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DUI Attorney Cost

How Much Does a DUI Attorney Cost?

low costLow: First, Basic DUI/DWI Starts Around $500-$1,200 to $2,500+average costMedium: Often $100-$300 per hourhigh costHigh: Going to Trial Can Run $2,000-$25,000+
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Although the legal name varies based on state law, driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) is the most frequently committed crime in the United States, according to the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs.

Typical costs:

  • A DUI/DWI attorney may charge a flat fee or an hourly rate of $100-$300 or more. Some accept credit cards, and can be hired over the telephone. A lawyer charging on an hourly basis deducts the hourly rate from the retainer as the work is done. When the retainer is gone, you'll be billed for additional payment. Some lawyers provide a free initial consultation to go over the facts of your case; others charge their hourly rate for the time.
  • For a first DUI/DWI charge with few or no disputed facts and the intention to plead guilty flat fees start around $500-$1,200, but some attorneys may charge $1,300-$2,500 or more for the same case. Many experienced DUI/DWI lawyers say that charging higher fees lets them represent fewer clients, so they can devote more time to each case.
  • Legal fees for repeat offenders start around $1,500-$5,000 and up depending on the number of past convictions and the complexity of the case. Repeated offenses carry heavier penalties, and in many states a third DUI/DWI charge is automatically a felony.
  • Whether flat amount or hourly rates, attorney fee for a DUI/DWI case that goes to trial could run anywhere from $2,000-$25,000 or more. Many cases can be handled without a trial, but some attorneys specialize in fighting DUI/DWI charges.
  • If you want an attorney and can't afford one, you have to officially ask the court to appoint a lawyer at government expense and provide the court with details about your finances. Nolo Press discusses how to get the court to appoint a lawyer and representing yourself.
Related articles: Traffic Ticket Attorney, Drug Defense Attorney, Felony Defense Attorney, Drug or Alcohol Rehab, Drug or Alcohol Testing

What should be included:
  • Each state has its own specific DUI/DWI laws and consequences. The National College for DUI Defense provides an overview of DUI/DWI laws by state. A DUI/DWI conviction might mean loss of your drivers' license and/or jail time. The arrest and any convictions will also show up on background checks by future employers -- and if you're a doctor, lawyer, stockbroker, pilot or nurse, it can affect your professional license.
  • There might be several steps in a DUI/DWI proceeding, including the arrest, arraignment, pre-trial conference/hearing, motions, trial, and sentencing. The American Bar Association presents an overview of the criminal justice system[1] .
Additional costs:
  • If you choose to fight a DUI/DWI charge in a trial, the testimony of expert witnesses to challenge specific evidence can add $2,000-$7,000 or more.
  • Attorneys working on an hourly basis charge for time spent answering your questions on the phone or by e-mail, as well as case-related expenses such as interviews, research or photocopies. Whether on a flat or hourly rate, your attorney will cost more if there are retrials or appeals.
  • If convicted of DUI/DWI charges, fines and other penalties can run $300-$1,2000 or more; auto insurance rates can go up as much as 450 percent; and having your car towed and stored can cost $75-$250 or more. You might also be required to attend DUI/DWI school at a cost of $100-$400. Mothers Against Drunk Driving estimates the total cost (including legal fees but not including lost pay, medical costs or vehicle damage) at an average of $7,828-$10,828 for a first-time drunken-driving case, and various state and media reports place it as high as $10,000-$25,000.
Shopping for a dui attorney:
  • When you first meet with an attorney, know the exact charges against you, your court date, your bail amount and any other pertinent facts. Ask about the attorney's education, experience and area of specialty. A Michigan attorney lists things to consider when hiring a DUI/DWI attorney.
  • Search for an attorney through the National College for DUI Defense or the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys; or contact the nearest bar association in your state[2] .
  • Your attorney should provide you with a detailed written fee agreement. Read it before signing and keep a copy for your records. Be sure you understand what is covered, whether it's a flat fee or hourly charges against a retainer, and any other fees and expenses you might have to pay.
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What People Are Paying - Recent Comments
DUI Fees
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: Iceman in Any, CA.Posted: February 23rd, 2013 04:02PM
Type of Case: DUI DWIFirm: N/A
Hourly or Sum: N/AFee Per Hour: N/A
Many people facing a DUI or DWI still need a strong DUI Defense, and help with the DUI fees involved. Free online resources such as can help provide local DUI attorneys that will assist with flexible payments to afford the DUI fees fighting the case.
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DUI Attorny
Amount: $7,500.00
Posted by: BT in Atlanta, GA.Posted: August 12th, 2010 06:08PM
Type of Case: DUI, Reckless DrivingFirm: Davis, Kirschonbaum, Zipperman, Lotito
Had retainer set at 7500 which I gladly paid since he had expertise and thought he could get it off without going to trial and expunging it from my record. Everything worked as promised, I had 80 hours of community service. Although I wasnt even driving and was wrongfully charged, it was much better to get it fully expunged.
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