DUI and Government Code Section 53150 Fees
There is an alarming practice among law enforcement agencies, typically, smaller cities in Fresno, Merced, Madera, Kings and Tulare counties to seek recovery of costs for a standard DUI stop and investigation (not involving an accident or collision). Under Government Code § 53150 it is not proper for them to charge these fees and/or costs.
In DUIs and most criminal cases, law enforcement agencies are not allowed to recover investigation costs or other expenses from the people that they investigate and arrest. These costs are considered normal law enforcement expenditures that are part of their budgets. However, the California legislature has recognized that certain DUI incidents, typically accidents, require law enforcement agencies to devote resources in performing emergency responses. In accidents involving impaired drivers, numerous officers may be required to assist during the arrest and investigation process. In addition, fire and medical personnel may be needed to provide emergency response services as the result of an individual's DUI offense. Under California Government Code § 53150, a driver, whose DUI offense triggered the need for an emergency response, can be held financially liable for the costs of the response.
Pursuant to Government Code §53150, “Any person who is under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or any drug, or the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and any drug, whose negligent operation of a motor vehicle caused by the influence proximately cases any incident resulting in an appropriate emergency response, and any person whose intentionally wrongful conduct proximately causes any incident resulting in an appropriate emergency response, is liable for the expense of an emergency response by a public agency to the incident.”
California courts have required that the “incident” involved must be something more than a standard DUI stop and investigation. Usually, a public agency will only make a request for expense recovery under Government Code § 53150 where there has been an accident that required an emergency response.
In many cases following a DUI arrest involving an emergency response, the driver will receive a bill in the mail directly from the public agency requesting reimbursement for the emergency response. In other cases, the prosecution will make the reimbursement request directly from the Court as part of the DUI court case. The prosecution will seek this amount as part of any restitution that may be owed by the defendant. The defendant can challenge whether or not the public agency is entitled to recover costs and the amount of those costs. The Court may determine that the defendant is not financially liable for claimed emergency response costs.
If you have been charged with a DUI and have already paid or received a bill for cost recovery pursuant to Government Code § 53150, it is imperative that you consult with a DUI Attorney as soon as possible. Attorney David Jones is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 22 years of experience who is skilled at litigating financial demands under Section 53150 and ensuring that his clients receive the most comprehensive defense possible.
For more information about DUIs and Government Code Section 53150, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Jones Law, 559-860-9690, today.