Tiered Flat Fee Agreements In DUI Cases
Some DUI lawyers prefer flat fees that involve multiple phases or tiers.
The tiered flat fee. A variation of the flat fee structure splits the flat fee into several phases. For instance, an attorney may charge a flat fee for everything up to trial and then charge an additional fee if the case proceeds to a trial. There may also be a separate flat fee for DMV/MVD license hearings and appeals.
Under any variation of the flat fee, the client should not be billed hourly. The idea is that you know up front how much the defense will cost. That way you can plan, and don’t have to worry about the meter running.
The idea behind the tiered fee, as opposed to a true flat fee, is that you shouldn’t pay the same amount for a simple plea bargain as another client pays for a complex trial.
Below are some examples. The amounts of the fees are arbitrary and used for illustration purposes only.
(a complex tiered DUI attorney fee):
Tier 1: Case initiation: For $3,000.00 the attorney will handle the arraignment and the first pretrial hearing. If you enter a deal at the first pretrial hearing, your case is done.
Tier 2: Investigation fee: If your case goes through the first pretrial hearing without settling, then your attorney will charge another $3,000.00 to work the case up, investigate the witnesses and the crime lab, and consult with a defense expert.
Tier 3: Civil Licensing Hearing fee: If a civil license hearing is required in your case, your DUI attorney will charge you a flat fee of $1,000.00 to do the hearing.
Tier 4: Litigation: If the case is litigated through substantive or procedural motions, your attorney will charge a flat fee of $2,000.00 to draft and argue the motions.
Tier 5: Trial: If the case goes to trial, your attorney will charge a flat fee of $3,000.00 to do the trial.
Tier 6: Appeal: If the case is appeled, your attorney will charge a flat fee of $4,000.00 for each level of appeal.
(a simple tiered fee):
Tier 1: Pretrial: A flat fee of $5,000.00 to handle everything except a trial.
Tier 2: Trial: A flat fee of $5,000.00 to handle the trial if a trial is necessary.