If you have been arrested for a DUI, one of the first things you need to do is to get a lawyer. Before you hire one, it would makes sense to get a general idea of how much a DUI lawyer costs in your area.
There are two aspects of a DUI:
- the administrative charge where your license is suspended and
- the criminal charge, where you can be convicted of a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances of your case
Most people hire a lawyer, to avoid getting your license suspended and avoid having a criminal record so that such DUI record would not critically impact education prospects, employment opportunities, or ability to remain in the US.
How will a DUI lawyer in a criminal case charge?
A DUI lawyer in a criminal case will either charge you a flat fee or an hourly rate. In a flat fee, you will pay a one-time fee that includes everything. In an hourly rate, you will pay a retainer fee, which will act as a deposit for the hourly rate of the lawyer. As the lawyer bills you for the hours, such amount in the billing is deducted from the retainer fee. Most retainer fee agreements in New York begin at $3500.
A DUI lawyer can charge you a flat fee, ranging from $2500 to $4000, when it is your first offense and there are no other aggravating circumstances, such as:
- Drinking while underage
- Causing an accident resulting to personal injury or property damage
- Very high blood alcohol content
- Child endangerment for young passengers in the vehicle
- Leaving the scene of an accident
Here, the lawyer will charge a flat fee because without aggravating circumstances, there is a greater chance of getting a plea bargain agreement with the prosecutor. With a plea bargain agreement, there are less hours worked for the DUI lawyer because court appearances, preparing for trial, and filing motions and other pleadings are minimized.
A DUI lawyer will charge you an hourly rate, when it is your second offense or more, or any of the above aggravating circumstances are present. In this case, getting a plea bargain might be more difficult and you might have to go to trial. For example, when, because of your drunk driving, you caused another person serious physical injury, the prosecutor will not let you off the hook easily. The DUI lawyer knows it will require more hours to handle your case. Generally, the attorney’s fees for a simple DUI case can range from $2500 to a complex case easily reaching $10,000 or more.
Other financial costs of a DUI
Aside from the DUI lawyer’s fees, you will have to consider the following financial costs: fines, costs and penalties, insurance, DMV fees, follow up tests, community service supervision costs, rehabilitation and safety courses, driver’s license reinstatement, and installation of an ignition interlock device. All these costs add up.
The best strategy is to not drink and drive. But if you have been arrested for DUI, the next best strategy is to get an affordable and experienced DUI lawyer who can help you in your case. Don’t try to defend yourself on your own unless you’re an attorney since a DUI conviction in New York will be in your record for at least 15 years and may hurt your educational prospects and employment opportunities.
Should you need assistance in your DUI, we at the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin are here for you. We have offices in New York, NY, Brooklyn, NY and Queens, NY. You can call us at 718-509-9774 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.