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How Much Does a Detroit Drunk Driving Lawyer Cost?



If you have been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI), hiring an attorney to represent you is probably one of your biggest worries right now. You may be wondering how much a Detroit drunk driving lawyer costs, and this article will help explain how lawyers bill for their time.

While you don’t legally need a lawyer to represent you, you should remember that the State of Michigan takes DWI charges very seriously. If you have been accused of driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 or more, you will want an experienced Detroit DUI attorney representing you throughout the process. The right lawyer will consider different possible defenses and work with you through the process.

Some Detroit Drunk Driving Lawyers Charge an Hourly Fee

Some lawyers use an hourly rate to bill for their time. With an hourly rate approach, a Detroit DUI attorney charges a set fee for the actual time they work on your case, no matter how your case turns out.

Once you talk to several lawyers, you may notice that hourly fees can range significantly. This is usually based on a number of factors, including where the attorneys went to law school, how much experience they have, whether they are well-known for successfully defending DWI cases and where they are based. A lawyer who graduated from the University of Michigan Law School and has practiced for many years will charge more than a Detroit drunk driving lawyer who just graduated from a less competitive law school. A lawyer with fancy offices in Ann Arbor will charge more than one who has a simple office in Mexicantown.

Lawyers who charge by the hour typically bill in six- or 15- minute increments, and you will be billed every time your Detroit DUI lawyer works on your case, sends you an e-mail or talks to you on the phone. If your lawyer bills in 15 minute increments, you will be billed for 15 minutes even if your lawyer spends just 5 minutes on your case, so the costs can add up quickly.

On top of an hourly rate, you will also pay for all your lawyer’s expenses, such as travel costs if your lawyer needs to go visit a witness. A lawyer who bills by the hour will probably ask for a deposit, or retainer, up front and then will bill you regularly for his time.

There are advantages and disadvantages to paying a lawyer an hourly rate. Costs are unpredictable, but if your attorney can resolve your drunk driving case quickly, your expenses will be lower.

Remember that a lawyer who charges more by the hour may actually be cheaper in the long run. A Detroit drunk driving lawyer with more experience may charge more per hour, but may be able to resolve your matter more quickly than a less experienced, but cheaper, lawyer.

Other Detroit DUI Attorneys Charge a Flat Fee

You may meet with Detroit DUI lawyers who charge a flat fee, or one that you agree to before they take your case.

If you find a lawyer who charges a flat fee, check whether you have to pay for extras, such as court costs. You should also ask when the fee has to be paid since some attorneys who charge flat fees expect to be paid in full up front.

With a flat fee approach, costs are predictable, but you may need to give your lawyer the entire payment at the beginning of the case.

You may have heard of lawyers who charge a contingency fee. Lawyers will only work on a contingency fee basis when you may get a large payout or award, and they will take all of their payment out of that award. Since there won’t be a payout in a DUI case, you won’t find a Detroit drunk driving lawyer to take your case on a contingency fee basis.

Once you understand how much your case will cost, you will be able to make a more informed decision about the best attorney to hire.