How Much Does a Massachusetts DUI OUI Lawyer Charge
If you've been arrested for driving under the influence, or DUI, of drugs or alcohol, you need a Massachusetts DUI lawyer. A lawyer costs money for sure, but so do the consequences of a DUI conviction. This article will explain the financial side of hiring a Massachusetts DUI attorney.
In Massachusetts, DUIs are also called operating under the influence, or OUIs, and they can result in some serious penalties, including:
- Fines of at least $500
- Suspension of your Massachusetts drivers' license for at least one year
- Possible installation of an ignition interlock device
- Possible jail time
To protect your rights, you need a Massachusetts DUI OUI lawyer. In general, Massachusetts DUI OUI attorneys bill for their time in one of two ways: either with an hourly fee or a flat fee.
A DUI OUI lawyer in Massachusetts who works for an hourly fee bills the client for the actual time he or she works on the case. Someone who offers a flat fee has one rate for the lawyer's time.
However, not all services are included in either the hourly fee or the single, flat fee. You will likely pay additional, related legal expenses not covered by the lawyer's rate. Such expenses could include:
- Court fees
- A paralegal's fees
- An investigator's time
- Travel-related expenses
- An expert witness's fee
How much you spend on a Massachusetts DUI OUI lawyer depends as much on his or her billing method as it does the actual rate. A lawyer who charges an hourly fee can be much less expensive (if the case is resolved quickly) or cost more money (if the case drags) than a lawyer who charges a flat fee.
To summarize, the various factors that can influence the size of your legal bill are:
- The billing method the lawyer prefers
- The actual rate charged
- How long your case takes to resolve
- The amount of other, related legal expenses you will have to pay
Rates among Massachusetts DUI OUI lawyers can be competitive. However, because you may not have much time to comparison shop, you should know that you may be able to negotiate a more favorable billing rate.
It is extremely important that any conversation about discounting legal fees take place before you agree to hire a lawyer. Once you hire a lawyer, it is too late to renegotiate legal fees.
Hiring a Massachusetts DUI Lawyer by the Hour
The hourly rate of a Massachusetts lawyer who handles driving while intoxicated, or DWI, cases is influenced by several factors, including:
- The amount of experience the lawyer has
- The going rate in the area
- The overhead it costs to run the office or law firm
A lawyer who charges by the hour will likely ask you to pay a retainer fee, which serves as a down payment. After that, you'll probably receive monthly statements. Your lawyer will expect prompt payment.
Whether you in Boston, Springfield, Cape Cod, or elsewhere in the state, you'll find that Massachusetts DUI lawyers often divide hourly fees into 15-minute or 6-minute increments. A 6-minute increment system works more to your favor, especially for tasks that don't require a lot of time.
Take, for example, a 5-minute phone call. A lawyer who charges $280 an hour in 15-minute increments will charge you $70 for that phone call. A lawyer with the same hourly rate but who charges in 6-minute increments would only charge you $28 for that same phone conversation.
Massachusetts DUI/OUI Lawyers who Charge a Flat Fee
Some Massachusetts lawyers who represent clients charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated, or OVI, prefer to charge a flat fee. This is because it assures them they will be paid in full before resolving the case. The terms of these flat fees can vary from lawyer to lawyer. You'll need to get the details on:
- How much the flat fee is
- What it includes
- What it does not include
- Whether you have to pay it in one lump sum
- What kind of payment plans are available
- If it is refundable
Many times the flat fee is not refundable. This means that if you decide to switch lawyers, you may lose the money you paid. If you have any doubts about an attorney, resolve them before hiring him or her on a flat fee.
The Cost of Hiring a Massachusetts DUI OUI Attorney
While you are still in the interview phase of searching for a Massachusetts DUI OUI lawyer, you need to ask a lot of questions about billing. Consider asking:
- Do you charge by the hour or use a flat fee?
- What is your rate?
- Is there room for negotiation?
- What does your fee cover? What is not included?
- How and when do you expect payment?
- What other expenses will I pay on top of your fee? Can you give me an estimate for them?
The answers to these questions will tell you just how much it costs to hire a Massachusetts DUI OUI lawyer.