Whenever I have a potential client ask 'how much does a DUI attorney cost', I can hear a tone in their voice that indicates they are bracing for bad news. Although legal representation for a DUI is not cheap when viewed in isolation, it is a relatively minor expense when compared to everything else that comes with the consequences of a DUI. I do believe that trying to represent yourself is often far from the cheaper choice. This post, however, is limited to answering the original question: 'How much does a DUI attorney cost'. I will follow up this post with another one that addresses all of the collateral expenses associated with a DUI at a later date. The cost of a DUI attorney largely depends on three factors. The first factor is the number of DUIs in the person's history. 1st time DUIs are often far less complicated compared to someone with a history of DUIs. The second factor is what Tier the DUI is. This is determined by the BAC at the time. The 3rd major factor that influences price is if an accident or injury was involved. This creates a broad range of possible legal fees for your DUI.
The Overall Range
The cost of a DUI attorney typically ranges anywhere from $1,500 to $5,000. Most attorneys require payment upfront or at least 50% down. Starks Law has pricing models and payment plans that typically deviate from the traditional fee structure so feel free to inquire with one of our attorneys. This range is typical and commonly seen here at Starks Law. However, do keep in mind that a fee can exceed the range if unusual circumstances are involved or if a full trial is necessary to resolve the issue. Most fee quotes do fall within this range for a DUI and first time offenses are typically on the lower side of the range.
Number of Offenses
From this point on, it just isn't possible to really narrow the range down further but it is important to know how the major 3 factors influence price and why. Number of offenses impacts the price because of programs or opportunities that are often available to first time DUI offenders that are not available for repeat offenders. One such program is ARD. Qualifying for ARD removes some of the complexities surrounding legal representation. Less legal complexity is reflected in the overall fee of representation. Qualifying or not qualifying for ARD alone is not the only reason a prior history of DUIs might influence how much a DUI attorney costs. Repeat offenses add complexity outside of the ineligibility of ARD because the fines and penalties are increased.
Another major influence on price is the DUI Tier you are placed in. Tiers range from 1-3 in PA and are determined by your Blood Alcohol Content("BAC"). Tier 1 is between .08%-.10%, Tier 2 is .10%-.16% and Tier 3 is anything at or over .16%. Starting at Tier 2, jail time sets in with a range between 48hrs to 6 months. Additionally, The fine for a Tier 1 may only be $300 while a Tier 2 or 3 can be up to $5,000.
Accident and/or Injury
Accidents, injuries or having a minor in the vehicle are often what drives pricing to the far end of the range or beyond it. This is because there are often more charges than just the DUI at this point. The complexity of legal representation is significantly increased along with the potential consequences including jail time, fines and restitution.
The overall takeaway from this article should be that the cost of a DUI attorney varies greatly and depends on several factors that will be unique to your case. Although a range can be given that fits 90% of DUIs we see, the only way to accurately know the cost of a DUI attorney is to call for a free consult. Legal representation always comes with a fee, but consultations are always $0 at Starks Law. Give us a call today so that we can accurately assess what legal representation would cost for you.