County $2,500
Imperial County $5,000
San Bernardino County $25,000


Options for Paying Bail

Obviously, the costs of bail can be steep. You can pay your bail in cash, but your money will be tied up in the court system until your case is resolved. Alternatively, you can contact a bail bond agency. These companies post bond on your behalf with the promise that you’ll go to court on your scheduled court date. This can be a good option for people who aren’t able to pay the full amount of bail because bail bondsmen only require you to pay a percentage of your total bail. In California, this percentage cannot exceed 10 percent.

If you’ve been charged with a DUI in California, it’s important to understand how the laws may impact your quality of life. Before you go before a judge, contact a California DUI attorney who can help you understand your best options in this tumultuous time.

Contact me today if you need to speak to a DUI attorney in Los Angeles. The fastest way to contact me: 310-261-7135.

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