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How Much Does a Tennessee DUI DWI Lawyer Cost

The consequences of getting arrested for driving under the influence, or DUI, in Tennessee can be expensive. They include losing your driver's license, DUI school tuition, fines, and possible jail time. More than ever, it is important to hire a lawyer to represent you. But you may be wondering how much a Tennessee DUI attorney costs. This article can help.

Several factors can have a big influence on how much you will pay a Tennessee DUI lawyer. They include:

  • The billing method the lawyer prefers
  • The billing rate
  • How much you will pay in related legal expenses
  • How long it takes to resolve your Tennessee DUI case

As important as the billing rate is the billing method a lawyer uses. Typically, Tennessee DUI lawyers use one of two billing methods: the hourly fee or the flat fee.

With an hourly fee, you pay for the actual time the attorney works on your case. And a flat fee is one price for the time a lawyer puts into a driving while intoxicated, or DWI, case.

Neither the hourly fee (also called an hourly rate) nor the flat fee is all-inclusive. You are likely to pay for many other expenses. Such items could include:

  • An investigator's fees
  • A paralegal's fees
  • Photocopying
  • Court fees
  • The cost of hiring an expert witness
  • Rates among Tennessee DUI lawyers can be competitive. However, facing DUI charges, you don't have much time to spare.

    Some lawyers may be receptive to negotiating their fees, but only before you hire them. After you have hired an attorney, it is too late to renegotiate fees.

    Hiring a Tennessee DWI Lawyer by the Hour

    Whether you are in Knoxville or Henderson or any other part of Tennessee, if you decide to hire a DUI lawyer who charges by the hour, you'll probably have to pay a retainer fee as well. A retainer fee is like a down payment for the legal services to come.

    You'll then likely receive monthly billing statements. Your lawyer will expect prompt payment.

    Tennessee DUI attorneys typically break their hourly fee into 15-minute or 6-minute increments. The difference can end up costing you.

    For example, if your attorney takes five minutes to email you something, the cost for his or her time is different depending on how the hourly fee is broken down. A lawyer who charges $200 in 15-minutes will charge you $50 for that email. A lawyer who charges the same $200 but in 6-minute increments will only charge you $20.

    A lawyer's hourly fee is calculated by considering:

    • How much experience the lawyer has
    • The going rate in the area
    • How much it costs to run the office or law firm

    Don't disregard an attorney because he or she is busy or charges more. More experienced Tennessee DUI attorneys may save you money by being more efficient with their time.

    Hiring a Tennessee DUI Lawyer who Charges a Flat Fee

    Some Tennessee lawyers who focus their legal practices on representing clients charged DWI prefer to charge a flat fee. It allows them the ability to collect their entire fee up front.

    How you pay the fee will vary from attorney to attorney. You'll want to know what forms of payment are acceptable and whether any payment plans are available.

    A flat fee is not all-encompassing. You are likely to have many other expenses, such as court fees, that are not included in the flat fee.

    In addition, flat fees are rarely refundable. This means that should you decide to change Tennessee DWI attorneys in the middle of your case, you will not get your money back. If you have any doubts about an attorney, you should resolve them before hiring him or her on a flat fee basis.

    To better understand how the flat fee works, ask a prospective attorney:

    • What is included in the flat fee?
    • What is not included?
    • Is the flat fee refundable?
    • How can I pay you? Do you take credit cards?
    • Do I have to pay you all at once? Can we break the payments into installments?
    • May I extend the payments past the conclusion of my case?

    The Cost of Hiring a Tennessee DUI Attorney

    Whether a lawyer you're interested in hiring charges a flat fee or an hourly fee, you need to ask a lot of questions. Here are some relevant questions to ask:

    • Do you charge a flat fee or hourly fee?
    • What is your rate?
    • What does the fee include? What does it not include?
    • Can you give me an estimate of what I might pay in related legal expenses?
    • How and when do you expect payment?
    • Does your fee have room for negotiation?

    When you get the answers to these questions, you'll know exactly how much a DUI lawyer in Tennessee costs.