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How Much Does a Portland, Oregon, DUI Lawyer Cost?

If you've been arrested and charged with driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII, also known as driving while intoxicated, or DUI) in Oregon, you've probably given thought to hiring a lawyer. But if you've never before hired an attorney, you may wonder how much a Portland, Oregon, DUI lawyer costs. This article will explain how a Portland drunk driving attorney charges for his services.

DUI lawyers charge for their time in one of two ways: An hourly fee (also known as an hourly rate) or a flat fee.

With an hourly fee, the lawyer has a per-hour rate he charges for his time. The attorney will carefully track how much time he spends working on your Portland, Oregon, DUI case, and will multiply it by his per-hour rate, arriving at the fee you must pay.

With a flat fee, the lawyer predicts how much time it will take him to handle your case and charges you a single price to handle the matter.

Each fee has its advantages and disadvantages.

Things to Know About an Hourly Rate

If you talk to several lawyers to handle Portland DUI cases, you may find that they each charge a different per-hour rate. That's because lawyers consider a number of factors when setting their rate, including experience, reputation, location and overhead expenses.

However, you shouldn't focus exclusively on a per-hour rate when judging cost. You also want to know how long the lawyer expects to work on your case and the total estimated legal fee. That's because a more experienced but more expensive lawyer may be able to resolve your drunk driving case more quickly than a less experienced, less expensive attorney.

The advantage of an hourly fee is that you only pay for the time the attorney works on your case. So if your case is resolved quickly, your legal costs may be relatively low. If, however, your case drags on, you'll pay more in legal fees.

When talking to a lawyer who charges an hourly fee, you'll also want to get an estimate of additional costs and expenses you'll be expected to pay.

Things to Know About a Flat Fee

The major advantage of a flat fee is that it is predictable. You know, in advance, exactly how much you'll have to pay a lawyer to handle your DUI in Portland.

The disadvantage of a flat fee is that if the scope of the case changes, you'll probably have to pay more in legal fees. Suppose, for example, you hire the lawyer to handle your case for a flat fee through trial, but then are found guilty and want to appeal. The cost of the appeal will not, in all likelihood, be covered by the flat fee.

When talking to a lawyer who charges a flat fee to defend a Portland, Oregon, DUI case, you want to know exactly what is and is not included in the fee. The lawyer should define not only the scope of the work, but also the costs (such as expert witness fees) that might be extra.

Questions to Ask When Interviewing Portland, Oregon, DUI Lawyers

When interviewing Portland drunk driving attorneys—regardless of whether they charge an hourly fee or flat fee—there are a few things to keep in mind. Lawyers may be willing to negotiate their rates, but you must do so before formally hiring the attorney. You can't hire first and negotiate later. Also, you'll be expected to pay your bill in full—and possibly make an up-front payment—regardless of the outcome of your case.

To better understand how much it will cost to hire a Portland DUII lawyer, ask the following questions:

  • Do you charge an hourly fee or a flat fee?
  • What is your fee? What is the estimated total cost, including other costs and expenses?
  • What is the scope of work that's included in that estimate?
  • Are your fees negotiable? Can you work within my budget?
  • When is payment due? What payment methods do you accept?

Once you have the answers to those questions, you'll understand the cost of hiring a Portland DUII attorney.