There are various financial costs associated with an arrest for driving under the influence in Florida. In the event of a conviction, the costs in which an offender faces often increase considerably. This is particularly true for individuals who have previous convictions for similar crimes in Florida.
When it comes to selecting a DUI lawyer to help defend your charges, the fees that are charged often influence who you choose. Lawyers who specialize in DUI and defense have more knowledge and maneuvering the complex legal process of DUI cases.
Those arrested for DUI in Florida who want to fight their DUI charges should expect to pay their attorney fees, court fees, and any fines imposed from a guilty verdict. Those who choose to represent themselves in court without a DUI attorney may incur higher fines for their convictions. With the possibility of fines up to $5,000 for some convictions, it is wise to consider hiring a DUI attorney to try to lessen the negative consequences of a conviction.
Costs Associated With A DUI Defense
Individuals who want to hire an attorney to help fight their DUI offense should expect to pay court costs and attorney fees. Generally, DUI attorneys will either bill you on a flat fee or hourly fee basis. If a lawyer provides representation on an hourly rate, they will charge the defendant an agreed-upon rate each hour for time spent working on their defense case. Once you and your attorney agree on a payment option, they can begin working on a solid defense for your charges.
In addition to attorney fees, there are other fees that you may incur on your case. Some of these fees include:
- Photocopying fees;
- Paralegal work hours;
- Independent lab testing;
- Travel expenses for attorneys; and
- Expert witnesses and investigators.
Additionally, there are various court fees offenders should expect to pay. These fees often depend upon the severity of the DUI charge as well as the county in which the case is in. Bail or bond may also be required to gain a release when the trial is pending.
Lawyers who charge less for representation often do so because they have volume practices. These individuals will not have adequate experience and qualifications necessary to defend serious criminal DUI charges. You should avoid lawyers who market themselves as individuals who will “match or beat” fee quotes provided by other lawyers. Instead, you will want to find reputable and experienced attorneys who:
- Appear in court regularly to help clients;
- Argue the law effectively;
- Write various articles about criminal law to show their knowledge of the field;
- Practice and deliver seminars to other attorneys or law students; and
- Those who blog or speak to public groups about various criminal law defense topics.
Quite often, individuals who are former public defenders or prosecutors have a firm grasp of criminal law and forming adequate defenses to help clients have their charges dropped. Whenever you schedule a meeting with a potential attorney, you should get a sense of trust and confidence in their knowledge and abilities.
Factors That Often Influence DUI Lawyer Fees
Various factors play a critical role in influencing the amount for fees an attorney will charge. Some of these factors include the business structure of their law office, their credentials, and the amount of experience they have. The amount of time a lawyer will have to dedicate to your defense may play a critical role in determining your costs for representation. This is particularly true for cases in which lawyers provide representation on an hourly fee basis. These amounts can be significant in cases where lawyers spend many hours overseeing investigations and speaking with witnesses.
Most attorneys will require you to pay a retainer up front for representation. This down-payment will be anywhere from 25% to 50% of the expected total fees for your case. In most cases, attorneys expect you to pay off the remaining balance within a few weeks or months. In some federal cases, attorneys will expect you to pay a significant portion of your attorney fees up front.
Before hiring an attorney, it is critical to discuss any payment schedules and attorney’s fees. You need to have a clear understanding of the financial requirements of adequate representation for your Florida DUI charge.
How Much It Can Cost You To Not Hire A DUI Attorney
Quite often, individuals focus on the cost of hiring a DUI attorney so much that they forget the extreme costs associated with not hiring one. Being convicted of a DUI in Florida can have a major impact on a person's life. Those convicted are often unable to continue their education due to having a criminal record. There are many careers in which individuals with DUI convictions are unable to work.
Not having the ability to further your education or secure a promising career can have a major impact on your finances over a lifetime. Furthermore, individuals convicted of DUIs often suffer serious short-term consequences. Those convicted often face steep fines, possible jail time and a suspension of their driver's license. These financial burdens and restrictions can have a major impact on a person's ability to complete tasks, get to work, and take care of their families and personal needs.
If you have been arrested for a DUI offense in Florida, it is imperative to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Our team at Musca Law is available 24-hours a day to help you when you are in need. If you would like legal advice, contact our law firm at (888) 484-5057 to schedule a free case evaluation.