DWI lawyer is a phrase you never expected to see outside the occasional billboard. But after getting a DWI on the way home from your friend’s party, you have no choice but to Google it. As you see the names of lawyers fill the screen you wonder, “What is a DWI lawyer going to cost me, anyway? Will I need to dip into my savings?”
If you’ve recently gotten a DWI and want to know what hiring a DWI lawyer may cost, read on to learn what factors into lawyer fees and the types of billing there are.
What Factors Into Cost?
There are several elements that make up the true cost of a lawyer:
- Details of the case
- Lawyer experience
- Types of billing
“My friend got a DWI once and he paid X. Could I pay that much?” If your friend’s DWI case is exactly like yours then there is a chance you might pay something similar. But it’s more likely that your cost will be unique to you based on those factors mentioned above. So it’s best to not expect to pay a certain amount unless you and your lawyer have already agreed on one.
Details of the Case
One of the first cost factors to think about is the details of your case. How complex your case is and how much time your lawyer needs to build your defense really shapes your overall cost.
Suppose your DWI case is a simple one. There wasn’t any property damage and no one was hurt. You were just driving home from a party at a bar and happened to get pulled over. The cost to fight this might be much less than if your case had been more complex. However, if your case is more complicated, you may end up paying a higher price so your lawyer can properly represent you.
The second factor to think about is lawyer experience. You might be tempted to go with the first low-cost lawyer you find. “What’s the harm?” you think. “The price is right, so why not?” How much experience your lawyer has effects how much they’ll cost.
New lawyers price themselves low because they want people to hire them. The trouble is because they might not have the experience and expertise your case needs, you could end up spending more than what you would have spent on an experienced lawyer. Experienced lawyers who deal with DWIs regularly will know exactly how to handle your case and won’t need much time to figure out your next steps. New lawyers won’t have much experience and will likely need more time to figure out how to handle your case.
So unless you know for certain the low priced lawyer you hired has successfully handled DWI cases like yours, go with the experienced lawyer that costs more. You’ll get better representation and may save yourself time and money.
Just like housing prices and the cost of living, DWI lawyer costs are going to differ depending on where you are. According to Nolo.com Consumer Reports, the median legal fee for a lawyer was around $1,500. However, because this was the median price, there were equal amounts of cases where people paid more than $1,500 and less.
Nolo.com also notes that if your case goes to trial your DWI lawyer costs might be $2,000-$3,000. However, again, it all depends on your particular case and the price you and lawyer agree to.
Types of Billing
Not all DWI lawyers use the same type of billing, and the type used can affect what you pay. The two main billing types are hourly billing and case billing and there are advantages and disadvantages to each.
Hourly billing means you pay for the actual literal hours your lawyer puts into working your case.. You will also be responsible for paying extra fees and expenses your lawyer may incur, like copying fees. The advantage to hourly billing is the potential for lower lawyer fees. If your case is concluded without much hassle you could be paying a fee that’s easily affordable. Hourly billing also gives lawyers the incentive to really work your case if it needs it.
But that incentive might be a disadvantage as well. If your case doesn’t require much work and your lawyer wants to extend their payments, they could prolong their work to get more money. The other main disadvantage of hourly billing is that if your case turns out to be more complex than originally thought, you could be paying much more than you expected.
It’s always best to consider the type of case you have before choosing your lawyer.
Case billing is where you and your lawyer agree upon a set price that you pay upfront. No matter how much work and time your lawyer puts into your case, the cost does not change. Like with hourly billing, the are disadvantages and advantages.
The main advantage to case billing is that you know what your cost will be. If your case runs into complications you won’t be expected to pay more.
The main disadvantages are that you might feel you overpaid if your case is closed quickly, or having to pay court fees if your case goes to trial. If your case is settled super quick you might feel the fee you paid was too much since not a lot of work was needed. Now, some lawyers may be willing to refund some of your money if things worked out well fast, but others might not and it’s wise to not expect that.
There is also the possibility that your upfront payment only covers pretrial work. If your case goes to trial you might have to pay another fee. Of course, this should all be talked about with your lawyer before you officially hire them.
“What if I only want the advantages?” If you’re looking to get the advantages of both payment types you could agree to pay an hourly rate but only up to a certain amount. After that agreed upon amount is reached you won’t be expected to pay extra for anything else that’s done to for your case. The bonus of this payment plan is that you’ll get a refund if your case is settled quickly and assurance you won’t pay more if it’s not.
No matter what billing type you agree upon, you will most likely be asked to pay a retainer up front. Your lawyer should also send you updates so you know exactly what your retainer is being spent on and what your lawyer has done to help your case.
Hire the Best DWI Lawyer David Hunter Today!
If you want to know more about what a DWI lawyer will cost, or have gotten a DWI in the past, David Hunter can help. David’s extensive experience as a trial lawyer and Texas Judge have given him a unique perspective on the Texas criminal justice system that allows him to provide a top-notch defense to each and every client. He handles DWI cases regularly and knows exactly what to do so you’ll spend less time in court, and jail.
Call (281) 417-3117 or click below to schedule a free consultation and see how David Hunter could help you with your DUI case today!