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How Much Does a Boston DWI Attorney Cost?

In Boston, a DWI (driving while intoxicated) conviction is a serious offense. You could lose your driver’s license. You could go to jail. You could even destroy your career. Not to mention the impact on your personal life.

If you’ve been charged with a DUI in Boston, you need a drunk driving attorney who can aggressively defend you. You also need a lawyer that understands the DUI trial process.

You’re probably also wondering how much DWI attorneys charge for their services. Well, the answer is it varies. This article will help you understand how Boston DWI attorneys bill for their services.

Boston DWI Attorney Fees

DWI attorneys from in and around Boston, including Quincy, Newton and Northampton, bill for their services in two ways: They charge hourly rates or a flat fee for their services.

Please note that most lawyers will negotiate fees for services, but this has to be done before hiring takes place.

Hourly Rate Charges

When a lawyer charges an hourly rate for services, the lawyer and the law firm's staff document the time spent on your case and then send you a bill. A more difficult case will probably require more work than a less difficult case.

The lawyer's hourly rate varies according to a number of factors. Lawyers with good reputations and a lot of experience cost more than lawyers who’ve recently finished law school. The size of the city also impacts an attorney’s rates. Lawyers in larger cities charge more than ones based in small towns or rural areas. In addition, a lawyer’s overhead expenses are factored into the hourly rate.

In addition to the attorney’s fees, you'll be expected to pay related expenses, which can include the cost of court reporters, copying, computerized research, trial exhibits and expert witness fees.

Generally, lawyers will bill for their time in six- or 15-minute increments. For example, if your attorney bills in six-minute increments, a two-minute phone call at $200 an hour would cost $20. If your attorney charges in 15-minute increments, that two minute phone call at $200 an hour would cost $50.

Regardless of the outcome of your case, DWI lawyers must be paid for time worked on the case. In Boston, drunk driving attorneys that bill hourly will ask for an up-front deposit and send monthly bills to clients for payment.

There are pros and cons to hiring a lawyer who bills by the hour. People who hire a lawyer by the hour have little control over the total cost of services rendered. Costs will be high if a case takes a long time. On the other hand, costs will be low if the case is resolved quickly.

Flat Fee Services

A flat fee is a fixed fee for service that covers all costs of your case. Essentially you agree to pay a rate up front. DWI lawyers will charge a flat fee if the work required of them is fairly straightforward.

Flat rate fees may include the following:

  • Pre-trial hearings and conferences
  • All court appearances
  • Research
  • Negotiations with the DA’s office
  • A judge or jury trial
  • Arguments before the judge

The benefit to paying a flat fee is that you know how much you will be charged. Flat fee rates generally are paid before a Boston DWI lawyer begins working on your case. If a DWI case goes to trial, a flat fee charge is more economical. If your case is resolved before trial, you are still required to pay the same rate.

Ask a potential attorney if the flat fee is refundable. If you hire another lawyer, some attorneys may not refund the money.

Contingency Fees

You may have heard that some lawyers charge contingency fees. Contingency fees are most often used in personal injury cases where the lawyer will take a percentage of the winnings or settlement. In Boston, DWI lawyers may not charge a contingency fee. Ethics rules forbid lawyers from charging contingency fees in certain cases. These include criminal matters, such as a DWI, or in family law matters.

Educate Yourself

Learn more about the legal issues if charged with DUI. By better understanding the costs associated with hiring a DWI lawyer from the Boston area, you can feel more comfortable with your attorney and the whole legal process.

The following are some key questions to ask lawyers about their rates:

  • Do you work on an hourly rate or charge a flat rate?
  • What services will I be charged for and are there any extra costs that I must pay?
  • Can you estimate how much my case will cost?
  • What are my payment options?

Whatever billing method you decide upon, ask the Boston DUI attorney to put it in writing. Make sure to review the written agreement with the lawyer to ensure you understand all the terms in it.