Emergency Response Costs in DUI Cases

Emergency Response Costs in DUI Cases

Getting a DUI can be very expensive.  Not only are there fines and DUI school to pay, but your auto insurance rates will almost surely go up.  While most people are familiar with these costs, there is another not so well known expense that can be come with a DUI — emergency response costs.

That’s right, public agencies, like police departments, fire departments, Cal-Trans and the California Highway Patrol (CHP), can recover their emergency response costs from DUI drivers who cause incidents requiring an emergency response.

What Are Emergency Response Costs?

Emergency response costs include the costs of providing police, firefighting, rescue, and emergency medical services at the scene of the incident, as well as the salaries of the personnel responding to the incident.

What Is an “Incident”?

Although generally an “incident” must involve something more than just driving under the influence, the courts have essentially allowed the California Highway Patrol to use its own definition of “incident,” which includes not only DUI accident cases, but also any case where a DUI suspect causes the CHP to have to provide “an appropriate emergency response.”

What Kinds of Things Can A Person Be Required to Pay For?

Salary costs for time spent:

  • traveling to and from the scene
  • transporting the subject from the scene
  • booking the subject
  • performing chemical tests
  • writing required reports
  • performing follow-up investigation necessary to complete the reports

The CHP also can charge for the cost of an officer’s benefits, such as health insurance and retirement.

Is There Anything They Can’t Charge For?

Yes, salary costs of responding personnel incurred after a person is arrested cannot be charged, nor can the cost for an officer to testify in court.

What Is the Maximum Amount They Make You Pay?

Up to $12,000 per incident