How Much Will a Good DUI Attorney Cost?
The cost of hiring a good DUI lawyer varies by jurisdiction.
You should expect to pay more in large metro areas than in small towns in rural areas. You should expect to pay more for a second offense than a first. You should expect to pay more for a felony DUI than for a misdemeanor.
With that in mind, you will find a wide range of fees. Typically, the top DUI lawyers charge more than new lawyers, or lawyers with lesser skills or reputations. However, there are some good DWI attorneys charging less than some terrible ones. For this reason, price alone should not be your main criteria when selecting an attorney to represent you.
As a general rule, when it comes to legal representation, you should not expect anything for free. A DUI lawyer in private practice will probably not agree to take your case pro bono (for free), even if you have a good case, and even if you shouldn’t have been charged with the offense in the first place.
The best way to get a feel for attorneys’ fees in your area is to call around and get several quotes.
When the economy is good, many lawyers try to charge as much as possible for each client. When the economy is poor, there are often “bottom-feeder” lawyers who charge insanely low prices for defending DUI cases (say less than $2,000.00 for the whole case) with the idea of getting a high volume of business and driving better lawyers out of business. These “bargain” lawyers typically take on way too many cases to be effective in any of them and often times leave their clients wondering whether they would have been better off with a public defender.
If you want an excellent DUI lawyer (and you should), expect to pay for it. Expect to pay between $4,000.00 and $30,000.00 or more depending on the location, the facts and complexity of the case, your criminal history and other factors.
High quality DUI lawyers charge substantial amounts of money to put their expertise and skills to work for you. They often times don’t make any more money than the “bargain” or “bottom-feeder” lawyers, because excellent DUI lawyers are excellent because they view their profession as a calling and accept far fewer cases so they can do the best possible job for each and every client. Money isn’t always the only determining factor of whether you will be able to hire the best DUI lawyer in your area.
The truly excellent DUI lawyers get plenty of referrals and don’t have to beg or bargain for cases. Some will assess you to see if your expectations are realistic and if you personality will be a pleasant one for them to work with. (As an aside, “bargain” lawyers don’t care about their clients’ personalities because typically they plead them guilty at the first possible opportunity and therefore don’t have to spend much time with them anyways.) Top DUI lawyers spend a LOT of time with their clients and earn their fees. Because they are going to invest so much time and energy fighting for you, they want to make sure that the time they spend with you is going to be enjoyable.