DUI Lawyer Retainer and Fee Agreements
The fee agreement is your contract with your lawyer. It does several things to protect you and prevent misunderstandings. Most states require that any agreement by a lawyer to perform services on behalf of a person accused of a crime (including DUI) be in writing.
The agreement should outline your responsibilities, and your lawyer’s responsibilities.
DUI cases are complex, so don’t be surprised if the agreement is several pages long.
At a bare minimum it should outline the following:
- The matters to be covered, including sufficient identifying information to determine the court and the date of the arrest;
- The fee structure and any payment arrangements;
- Your responsibility for costs and expenses beyond the legal fee;
- Who within the law firm will be working on your case;
- When representation concludes.
Some states have ethical requirements that the lawyer include language advising you of your right to fire the lawyer at any point during the case. Some also require that the fee agreement explain that if you discharge the lawyer, or if the attorney withdraws from representing you before your case concludes, that the fee may be adjusted to make it fair and reasonable.
It is very important that you read the fee agreement very carefully. Call any questions you have to the lawyer’s attention before you agree to sign in and make a payment. While the agreement may be long, it should be easy for a non-lawyer to understand.