“How much does a DUI lawyer cost” is one of the first questions that individuals who are facing charges for a DUI or DWI offense are likely to ask. The answer to that question is that it will depend on a number of different factors and will often vary from case-to-case.
As of 2021, the average cost of DUI lawyer falls somewhere in between a minimum of $700 and a maximum of $10,000 or more. In general, the severity of a crime will have a major impact in determining the total amount that a DUI attorney cost.
You will also have to consider other details, such as whether this is your first or third DUI/DWI offense. In which case, you will need to compare the rates of what a first offense DUI lawyer cost versus a 3rd DUI lawyer cost.
In most instances, the cost to hire a DUI/DWI lawyer is usually much more expensive in cases where the defendant is a repeat offender than it is for cases in which a defendant is facing charges for a first-time offense. Additionally, the fee structure that a lawyer or law firm uses to bill their clients also matters.
For example, a DWI lawyer may charge you at an hourly rate (e.g., $300 per every hour they worked on your case), or they may impose a flat fee structure. The standard hourly rate for DUI lawyers ranges between $200 to $500 or more per hour. In contrast, the average flat rate fee for DUI lawyers is approximately $3,000, but can fluctuate depending on the issues in a case and on the jurisdiction.
To learn more about factors that affect the cost of DUI/DWI lawyers, you should perform a quick online search for “how much does a DUI attorney cost” in your area. Alternatively, if you are looking for a low cost DUI attorney, you may want to reach out to a local legal aid service or non-profit organization instead.
What are Some Factors Used in Calculating DUI Attorney Fees?
There are numerous factors that must be accounted for when calculating DUI attorney fees. Some examples of factors that one may use when determining the cost of attorney fees for a DUI or DWI lawyer include the following:
- Fee arrangement: As is the case with attorneys in any field of law, the way that a DUI attorney charges their client will affect the total amount of their final bill. For example, a DUI attorney may charge a flat rate fee or may decide to bill a client at an hourly rate. Some attorneys, usually the ones with more experience, will request that a client pay a retainer fee. This means that the client will need to pay a fixed amount up front and can be charged additional fees once the money paid towards the retainer runs out.
- Experience and reputation: A DUI attorney’s experience, skillset, and/or reputation may also factor into the total cost of attorney fees. In general, the more experience or better the reputation a DUI attorney has, the higher they can charge in attorneys’ fees. This rule also applies to the type of law firm that an attorney is employed by, meaning the more prestigious the firm, the more a lawyer will likely cost.
- Issues and timing: Another good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that the longer a case takes to resolve, the higher an attorney’s bill will be (with some exceptions). Thus, DUI cases that contain complex issues or involve charges for additional crimes, tend to cost more than cases with straightforward or simple DUI issues because the attorney will need to spend a lot more time on them.
- Type of legal services: The type of legal service for which a defendant hires a DUI attorney will also impact attorney fees. For instance, the amount of attorney fees that a lawyer may charge for having to go to trial versus having to negotiate a plea deal will usually be much higher for the former service.
- Also, if a client is only hiring a DUI attorney to defend them on a single misdemeanor offense, an attorney will generally charge them much less than if they hired them to defend them against multiple felony offenses and already had a criminal record since it would involve more work.
- Miscellaneous fees: Some other expenses that may increase the amount of DUI attorney fees include whether the defendant hired a lawyer to reinstate their driver’s license or vehicle, to get the charges or conviction removed from their permanent criminal record, and/or had them negotiate with their auto insurance company to maintain the same auto or car insurance rate as they had before the charges.
In addition, it should be noted that the above factors are solely for DUI attorney fees. This does not include the amounts that a defendant may need to pay for court costs like filing fees or penalties (e.g., criminal fines) if they are convicted of such charges.
What Services Do DUI Lawyers Provide?
DUI lawyers can provide a wide range of legal services throughout the course of a DUI or DWI case. For example, a defendant who wants to fight the charges can opt to go to trial. In such a case, a DUI lawyer will provide all of the necessary services required to properly defend their client in court. These include drafting legal documents, gathering evidence, performing legal research, and presenting the defendant’s argument in criminal court.
A DUI lawyer can also be hired to assist in resolving other matters after a defendant has served their sentence like asking the court to clear their criminal record (if possible), getting a defendant’s driver license and/or vehicle back from the state, and handling issues that arise with a defendant’s auto insurance company.
Another service that DUI lawyers typically provide is representation for crimes related to a defendant’s DUI charges (e.g., vehicular homicide, felony armed robbery, etc.). The reason for this is because many lawyers who are hired to oversee DUI matters are often criminal defense attorneys. Thus, it makes sense that they would handle the other crimes associated with a defendant’s DUI charges as well.
Are There Any Advantages to Hiring a DUI Lawyer?
There are several advantages to hiring a DUI lawyer for representation in a DUI or DWI case. For example, since DUI lawyers are familiar with the procedures and laws in a particular jurisdiction, they can advise their clients about the different options they have, their legal rights, and the defenses they can raise in these types of cases. This knowledge can be useful in protecting the accused and may serve to eliminate or reduce the sentence they receive.
A DUI lawyer will also be aware of the situations wherein a defendant can petition the court for an alternative sentence, such as attending counseling or a treatment program, as opposed to having to serve a prison sentence. It should be noted, however, that this option is only permitted in certain circumstances and may not be available in every case. This is when the expertise of a DUI lawyer can prove to be a valuable resource.
Another advantage to hiring a DUI lawyer is that they can form and present convincing arguments in court like why a defendant should be allowed to hold on to their driver’s license or why a defendant deserves to have a suspended driver’s license and/or their vehicle returned to them.
Lastly, one other advantage to hiring a DUI lawyer is that they can offer many services and provide guidance on many relevant legal issues that the average layperson may not be aware of. These include gathering the right kinds of evidence, knowing when a DUI test has been improperly administered, and/or how to communicate with the defendant’s auto insurance company.
Do I Need to Hire a DUI Lawyer?
Being convicted of a DUI or DWI offense can have potentially severe and long-lasting consequences on not only your permanent record, but also your personal life. In some cases, a DUI or DWI conviction can result in a prison sentence and/or large fines. As such, if you are facing charges for a DUI or DWI offense, then it may be in your best interest to consult a local DUI/DWI lawyer for legal advice that is specifically tailored to your case.
A lawyer who has experience in handling cases that involve DUI/DWI charges can explain how the laws in your jurisdiction may affect the outcome of your case as well as which rights you may exercise under those laws. Your lawyer can also discuss your options and can determine if there are any defenses you might be able to raise against the charges.
Finally, among various other legal services, your lawyer can represent you during any court proceedings associated with your case and/or can negotiate with a prosecutor on your behalf for a plea deal (if applicable). Additionally, if you were already convicted and have now completed your sentence, your lawyer can assist you in petitioning the court for expungement or reinstatement of your driver’s license as well.