What Factors Affect the Average DUI Attorney Cost?


How much does a DUI attorney cost in California? Well, that depends. In this guide, we discuss what factors can influence the costs. Over 1.5 million people are arrested every year for driving under the influence. If you're part of that number, you might find yourself facing jail time or other heavy penalties in court. So now what?

The first thing you need to do is hire an attorney to be on your side. We've put together this guide to help you prepare for the DUI attorney cost so you can find legal representation that fits your budget. Let's get started.

How Much Does a DUI Attorney Cost?

On average, you'll have to pay about $3,000 to get quality legal representation in your DUI court case. However, this number is just a rough estimate. The exact cost of a DUI attorney in California can be much higher (or much lower) depending on the specifics of your circumstances. Here's a closer look at some of the factors that will impact the price of a DUI attorney.

Experience Level

When you hire an attorney, you want someone that knows what they're doing, has a good reputation with the judges, and has been winning cases similar to yours for years. The problem is this: everyone else wants them as well.

Because of the demand, good attorneys charge more money for their services. You don't have to pick the most experienced attorney in your area to fight for you in court. However, you definitely don't want the cheapest attorney you can find either. You get what you pay for, and a cheap attorney might not be able to win your case.

Instead, pick someone in the middle. Make sure your attorney has at least three to five years of experience working on cases like yours so you know they can handle your needs.

Where They Live

Where you live plays a big part in how much you'll pay for a DUI attorney. For example, most California attorneys tend to be more expensive than, say, attorneys in Connecticut.

This doesn't mean, though, that you can save money by hiring cheaper attorneys from other states. You need to hire an attorney that operates in the same state where you were charged with a DUI. Even if you live in Ohio, you will need to hire a California attorney if you were arrested in Sacramento.

How They Charge

The way you pay for your case can also change the amount you pay for your case in the end. Most attorneys will charge you in one of the following ways:

  1. Flat Fee - At the beginning of your case, the attorney will charge you a single, flat fee to cover the entire thing. No matter what happens during the case, this fee will stay the same. This is the most preferred payment agreement among criminal defense attorneys.

  2. Hourly Rate - When you hire a DUI attorney, it is unlikely this is the method you'll use. The attorney will charge a set amount of money per hour, so the longer your case, the more expensive it will be. This is most likely in a family law case.

  3. Contingency Fee - With a contingency fee, the attorney will only get paid if you win your case. When you're awarded your compensation, the attorney will take a percentage of it, usually about 33%. Defense attorneys don't provide this type of payment option.

Make sure you ask any attorney you hire about their rates and how they change before you hire them. This way, you won't be hit by any surprises later.

Other Case Fees

Aside from paying your attorney, there are a few other costs you may have to cover during your case. For example, you might need to pay extra for things like:

  • Discovery (i.e. police reports)

  • Blood tests

  • Towing and impounding (for your vehicle)

  • Court ordered fines and fees

  • Experts

  • Investigators hired by your attorney

Some of these costs are big. Some of these types of costs are often small, but depending on your case, there could be a lot of them. They add up fast. Ask your attorney about what extra fees are covered by them and which costs you'll have to cover.

Case Complexity

Is your case simple and straightforward? Then it won't take long for your attorney to handle, so the cost will be low. A complicated case that will stretch out for months or even years, on the other hand, will be much more expensive for your attorney. Because of this, they'll likely charge you more to help cover the costs.

Current Caseload

If an attorney is already handling a lot of cases, they may charge you extra. Why? They'll have to work overtime to keep up with all their clients, so they'll need more money to cover their labor.

Keep in mind, you shouldn't hire an attorney that doesn't have time for your case. It's okay to hire an attorney that's working with other clients, but if they don't have enough time to dedicate to your case, they might miss things and make mistakes. It's better to hire an attorney you know is dedicated to you rather than one that can't give you their full attention.

How to Find the Best DUI Attorney Cost for Your Budget

Before you hire an attorney for your case, make sure you spend your time doing your research. It's also a good idea to set up free consultations to interview potential attorneys so you learn more about them. Doing this will ensure you get the best DUI attorney cost for your budget.

Not sure where to start looking for the right legal help? Don't hesitate to get in touch with our team at Prentiss Law Office. We'll take a look at your case and put together the best strategy to get you through the court as fast as possible.