Drunk driving can have a negative effect on your life. It can damage your reputation and affect your job applications in the future. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can become costly between court-imposed DUI fines, substance abuse education, and treatment fees, and increased auto insurance premiums. Many people often wonder, 'How much is a DUI lawyer?'
If you’ve been arrested or charged with a DUI offense, it’s crucial to be ready for the potential costs that come along with a DUI charge. Fortunately, hiring an experienced DUI criminal defense lawyer can minimize the criminal penalties you may face and keep a clean driving record.
If you have been arrested or convicted for drunk driving, it’s time to call a DUI lawyer. An experienced DUI criminal defense attorney knows what your legal options are and can guide you through this stressful period. A DUI lawyer can help you after a DUI arrest through the pretrial period and during the trial if necessary. Also, an attorney can keep track of the relevant documents on your behalf, file the appropriate information as required, and attend court hearings on your behalf, which means you don’t have to make multiple trips to the courthouse just to drop paperwork.
DUI criminal defense lawyers can also help you navigate the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) process to get your driver’s license reinstated. In most states, after a DUI arrest, you’re subject to an automatic suspension. Driver’s license reinstatement requires you to update your SR-22 insurance, file paperwork, and other crucial steps.
While it’s important to hire a DUI attorney after a DUI arrest, a DUI lawyer comes at a cost. The following factors affect the national average cost for a DUI criminal defense lawyer:
In many states, blood alcohol concentration that’s higher than the legal limit is a criminal offense; you may be arrested, held in jail awaiting arraignment, and then tried in court. However, most DUI cases don’t go to trial. Similar to other defense attorneys, DUI lawyers mostly charge a flat rate to offer pre-trial legal representation and an additional flat fee to defend clients in court at trial. Nationally, the average lawyer cost for DUI is $1,500-$3,000. Typically, DUI attorneys charge less for first-time misdemeanor convictions and they charge more for felony DUI charges.
Generally, the average DUI criminal defense lawyer costs $1,900, and other fees average $4,000 for a total DUI cost between $5,000 and $8,000. The attorney fees depend on whether you accept a plea deal or take your DUI case to trial. DUI attorneys charge $700 to $1,500 when accepting a plea deal, and $1,500 to $4,000 if your case goes to trial.
Also, some DUI lawyers charge by the hour. The average hourly rate is $300 per hour. Depending on the DUI lawyer and location, you might pay $200 to $500 per hour. The benefit here is that if your DUI case resolves quickly, you won’t overpay. You will only be charged for the short time period the DUI attorney worked on your case.
Many DUI criminal defense lawyers and other defense lawyers charge a flat fee, which is determined after consultation with potential clients to learn the facts of their case. Some DUI attorneys charge $2,000-$4,000 for misdemeanor DUI representation. Felony charges bring a higher flat-rate.
Beyond the DUI lawyer fees, the additional cost associated with DUIs and reckless driving charges includes the cost to post bail, court-ordered fines, DMV fees, increased auto insurance rates, license reinstatement fee, expert witness fees, costs for traffic school or substance abuse education program, vehicle towing fees and storage cost if your car is impounded, property damage fees, and the cost of lost income if the DUI offender has to take time off work.
Also, some defendants have to pay for the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) and a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) on their car to prevent them from driving while drunk. According to a 2015 Martindale-Nolo study, the average total cost of a first-time DUI conviction, inclusive of hidden costs, is $6,500.
Apart from the attorney cost, most drunk driving charges come with hefty fines and penalty besides jail time, which is another reason to hire an experienced DUI attorney to represent you during the DUI proceedings and work to reduce or eliminate fines and jail time. In Rolling Meadows, Illinois, DUI fines range from a few hundred dollars for first-time misdemeanor DUI convictions to up to $10,000 or more for felony DUI convictions.
Often prosecutors have a standard first-time DUI offense plea offer. This means they offer every first-time offender a standard first-time DUI the same plea deal, which is the lower end of the allowable first-time DUI sentence. A DUI offense is considered a standard first DUI if the DUI offender has no previous DUI convictions and the DUI offense doesn’t involve any aggravating factors such as traffic accidents, personal injuries, or high blood alcohol content.
A standard plea offer is the same no matter whether the defendant is represented by a private DUI attorney, public defender, or if the defendant hires no attorney at all. Thus, it seems like hiring a DUI lawyer in a standard first DUI case isn’t worth it. This is true for some DUI cases, but in reality, the standard plea offer is just a starting point.
An experienced DUI attorney can whittle down the standard offer by pointing out weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case or bringing mitigating factors to the prosecution’s attention. A DUI lawyer with familiarity with local laws, the district attorney, and the judge can help with these types of negotiations.
Accepting a standard plea offer isn’t a good idea, especially if you have viable defenses and strong evidence. However, if you choose not to hire a DUI attorney for your first DUI, you might not know if there are such defenses. Thus, before accepting any plea deals, it's essential for first-time DUI offenders to get an attorney’s opinion.
Though you’re entitled to self-representation in a DUI trial, it’s never a good idea. The learning curve for trial practices and DUI laws is steep, and it comes only with substantial experience. A lack of trial skills and legal expertise will put you at a tremendous disadvantage in court. Further, judges have no patience for self-represented defendants who don’t understand the rules of court. Thus, if your DUI case is likely to go to court, you must hire a legal representative to represent you. Also, a DUI attorney can get your first-time DUI charges reduced to a lesser charge.
If you’re underage and you’re caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you may face the strictest penalties. Hiring a DUI criminal defense attorney for underage drinking and driving can reduce your sentence. Many states want to reduce underage drinking and driving, and thus, the blood alcohol level for minors is much lower. Most states have a zero-tolerance law, in which any amount of alcohol detected in an underage driver can lead to a DUI arrest.
Also, minors are likely to face DUI charges for underage drinking besides DUI and DWI. So having a knowledgeable DUI attorney who has represented minors who have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can be helpful.
If you drive for a living, you face harsher penalties for drunk driving. For instance, if you’re a commercial driver. If your livelihood depends on your commercial driver’s license (CDL), it’s crucial to hire a DUI lawyer to help you deal with DUI criminal charges. At Dohman Law Group, our top-rated DUI attorneys are dedicated to providing effective legal representation to clients charged with drunk driving offenses and other related legal matters.
Our criminal defense law firm also focuses on driver’s license law and representing those seeking license reinstatement of their suspended or revoked driver’s license before the Illinois Secretary of State. From misdemeanor DUI charges and felony DUI charges to the complex license reinstatement hearings, we’re committed to offering high-quality drunk driving defense to our clients.
To schedule a free initial consultation, call us today at (847) 616-9993, or chat with us online to learn how we can help.