How Much Should Lawyer’s Fees Cost To Defend My DUI Case?


You really wouldn’t believe that defending a DUI case can cost $10,000 and up to defend, would you? DUI cases are good money makers for cities and states, and here are some of the items involved in defending a DUI case that help to add up to such a large amount:


  • When you were arrested and/or ticketed, those tickets cost hundreds or thousands
  • If you were arrested, there are jail fees
  • If your car was towed and/or impounded there are fees for towing and storage of your vehicle
  • If you had an aggravated DUI that carries felony charges, you may have been required to post bail and possibly even hire a bail bondsman
  • To defend the loss of your driver’s license, you may have to pay to attend a hearing to determine whether you’ll keep your license or lose it
  • Your auto insurance rates will go up if convicted for a period of 3 years or more
  • You may be required to pay for DUI classes, alcohol or drug treatment and evaluation
  • You may have to pay for an ignition interlock device on your car
  • You might have to pay for home detention using a SCRAM device
  • If you want competent representation to defend your DUI case, you’ll have to pay a private attorney who has a much better chance to give you a proper defense to your case… which brings us to how much attorneys may charge and the breakdown of how they do it:


Hourly Vs. Flat Rates


For no other reason than personal preference or past experience, some DUI lawyers charge on an hourly basis or a fixed rate. One way isn’t necessarily better than the other, however many attorneys charge a flat rate for a DUI case, and another separate rate if the case goes to trial.


You may feel like the meter is running if you’re on an hourly rate plan and prefer a flat rate, or you may only be looking for a few hours of representation. If you think about how many hours can be spent preparing to file motions, drive to and from court and spend time there in front of the judge to make appearances for you, and to research the facts of your case, it may be better to go for a flat rate that leaves a lot less to the imagination.


The rates that DUI lawyers charge range anywhere from $1,000 to $50,000 for a case, depending on whether it’s a first time DUI, aggravated vs. non aggravated, the state where it happens, how much work and travel is involved, and a million other factors that you might not even know about until the case is evaluated. Talking to several local DUI attorneys in a given area will usually give you a much tighter range cost wise.


Taking Your Case On A Contingency


When it comes to personal injury cases or other areas of law, contingency cases are common. For drunk driving or other criminal charges, fees are almost always required up front to mount a defense. Many attorneys will consider payment plans, however, and this can make it far easier to retain them if you can’t afford to pay all of the money up front.


Attorney Retainer Agreements


Believe it or not, DUI lawyers get stiffed all the time on their fees, and the way the justice system operates, it can be difficult for an attorney to get out of defending a client, even if that client hasn’t paid them in full. Obviously, having an angry drunk driving defense lawyer represent you because they’re forced to isn’t going to give your case the best outcome, so please make sure to pay them for their services.


So how do lawyers protect themselves to ensure they’re going to get paid for a case? They use retainer agreements that spell out their duties, their fees, and what their services entail. If there are payment arrangements, they’re spelled out in the retainer agreement. If there are special items that require a written disclosure, you will find them written up in the agreement as well. In essence, a retain agreement is a written contract between you and your lawyer that spells out your relationship with them.


By Richard Jacobs

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