Ballpark Estimate: $1,000 to $10,000
Being stopped for drunk driving is probably your worst nightmare and the drama only gets more complicated from there. Therefore the most important thing you can do to protect yourself is to hire a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) Attorney to represent your case.
The Need To Invest
Driving under the influence is a very serious charge and the penalties can include jail time, loss of license and hefty fines. This makes it of the utmost importance to hire an experienced professional to help you to navigate the legal system and get the best outcome possible within the confines of your specific situation. An experienced DUI attorney with a solid defense strategy and good communication skills may be able to get the charges dropped entirely.
How To Find
When you’re faced with DUI charges, you can look in your yellow pages or in the newspaper to find listings of DUI attorneys in your area who specialize in handling these types of cases. You can also do a search online and use one of the many resources available to help you link to a list of DUI lawyers practicing in your area. Some of the DUI attorneys you might want to try include Drunk Driving Lawyers, DUI Find Law, and Find a DUI Attorney among many others. You can also visit National College for DUI Defense or the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys. In addition, you might contact your state Bar Association website to find some local options. You can also ask people you know to recommend a DUI lawyer they’ve used and been satisfied with.
What To Look For
When shopping around for a DUI attorney, there are some basic questions you’ll want to ask to ensure that you’re getting the right fit for your needs and your best interests. For instance, does the DUI attorney specialize in criminal cases? How much experience does the lawyer have practicing law and working in DUI specifically? Where did DUI lawyer attend school? What type of track record does the DUI attorney have? You’ll want someone who gets good results, since your future is in the DUI attorney’s hands. Be sure to check the number of DUI or DWI cases the attorney has won. You should also ask if the DUI attorney will be representing your case personally, or if he or she will be turning it over to an associate. This can make a big difference if the associate isn’t as experienced in DUI cases.
You should also check with the Bar Association in your state to make sure the DUI attorney you’re considering is licensed and has a good reputation. Remember that you won’t want to just take the first person you talk to but should shop around for someone credible you feel comfortable with and trust. Many people charged with a crime will interview four or five attorneys to find the one they think will be the best fit.
Other Things To Consider
There are some other things you’ll need to consider when retaining an DUI attorney to handle your case. For instance, it’s important to know the exact charges that have been filed against you. You’ll also need an agreement from your DUI attorney in writing so you’ll know exactly what you’re agreeing to financially and what to expect. Some DUI attorneys will provide you with a flat rate for your entire representation, while others charge an hourly rate. You’ll need to know this up front so you understand what type of expense you’ll be incurring. If you are being billed hourly, you’ll be required to give a retainer up front and this will cover a chunk of the initial hours. When the money is used up, you’ll need to pay the difference by the hour. Be sure that if you’re charged a flat rate that the price includes all of the costs involved all of the way through to the trial. Also be sure to ask your DUI lawyer if there are any other expenses or fees for which you’ll be responsible.
Differences That Affect Costs
Some DUI attorneys will provide a free consultation before you commit, while others start the clock at the very first visit. In addition, some DUI attorneys will expect to be paid by check or check while others may be willing to take a credit card. When you’re trying to scrape together a large amount of money quickly, the latter can make things a little easier for you.
What It Costs
Where you live, whether this is your first drunk driving charge and how experienced your DUI lawyer is will also affect the cost of your case.
For a basic first-time DUI defense lawyer, you can expect to spend between $500 and $2,000 if your case is simple and you make a plea bargain. But if you do go to trial, expect to spend $10,000 or more when you add in all of the costs.
Keep in mind that if you need to hire an expert to testify in your favor or to challenge specific evidence, this can add another $1,000 to $5,000 to your DUI attorney bill. In more complicated DUI cases, you can expect a DUI lawyer cost of $25,000.
So a DUI attorney can cost anywhere from $500 to $25,000. The average cost for a good attorney to represent a simple trial case is generally around $10,000.
Most DUI attorneys usually require a deposit up front to take on your case. The exact amount will depend on the details of your specific situation and what the overall case will entail. Since the price for most DUI attorneys can be expensive, often you’ll be able to work out some type of payment plan to manage the costs.
A Word Of Warning
Some DUI attorneys may try to convince you to pay very high rates because they say that they know the judge or the prosecutor personally. The reality is that most ethical judges and prosecutors won’t risk their reputation to help out a friend. Therefore, you want to hire a DUI attorney who will win your case not because of whom they claim to be or know, but rather because they are experienced and able to provide a solid legal defense.