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How Much Does a DUI Lawyer Cost?

Few, if any, people budget for hiring a lawyer after a DUI arrest. The cost of representation varies. It can feel "pricey." But when considering a DUI lawyer's fee, first consider the cost of a DUI conviction.


 

These are all estimates, but a first time DUI can cost you over $20,000. Even more if it isn't your first time. And that's just the financial penalties.



A DUI lawyer can be costly. But it is nothing compared to a DUI conviction


Here are some general numbers:


  • The cost of your insurance is going up. Way up. Some reports say up by $1,500, but $3,000 - $6,000 have been reported in Florida.

  • Your minimum required coverage is going up. WAY UP. Florida is one of TWO states that require FR44 insurance after a DUI conviction. So, in addition to your higher rates because of higher risk, your minimums go up. That's an extra $300 or so a month. For three years. That's another $10,800 or so. Keep in mind that impacts the cost of your insurance as well.

  • You'll pay court fees and fines, and the cost of prosecution. Figure at least $1,000, but likely much more. It depends on the particular facts of your case (i.e. BAC level, property damage, injury, etc.) and whether it is a first or subsequent offense.

  • If you can get a hardship license, add on another $225 or so.

  • If you can't get a hardship license, you are paying to get to work, school, etc. Cost, and lost time.

  • Towing fees will be around $250.

  • Boot fees will run around $175.

  • Probation costs will run around $500.

  • You will have to pay for DUI school. Budget in about $280.

  • Another $75 fee for Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

  • Depending on your circumstances, around $500 for treatment.

  • If required to install an ignition interlock device, that's at your expense. Factor in another $550 - $2,000. Initial installation and ongoing monitoring fees.

  • Lost income if fired from your job, or if sentenced to any jail time.


It's pretty clear that a person charged with DUI has an awful lot to lose, at a very severe price. While an experienced DUI lawyer cannot change the facts, it is important to have the right advocate who can fight for the best possible outcome to avoid these costs and get you back to your normal life.


The cost of a DUI lawyer depends (or should depend) on a few things: the client’s criminal, traffic, and driving history; the complexity of the particular case; and, the DUI lawyer him or herself. It can range from around $3,000 to the tens of thousands of dollars, plus costs (more on that below). That’s a big range, so let’s try to break it down.


Client’s Criminal, Traffic, and Driving History

The heavier the weight, the more it costs. Like checked luggage. Except much, much more devastating. 


The State of Florida is very harsh when it comes to DUI offenses. If you have a criminal history, the prosecutor is less likely to be reasonable. If you have prior DUI arrests or convictions, state law requires more severe punishments. And even if your prior arrest resulted in a lesser offense disposition, the DUI arrest is still in your driving record and the prosecutor will know that.


The more history, the more work is required to try and secure a positive result in your case.


The Complexity of Your Particular Case

Were you confronted in a parking lot? Pulled over? Involved in an accident? Did the accident involve property damage? Did the accident hurt someone else? Did someone die? 


Did the officer have probable cause for the stop? Were the Field Sobriety Tests conducted properly? Did you consent to the breathalyzer test? Was that process done properly?


The more serious the charge and related facts (including associated traffic citations), the more work it will take. And even the "simplest" DUI case is complex. In addition to the constitutional and procedural issues that often arise in a criminal case, DUI cases require specialized experience and thorough investigation.


The DUI Lawyer

After considering the seriousness of the facts surrounding the charge and your personal criminal and traffic history, the last cost factor is the lawyer you are considering.


This is hard to quantify. There are "going rates" generally, but every lawyer's experience, expertise, business model, and more means this aspect will vary. But it factors into the cost of your lawyer's time.


Ultimately, the cost of a DUI conviction will almost always far exceed the cost of a DUI lawyer. It's important to understand that when considering your quoted fee. Sometimes cost alone will drive your decisionmaking. However, the right lawyer will have the experience, expertise, and relationships; and he or she should also have multiples ways to make justice accessible to you.




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