DUI Attorney: Why Should I Hire One?

In 2018, it was estimated that over 10,000 lives were lost due to drunk driving. Alcohol-impaired driving crashes contributed up to 32% of all traffic deaths nationwide. Every 50 minutes, one more death occurs due to the drinking and driving. In the same year, Washington State alone lost 206 lives due to alcohol-impaired driving. The amount of injuries and deaths involved has stressed the importance of the active measures and penalties for DUI charges.

What are Possible DUI Penalties?

In Washington, a DUI charge is usually categorized as a gross misdemeanor. For such charges, the maximum DUI penalties that could be imposed upon someone are up to 364 days in jail and a fine of $5000. The degree of the punishment depends on an individual’s criminal history and the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). DUI penalties may include jail time or Electronic Home Monitoring (EMC), fines and fees, loss of license, probation, alcohol/drug assessment, and the ignition interlock device (a device that prevents the ignition of a vehicle if the driver’s BAC is over .025). Felony charges and more severe DUI penalties might be given under certain circumstances.

What Can a DUI Attorney Do For Me?

Not everyone knows a lot about law, especially state DUI laws. First, DUI lawyers can give you more information about your case. Second, experienced DUI lawyers may be able to get your case dismissed. Third, they make sure the procedures involved with your DUI charges are correctly executed. Any mistakes or errors found can be used to help you win your case. Fourth, since DUI attorneys have developed unique relationships with courts and the Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV), they can reduce DUI penalties or make the penalties more tolerable by suggesting penalty alternatives. For example, work service instead of jail time. Finally, a DUI lawyer can help you with more complicated cases. If you committed a DUI related vehicular assault or homicide, it is highly recommended that you hire a DUI attorney.

How Much Does a DUI Attorney Charge?

Most DUI attorneys do not charge for the first consultation. During this first consultation, you can ask for the overall cost of representation. Make sure to set aside an extra amount of money, in case additional fees occur during the hearing. Even if you are uncertain whether or not you wish to hire a DUI attorney, it would still be beneficial to gain some insights on your charge from an expert.

If you are considering hiring a lawyer, there are two types of payments: flat rate fees or hourly billing. Most people prefer the flat rate because they know the exact amount of fees they need to set aside. However, if your case does not go to trial, you are paying the same amount as others who are going to trial. For first time offenders who intend to plead guilty, the flat rate fees are between $500-1200 or more. Repeated offenders should expect $1500-$5000 flat rates. There is also an option of “Tiered Flat Fees” or flat fees that are divided flat fees into different stages.

Hourly billing allows you to pay precisely for the service you get, but you have much less control over the total cost. Hourly billing varies between $100-$300 per hour.

If your case goes to trial, the total cost can vary from $2000-$25000, either flat rate or hourly.

If you are concerned financially, discuss with your DUI attorney about financing options. Some would offer credit payments or discounts. You can also ask the court to provide you with an attorney at the government expense. You can also try getting a private DUI attorney to work on the case for free, but such opportunities are hard to come by.