How Much Does a Dallas DWI Lawyer Cost?
Charges of driving while intoxicated (DWI) are serious and can be costly. You will need the services of a Dallas DWI lawyer. This article will explain how DWI lawyers bill their clients.
If you just cannot afford an attorney, you may ask the court to appoint you a public defender. You will have to prove your financial situation is bleak. You may make this request in jail or at your first court appearance. If your request is approved, you do not get to choose which lawyer is assigned to you.
If you do not qualify for a public defender, you should find a private criminal defense attorney. Some lawyers only represent clients charged with DWIs, which are also sometimes called driving under the influence (DUI), operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OVI) and operating under the influence (OUI). However the charges are referred to, you want an attorney who has experience representing clients with charges similar to your own.
The stakes are high. Under Texas law, if you’re charged in Dallas with a DUI, the penalties you face include fines, possible jail time, loss of your driver’s license and the installation of an ignition interlock device on your car. By comparison, the costs of Dallas DWI attorney will seem low.
In general, DWI attorneys in Dallas bill their clients one of two ways: Either an hourly fee or a flat fee. They both work just as they sound, but there’s a lot more to them than just billing by the hour or offering a single fee to cover the lawyer’s time.
Dallas DWI Lawyers Who Charge an Hourly Fee
Several factors go into calculating an attorney’s hourly fee. Experience and reputation boost an hourly fee. At the same time, that same experience and reputation may get you a swift, optimal resolution. Don’t necessarily rule out the lawyer with the higher hourly fee.
Location can influence a lawyer’s bill. The going rate in Highland Meadows may be different from the going rate in Fair Park.
The overhead lawyers pay to run their offices will also influence how much they charge. Higher rents and higher utility bills will require higher legal fees to cover these expenses.
If you choose a Dallas DWI lawyer who bills by the hour, you’re likely to also pay a retainer fee. A retainer fee is like a deposit on the legal services to come.
Lawyers who charge an hourly rate break that hour down in one of two ways: Either in 15-minute increments or six-minute increments. The difference can be huge.
Take, for example, an email that requires five minutes to write. The lawyer who bills $200 an hour in 15-minute increments will charge you $50 for that email. The lawyer with the same rate but broken down in six-minute increments will only charge you $20 for that same email.
Dallas DWI Attorneys Who Charge a Flat Fee
A flat fee covers all the time a Dallas DWI lawyer will spend on your case. However, there are many other costs that are not included, such as court fees. It is important to be clear about what is and is not included in a lawyer’s flat fee.
In addition, flat fees are often not refundable. This means that if you decide to switch lawyers, you will not get your money back.
Most Dallas DWI lawyers will ask that their flat fees be paid up front. Find out what kind of payment plans are available and what forms of payment the lawyer accepts.
Whether he bills by the hour or with one flat fee, a Dallas DWI attorney may be willing to come down in price. But you can only ask for these adjustments before you agree to hire an attorney. Once you have hired someone, it is too late to renegotiate the fee structure.
Other Legal Costs
Neither the hourly fee nor the flat fee includes all costs. There are other related legal costs that will be passed on to you. They may include:
- The cost of an investigator
- Photocopying fees
- The cost of a paralegal if one works on your case
- Any travel-related expenses the lawyer may incur
Make sure you know what the lawyer’s fees do not include so that you won’t be surprised when you are billed separately for these and other items.
Questions to Ask a Dallas DWI Lawyer
To get the best understanding of what your legal bills may total, before hiring him, ask a DWI lawyer:
- Do you charge by the hour? If so, what is your rate?
- Do you charge a flat fee? If so, what is that fee? Is it refundable?
- What is included in your fees? What is not? Can you give me some examples of how high these other expenses might go?
- Is there any room for negotiation in your fees?
The answers to these questions will give you a much better understanding of how much it costs to hire a Dallas DWI lawyer.