When you find yourself entangled with the law because of a driving under the influence (DUI) charge, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, especially if it’s your first offense and you don’t carry knowledge about the legal matters involved in a DUI case.
It’s always recommended to hire a DUI lawyer to guide you through the entire process. But of course, hiring a lawyer would come with extra costs — costs that are worth the investment because you can guarantee your case goes smoothly and increase the chances of receiving favorable results.
If you’re thinking about hiring a DUI lawyer, your first question would definitely be how much it costs. We break down all the expenses of hiring a DUI attorney, as well as other fees involved in your DUI case.
Costs to Hire a DUI Lawyer
Some factors come into play when determining the cost of a DUI lawyer. Some examples include:
- The reputation of the law firm or the attorney
- The lawyer’s experience
- Whether they are a private lawyer or public defender
- The state where they practice
- If you accept a plea or go to trial
- The complexity of your case
On average, you’ll be spending around $700 to $1,500 if you accept a plea and $1,500 to $4,000 if you go to trial. If you choose to be represented by a public defender, the attorney’s fees would amount to $700 to $800.
It’s worth noting here that these are not the only expenses you will encounter in your DUI case. You can expect a total spend of $1,900 to $4,000 for a DUI case with a private attorney and an average of $5,500 for a public defender. Extreme DUI cases can amount to $10,000 or more because it can take months before the resolution of the case.
Two Ways DUI Lawyers are Paid
DUI lawyers can choose to adopt a unique structure of payment for their legal services. Depending on the preferences of your chosen attorney, you will either pay an hourly rate or a flat rate.
The most common payment structure for DUI attorneys is an hourly fee, usually at a rate of $200 to $500 an hour, depending on the lawyer and where they practice. While the hourly rate is a viable payment option, it’s only cost-effective for simple DUI cases because these are often resolved in a short period of time.
Extreme cases, such as those with a lot of witnesses, expert reviews, or other complexities, can last for as long as 12 months. If the DUI attorney is paid by the hour, this can be expensive for the client.
Other lawyers offer a flat rate for their services, which covers the entire time that they work with you. This would usually amount to $3,000, more or less — again, depending on the lawyer and the location where they practice.
Other Costs Involved in Your DUI Case
Getting entangled in a DUI case is not a cheap endeavor. Aside from your attorney’s fees, you will have other expenses such as fines, court fees, DUI classes, and more. Do keep in mind that the numbers listed are only estimates because the amount can differ based on your state.
The court procedures that will be undertaken for your DUI case will require a separate fee, including but are not limited to:
- Sentencing fee – $250
- Probation – $100 to $1,000
- Drug screening as a condition for bail or probation – $100
- Bail – $100 to $2,500
- Driver responsibility fees – $1,000 to $2,500, depending on the state
- Ignition interlock device – $100 for installation and a monthly fee between $60 to $80
- Towing and impound – $100 to $1,000 depending on the state
A person charged with a DUI case typically gets their license suspended. If they are deemed eligible to reinstate it, they need to pay for the fees set forth by the Department of Motor Vehicles. The amount depends on the state where your license is valid, costing anywhere from $100 to $200.
Depending on the severity of your case and the State where you reside, you may be required by the court to attend DUI classes. These are mandatory as they are part of the sentence. DUI classes can cost anywhere from $100 to $500.
A person charged with a DUI will need to settle a fine, the amount of which depends on several factors.
- First-time offenses – $300 to $2,000 depending on the state and the severity of the situation
- Blood alcohol concentration – about $2,000 depending on the BAC and state regulations
- Injury to another individual – $5,000 and above depending on the state
Do You Need a DUI Lawyer?
While a DUI lawyer is not required to undergo a DUI case, it’s highly recommended. An attorney who is experienced with cases like yours can help you navigate your case and inform you about the fees involved. A DUI lawyer can also help you achieve a fairer and more favorable sentence.