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How Much Does a Good DUI Lawyer Cost?

If you’re trying to nail down a single price for your DUI case, you may be surprised to find that there’s an incredibly wide range of costs for DUI attorneys in California. The final bill depends on many factors, including the number of hours worked and how bad your unique case is. If your case goes to trial, or if there’s a significant amount of work involved in your plea deal negotiations, the cost of legal services will likely increase above a standard rate, as well.

Pricing a DUI Attorney in Los Angeles

In Los Angeles, a basic lawyer with not a great deal of experience will usually charge between $2,500 and $3,500 for DUIs. If you want a good lawyer, you’re probably looking at a cost of around $4,000 to $5,500. A great lawyer is usually going to charge $6,000 or more. Even if you hire an attorney on the lower end of the pricing scale, you could still see charges meeting or exceeding the $6,000 if your DUI was particularly serious and includes factors such as the following:

  • You were involved in an accident because of your DUI
  • You have a history of substance abuse
  • Felonies are typically around $10,000 through the preliminary hearing.

Is the Cost of a DUI Lawyer Worth It?

Bear in mind that the cost of your DUI is far from a one-and-done deal. You’ll be facing many expenses over the coming weeks and months, which may include:

  • Court costs and fines – usually around $2,000 or more
  • Alcohol classes – $450 for minimum program, up to around $1,000
  • Increased insurance premiums, up to $2,500 per year for at least 3 years
  • Ignition interlock device, $500 or more

The money you spend on your lawyer will probably be worth it. He or she can help reduce your charges, which will ultimately help reduce the fines associated with the expenses. If your lawyer gets your charges reduced, that’s less money you’ll pay for the actual offense. In other words, you’ll likely be spending this money anyway by way of penalties. The difference is, when you funnel these funds through your attorney, he or she is working to help preserve your reputation, record, and as many freedoms as possible. Your lawyer will be fighting to keep you out of jail and working to help you keep your license and reduce insurance increases.

Related: How to Move On With Life After a DUI

If you choose not to hire an attorney, you’ll still be facing a significant bill when all is said and done, but you may have lost more than just the money. You may find yourself in jail or fulfilling a seemingly endless list of court-ordered requirements that could have been avoided.

Is a DUI Attorney Necessary?

Erring on the side of caution and proactively hiring an attorney is always better than finding out after the fact how much better your case could have gone if you’d chosen that route. If you’re facing felony charges, you want to hire a good lawyer; your costs will likely be more than someone who is just facing a misdemeanor because your case is going to take more time to fight and negotiate, but it’s not something you should attempt on your own.

If you’ve been charged with a DUI, it’s best to get an attorney sooner rather than later. Many DUI lawyers offer free consultations, allowing you to briefly meet with them before committing to the cost. Be sure to review your paperwork before you sign, and ask for clarification any time you don’t understand something. The cost of hiring a DUI attorney could be substantially less than you’ll pay in fines and penalties in the long run if you try to go it alone.

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