Any lawyer will tell you that driving under the influence comes at the risk of several consequences, ranging from penalties, fines, and potentially jail time. One of the costs that is the hardest to factor is how much you can expect to pay for competent legal representation.
If you have been arrested and charged with a DUI, the wisest course of action is to hire a lawyer. There isn’t an established pricing guide that every lawyer will attend to when it comes to rendering their services for a DUI / DWI case. However, knowing the factors surrounding your case can help narrow down the ultimate price to retain an attorney.
Common Factors to Account For
While there isn’t a universally agreed-upon price between lawyers, there is a multitude of aspects that can affect the final price tag of a legal bill, including:
- How the lawyer structures their billing method
- The rate at which the ascribe their billing
- Mitigating / Aggravating factors that require research into a case
- The time it takes to finalize your case
While the most likely figure you’ll focus on is the billing rate that the lawyer presents upfront, keep in mind that you should also take an attorney’s billing method into account. Whether a lawyer charges a case with a flat fee or an hourly rate can impact the result differently.
Lawyers that offer an hourly rate will charge, as indicated, by the hours they commit to investigating and working as your legal defense. If you have a clear-cut case or plan to plead guilty, this may pose the best option. If the case drags on, then this can quickly turn into a more costly solution.
A flat fee is an option that a lawyer may present, and it is a single price to retain a lawyer until the case comes to a finite conclusion.
Many lawyers will present one or both options, depending on how you plan to plead the case or if there’s a potential of it going to trial.
While a DWI attorney’s rates aren’t set in stone between the different firms, many in a local region will have competitive prices. You may want to price shop, but you won’t have the time available to you in many instances, as you will want a lawyer to start on the case right away.
Additional Fees Outside the Attorney’s Rate
The above rate will cover the expense of the lawyer’s time and the expertise that they bring to your defense. However, it doesn’t cover the fees related to additional legal costs. These ancillary expenses can include:
- Paralegal fees
- Investigator’s time
- Expert witness fees
- Travel / Per diem fees
Be aware that if you’re facing the courts in North Carolina, if found guilty, there may be further criminal court fees that you will be liable to compensate.
Hiring a DUI Attorney with an Hourly Rate
It can be hard to comprehend why lawyer fees can be so high until you factor in everything that makes up your legal defense. While it’s unlikely that an attorney has pulled a figure from the air, you can determine the pricing of their hourly rate according to several conditions, such as:
- The experience level of the attorney handling your particular charge
- The size (and thereby overhead costs) of the firm
- The regional rate for DUI attorneys
If you’ve been offered an hourly rate, it usually comes with the condition of a one-time down payment of a retainer fee. After the retainer fee has been settled, the attorney will begin on the case, and you will usually receive a monthly bill for the hours they have invested going over your case.
Many will charge a base hourly fee for their service regardless of how much of the hour was used to cover your case, and some will break it up into smaller increments.
Hiring a DUI Attorney with a Flat Fee
Not every lawyer will have an hourly rate. Some prefer to have the retainer fee encompass the entirety of the case in the form of a flat fee.
If you opt to hire a DUI / DWI lawyer who charges a flat fee, ensure you know everything that fee entitles you to. For many lawyers, this flat fee is for their time and experience and doesn’t cover the ancillary expenses described above.
Don’t Take on a DUI Charge By Yourself
Regardless of the type of billing method an attorney uses, it’s rarely wise to forego legal representation and take on the courts alone. Thankfully, you have access to a team of experienced lawyers who specialize in DUI / DWI cases. Contact us today for your free consultation, and we can get started on building you a formidable defense.