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How Much Does a DUI Lawyer Cost?

3 min read
Blair Matyszczyk, Attorney

by Blair Matyszczyk, Attorney

Charges for driving under the influence (DUI) are no small matter regardless of where you live in the United States. You’ll want a DUI lawyer to resolve your case. Since the facts of each DUI charge is unique, the cost for your case can be different than the costs of another person’s case.

A DUI lawyer typically asks for a retainer between $3,000 and $5,000 to get started, valuing their time (and any additional time) at a few hundred dollars per hour.

Unbundled Legal Help works with affordable attorneys who address DUI matters between $1,500 and $2,500 to start. The lawyers in our network also offer free, no-commitment consultations. You can ask for guidance during an initial consultation.

Breakdown of Expenses to Address a DUI Charge

Once you get a lawyer for a DUI charge, you need to know what you’re paying for. Receiving itemized bills for completing forms and filing briefs with the court can be a wake-up call.

The services a DUI lawyer provides for a full representation – either to enter a plea or have a lengthy court case – involve:

  • Initial consultation and case evaluation
  • Formulation of plan on how to reduce or fight your DUI charge
  • Drafting and filing legal motions
  • Court fees and filing costs
  • Billable hours spent by your lawyer and staff members completing paperwork   
  • Hours spent in the courtroom
  • Hours spent working directly with you

What Makes DUI Cases So Expensive?

Even a first offense DUI charge is no laughing matter. The severity of your DUI charge is one factor that can increase the cost of a lawyer. Others include the following:

  • Existing criminal history
  • The severity of a DUI charge, which can be aggravated by child endangerment or an alcohol level far above the legal limit
  • Violation of probation
  • Multiple criminal charges attached to the same DUI offense, such as leaving the scene of an accident or driving while on a suspended license
  • The injury or death of another person in connection with your DUI event

Overall, less severe DUI charges do not cost as much as DUI charges that have multiple components requiring legal expertise.

Getting a DUI Lawyer to Manage or Fight Your Case – Know What to Expect in Your Jurisdiction

When fighting a DUI charge, it is a good idea to know your state’s law on DUIs, as penalties differ based on where you are arrested. A DUI lawyer can help explain what trouble you’re in and how to get out of it.

Since DUI convictions can create a permanent record, you want to be sure you are not risking other legal issues down the line. A misunderstanding of DUI laws may even lead to jail time. Consequences from choosing to represent yourself will likely be more severe than they would be with legal guidance.

Even if you feel certain you can handle a DUI case on your own, it can help to talk to a DUI lawyer for an evaluation of your case.

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