How much a DUI costs you in Ohio will depend on several factors, but the costs associated can add up quickly. In a case that does not even go to trial, you can expect to spend as much as $10,000 in bail, court costs, legal fees, fines, and other related expenses. In some DUI cases, a defendant may pay as much as $3,000 or $4,000 even if the state drops the charges before trial.

There is no doubt about it: Ohio OVI — operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs — convictions are expensive. Our team will help you fight your OVI charges and work to reduce the charges against you or clear your name when possible. This may help reduce the overall cost of your arrest.

Costs Associated with Your Arrest

By the time you get out of jail following your arrest, you will likely already be a few hundred dollars in the hole. Arrest-related expenses may include:

Towing Fees

If police stopped you on the street and this stop led to your arrest, they likely towed and impounded your vehicle. Depending on how long it remains in impound, this could cost you a few hundred dollars. Many impound lots charge by the day, so you will want to get it as soon as possible after you are able.


To get out of jail, you may need to post bail. Depending on the circumstances of your arrest and your criminal history, this could range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to reduce this amount by using a bail company or avoid it all together if the state releases you on your own recognizance as long as you promise to return for your court date.

Costs Related to Your Case

Attorney’s Fees

Before you go to your arraignment and enter a plea in your Ohio OVI case, we recommend you give an OVI attorney a call. While your criminal defense lawyer will likely cost you a significant amount of money, having the right attorney on your side can reduce the amount you have to pay out in the long run (and potentially avoid a conviction entirely).

For example, if your attorney can help you avoid a conviction, you may not have to pay fines or see a dramatic increase in your car insurance rates. Even if you do face a conviction, there may be non-monetary benefits of having an attorney on your side. In many cases, we can help clients reduce the time they spend in jail and obtain limited driving privileges to drive to work or school.

Court Costs

You can expect to pay several hundred dollars in court costs, although this may be less if you enter a guilty or “no contest” plea. Court filings and court appearances, as well as your trial, will all cost you money.

Costs Related to an OVI Conviction

Every OVI conviction comes with fines as a part of the penalties you face. For a first conviction, you will receive a fine of between $375 and $1,075.

The fines increase if you have multiple drunk driving convictions. A felony OVI charge will cost you at least $850, as well as time away from work while you serve mandatory jail or prison time.

So, in addition to the set costs and penalties associated with an OVI conviction, you may also lose wages or even lose your job entirely.

Other parts of your sentence may also cost you. For example, we are often able to help our clients who are first-time offenders avoid jail time by enrolling in a driver intervention program. While this program lasts only 72 hours, it may cost you between $300 and $500.

Other expenses may include:

  • The cost of maintaining an ankle bracelet that measures your blood alcohol content while on community control (probation)
  • The cost of installing and maintaining an ignition interlock device on your vehicle
  • Other costs related to the conditions of your community control

Expenses Related to Getting Your License Reinstated

All drunk driving arrests and convictions in Ohio come with driver’s license suspensions. Once this period is over, you will need to pay $475 to have your license reinstated. You can also expect that your auto insurance premium will go up exponentially if you have an OVI on your record.

Are you or someone you know facing DUI / OVI charges? 

If you are facing DUI charges, you need to speak with an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible. The Law Offices of Steven R. Adams is recognized by Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers, The Best Lawyers in America, National Trial Lawyers Top 100, and is one of U.S. News' Best Law Firms.  Please contact us online or call our Cincinnati office directly at 513-929-9333 to schedule your free consultation. 

Tad Brittingham
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Criminal defense attorney Tad Brittingham is dedicated to serving his clients throughout the Cincinnati area