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How Much Does a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer Cost?

If you’ve been arrested and charged with a Los Angeles DUI, or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you know you need legal representation. Los Angeles DUI penalties can be severe, and you must be well represented in the legal system.

Since you need to hire an attorney, you may be wondering what a Los Angeles DUI lawyer costs. This article will help you understand the different ways attorneys charge for their time.

A Los Angeles DUI lawyer will usually bill on an hourly basis or charge a flat fee.

Los Angeles DUI Lawyers & Hourly Rate Billing

If an attorney uses an hourly rate, you are charged for every part of an hour the attorney spends on your case. The rate varies, depending on:

  • Experience and education: An attorney with years of experience and knowledge in Los Angeles DUI defense will charge more per hour than a less-experienced lawyer.
  • Reputation: If an attorney is well known in the criminal justice system, his reputation can be influential and helpful. You will usually pay more for an established attorney.
  • Location: For example, a Palos Verdes attorney has greater expenses and his clients are typically more able to pay a higher rate. His hourly rate will likely be higher than an attorney in Covina.

Lawyers who charge by the hour break each hour into increments, or smaller minimum divisions, for billing. The increments are typically six or 15 minutes. For example, if you send an e-mail to your attorney, it may take him five minutes to write a response. If the attorney’s rate is $100 an hour, using a six-minute increment you would be charged for just six minutes, or $10. Using a 15-minute increment, the time is rounded up to 15 minutes, costing $25. A higher increment can significantly increase the cost of your Los Angeles DUI.

Attorneys who use an hourly rate usually ask for a deposit, or retainer, at the beginning of the case and then will bill you regularly as your defense moves forward. Costs and expenses are usually additional to the hourly rate.

Los Angeles DUI Attorneys & Flat Fee Billing

Some Los Angeles DUI attorneys may charge a flat fee to handle your case. The flat fee is a single charge at the beginning of the case.

Because the fee is set, this arrangement is normally used when an attorney knows exactly how long it will take to resolve a case. A flat fee might be used if this is your first DUI and the case will be simple. A flat fee might not be reasonable if you’ve been arrested more than once. The Los Angeles DUI penalties go up and the difficulty of the case increases, making it less predictable and less likely to be taken on a flat fee.

Some costs and expenses, such as court fees and photocopies, may be included in the flat fee, and some may be extra.

Questions for Your Los Angeles DUI Lawyer

It’s important to understand the billing system before you hire a Los Angeles DUI attorney. The right questions will help you decide if an attorney’s fee arrangement is right for you. Some topics to ask about include:

  • The type of fee charged
  • The amount of the fee or hourly rate
  • The attorney’s estimate for handling your case
  • The billing of costs and expenses
  • The retainer amount, if any
  • Payment methods and available payment plans

When you know how your defense attorney bills, you can proceed with confidence.