If the potential danger to injure or kill someone driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is not enough to stop intoxicated drinking, the costs associated with a DUI charge, DUI defense, and potential DUI conviction should get everyone’s attention. Recently on our DUI forum a user asked, I have recently been charged with a California DUI. If I have to hire a lawyer and I am convicted, how much can I expect to pay for both the defense and all the fines and penalties?”
Cost to defend California DUI
Give the severity and possible penalties of a California DUI most drivers who are arrested should consider hiring a DUI lawyer. Unfortunately, unlike a Social Security Disability lawyer or a personal injury lawyer who work on a contingency fee and will only be paid if you win your case, a California DUI lawyer is a criminal defense lawyer and will expect payment prior to performing services.
Like all criminal cases, the amount charged for a California DUI defense will depend on the type and complexity of the case, the state in which you are arrested, and the ability of the attorney.
Costs will also vary depending on the services needed. For example, if you simply want a lawyer to appear in court with you and help you make a guilty plea, you may find a California DUI lawyer for as little as $1,500.
If, however, you want to plead not guilty and take your case to court for a trial, hire expert witnesses, investigate the procedures of your arrest, evaluate the chemical test and detention, and generate sufficient evidence to prove your case, it could cost as much as $25,000 or more.
How much will a California DUI cost if I am convicted?
While hiring a lawyer may be expensive, many individuals do not consider the costs if they do not hire a lawyer and they are convicted for a California DUI. Sometimes these costs can be much more detrimental to their future than the thousands of dollars they may have to pay for legal representation.
Penalties for a first time California DUI can include:
- Court imposed fine ranging from $390 to $1,000
- License suspension for up to four months
- Jail time
- DUI school
- Community service
- Vehicle ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle
Additionally, most DUI convictions cannot be expunged from a driver’s record, which can cause problems in the future.
What do I do if I am arrested for a California DUI?
The first step if you are arrested for a California DUI is to schedule a consultation with a DUI lawyer. A DUI lawyer can review your case and determine your options. They can also outline the costs of your defense.
DUI lawyers generally are paid either hourly or a flat rate. There are pros and cons for both fee structures, but the important thing is to understand the full costs of your defense before signing any type of legal contract.
A California DUI defense is going to be expensive. What you have to decide, however, is whether or not the cost of not a hiring a lawyer is more expensive in the long run.
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