How Much Does A DUI Lawyer Cost?
$700 – $3,000 (6–12 Month Process)
When entering a plea, a DUI lawyer typically costs anywhere between $700 and $1,500. If you end up going to trial, the costs associated with this process ranges between $1,500 and $4,000 on average, or as expensive as $10,000+ for more extreme cases. Get free estimates from DUI attorneys near you.
DUI Lawyer Cost
The average DUI lawyer costs $1,900 while other fees average $4,000 for a total DUI cost of between $5,000 to $8,000. Your attorney fees will depend if you accept a plea or take your case to trial. DUI lawyers charge $700 to $1,500 when accepting a plea, and $1,500 to $4,000 when going to trial.
|National Average Cost||$1,900|
|Average Range||$1,500 to $4,000|
From the time you're arrested to the time that your case is resolved, you can expect to undergo a 6 to 12-month process. The cost of a DUI is much more substantial than just lawyer fees. That is why it's important to seek legal advice, as this could help you reduce long-term costs and associated penalty fees.
Table of Contents
- DUI Fines
- Court Defense Costs & Fees
- DUI Classes Cost
- DMV Fees
- Ignition Interlock Devices
- Towing and Impound
Average Cost of DUI Lawyer
When entering a plea, a DUI lawyer typically costs anywhere between $700 and $1,500. If you end up going to trial, the costs associated with this process ranges between $1,500 and $4,000 on average, or as expensive as $10,000+ for more extreme cases.
How much you'll pay will depend on your case, particularly in regards to the complexity of your situation. For example, if your case is severe and complicated, you may need to go to trial for more days than the average case, which will drive up the final cost. When this is the case, there may be more witnesses involved, more expert reports to review, etc.
Fee Structures for DUI Attorneys
Like most attorneys, DUI attorneys tend to structure payment in one of two ways -- offering an hourly or flat rate.
- The first option is hourly, which typically costs an average of $300 per hour. Depending on the lawyer and location, you may pay $200 to $500 per hour. The key advantage here is that if your case is resolved quickly, you will not overpay. You will only be billed the short time period in which the DUI attorney worked on your case.
- In comparison, a flat rate is a fee that covers the entire course of your case. Depending on your circumstances, expect to pay around $3,000 in flat rate attorney fees with most offering a payment plan. When an attorney suggests this option, they generally believed that they could negotiate an ideal plea to avoid a long, rather costly trial.
DUI Cost for People Represented by Public Defenders
Those who are represented by a public defender tend to spend an average of $5,500 on their case, including between $700 and $800 on DUI lawyer fees. However, the cost of a public defender significantly ranges depending on numerous factors, including the state in which you reside. For example, in California, defendants are required to pay an upfront registration fee of $50.
First Offense DUI Lawyer Cost
If you are currently facing a "standard" first offense, you will likely be offered a first-offense plea offer. Typically, this is provided when there are no prior convictions and no aggravating variables involved in your case, such as a significantly high blood alcohol concentration, injuries, or accidents.
Based on their experience, DUI lawyers have a good idea of how such trials will unfold and in turn, offer a set standard first DUI fee.
Do I Need a DUI Attorney For First Offense?
Although you can represent yourself during the trial, it's not recommended. To represent yourself fairly in court, there is a steep learning curve involved in regards to the legal system and overall trial practice.
If you lack adequate experience and knowledge, you may be at a significant disadvantage. Since judges tend to have little patience for those who represent themselves without understanding the rules of court, a DUI lawyer is highly recommended.
Additional Attorney Costs To Resolve Your DUI
The punishment for a DUI is state-dependent, which means that not all states trial this crime in the same manner. Aside from lawyer fees and potential jail time, it's vital that you're aware of the following consequences and costs associated with a DUI.
When you are charged with a DUI, you will need to pay a set fine. The amount you'll be required to pay will depend on the severity of your case and your state. For a first time offense, expect to pay a fine between $300 and $2,000.
For example, in Florida, a standard first-offense DUI carries an average fine between $500 and $1,000. However, if your blood alcohol concentration is above .15% or a passenger under the age of 18 was present in the vehicle, you will face a fine closer to $2,000. If you caused an injury to another individual, you might need to pay a fine that is $5,000 or more.
Court Defense Costs, Penalties & Fees
When dealing with court costs, additional penalties and fees may slip your mind. However, they can quickly add up. While the actual prices of each expense below will vary, depending on various factors, you can expect to roughly pay:
- Anywhere between $100 and $2,500+ to be bailed from jail.
- Between $100 and $1,000+ for towing and impound fees, depending on your location and situation.
- Up to $250 for a sentencing fee and $100-$1,000+ for probation.
- Approximately $100 if you're required to take drug screening as part of a condition of probation or bail.
- Between $1,000 and $2,500 for driver responsibility fees. The total cost depends on your state, and this fee is in addition to your fines and court costs.
DUI Classes Cost
Most states will require you to take specialized classes or courses as part of your sentencing. Depending on the class itself, you can expect to pay anywhere between $100 and $500.
A DUI typically results in a suspended license. Once you are eligible to reinstate your license, this fee depends on your state. For example, in California, this fee is $125, and in Washington, this fee is $150.
Once you're charged with a DUI, your insurance company will consider you a high-risk driver. In turn, they will increase your premiums -- if they do not drop your coverage altogether. When insurance companies continue to offer coverage to those who have been charged with a DUI, rates typically increase by as much as two to three times.
On average, this equates to an annual premium that is often $1,000 more than those who have a clean driving record. However, depending on your state, this increase may be much steeper. For example, in North Carolina, following a DUI conviction, rates can jump as high as 371 percent; costing drivers up to $5,100 per year.
Ignition Interlock Devices
An ignition interlock device is essentially a breathalyzer for your vehicle. This machine will cost around $100 to install, in addition to a monthly fee that ranges for $60 to $80. The length of time you're required to keep this device in your car will depend on where you live as well as your conviction.
Towing and Impound
When you're arrested for a DUI, your car is towed and stored until you can retrieve it. These associated fees are your responsibility, often costing around $150 for towing services, plus $50+ per day when impounded.
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