DUI Attorney Cost
Is the added cost of hiring an attorney worth it?
With the costs of a DUI ranging potentially into the thousands of dollars, the additional DUI attorney cost might seem like too much of a burden for some. On the other hand, when you consider the confusing network of laws, between the implied consent law, the DUI law, and dealing with the prosecutor, it can be daunting, not to mention even more costly, for you to try to go it alone.
From a cost perspective, lawyer fees depend on a lot of things. For example whether DUI is the only charge or if there are other criminal charges too, if it’s your first, second or third DUI, and whether you’re planning on taking the DUI to trial or not, can all affect the total amount of attorney fees.
As far as the cost of a DUI in general, for the most part that’s going to depend on your criminal record and any past DUII convictions. If you qualify for the statewide Oregon DUI Diversion program, the diversion fees are only about $500. Once you get into the territory of convictions then you’re not only paying the fine which starts at $1000, but a lot of times you’re paying for other fees like probation fees, conviction fees, monitoring fees, perhaps an ignition interlock device, and likely, an insurance premium increase.
Hiring an attorney can can help you decrease the amount of the discretionary penalties imposed by the court, which are the fines. A Judge can set different fines based on somebody’s financial circumstances, the severity of the crime, and other factors. Additionally, having your attorney work with the prosecutor in advance of your court date gives you the advantage of knowing what you getting into. The ability to do so can make a huge difference for some people.
Can you save DUI attorney cost with a public defender?
Most people know that they don’t want a public defender if they can find some way to afford a private defense attorney. Their are a lot of reasons why this is true.
One of the biggest reasons is that there’s a lot going on with a DUI that a public defender is not going to help you with. Public Defenders are only required to help you with the criminal part of your case, meaning the part that could land you in jail. They’re not going to help you with license suspension consequences, or dealing with the DMV. They’re not going to go to a DMV hearing for you. They’re not going to give you advice on how to apply for a hardship permit to allow you to drive sooner than you otherwise would. There’s a lot of information that they won’t be able to give you.
Another reason is that public defenders are are extremely overworked. They may be able to meet with you once during your DUI case in their office but, in a lot of situations, they may also just review your police report and meet you at court. You’re not going to get a lot of insight from them.
The other thing to note is that court appointed lawyers aren’t free. They may be cheaper than a private attorney, maybe by a factor of a third to a half of the cost, but the court will tack on court appointed attorney fees at the end of the case. That could be either when you’re entering the diversion program or after you been convicted of a DUI. The only time a public defender is free is if you win. That way, no sanctions can be imposed – no fines, no jail time, no court appointed attorney fees. In simple cases the court will add court-appointed attorney fees of a few hundred dollars. For a more complicated case, that ends up going to trial, the cost of a court appointed attorney can be thousands of dollars.