According to statistics taken by the NHTSA, drunk driving has seen a significant decrease of at least 80 percent over the years. However, despite this considerable drop, Operating under the Influence (OUI) numbers have increased significantly. In addition, the studies conducted by the NHTSA have indicated that over 15% of drivers test positive for the use of one or more illegal drugs. And, if you happen to get behind the wheel after using recreational drugs or after having too many drinks, you may end up facing OUI charges.
In such cases, you need the help of a Meltzer & Bell, P.A. attorney to help with your defense. However, not too many people know the lawyer charges you have to pay for an OUI defense attorney. This article will take you through everything you need to know about the cost of hiring an OUI lawyer.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire an OUI Lawyer?
The cost of hiring an OUI lawyer depends on two factors: whether you accept a plea bargain or take your case to court. If you accept a plea bargain, the legal fees for hiring an OUI lawyer will be $700 to $1,500 on average. If your OUI case goes to trial, the average cost for your lawyer will be $1,500 to $4,000. You can also pay as much as $10,000 or more for extreme OUI cases.
The amount of money you pay in legal fees will depend on the complexity of your case. For instance, if your OUI case is complicated and severe, your trial may have to go on for a few more days than other average cases. The extended duration of your case will undoubtedly drive up your total lawyer cost, as there will be more expert reports to review and more witnesses to interview.
Fee Structure Options for OUI Lawyers
Like any other attorney, OUI lawyers have structured payment their clients can choose from. These two options are:
This structure option is where your lawyer charges you an average amount per hour. For instance, your lawyer can ask for an average of $300 per hour. However, the rate of each lawyer depends on their experience and location. The essential advantage of this payment option is that your case is resolved quickly, ensuring that you don’t overpay. In addition, your lawyer only bills you for the duration they spent working on your case.
A flat-rate fee structure is a fee that covers the entire duration of your case. This payment option, however, depends on your case circumstances. If your attorney suggests this payment plan, they believe they can negotiate a plea deal that will help them avoid a lengthy and costly trial.
Additional Costs Required to Help Solve Your OUI
The punishment of an OUI charge depends on each state, meaning that states will not treat this crime the same way. Apart from paying your lawyer fees and possible jail time, other costs and consequences are associated with OUI charges. They include:
When charged with Operating Under the Influence, you may have to pay a set fine. The fine you pay depends on your state and the severity of your case. For first-time offenders, the average fine you’ll be expected to pay will be between $300 to $5,000. For instance, the penalty for first-time offenders in Massachusetts is from $500 to $5,000.
Court Defense Costs, Fees, and Penalties
When dealing with your court cases, there can be additional fees and penalties. The price of these penalties varies depending on several other factors. These fees and penalties include:
- Your bail, which can be anywhere between $100 and $2,500+
- Towing and impound fees that average between $100 and $1,000+ depending on your situation and location.
- Sentencing fee of $250 and $100- $1,000+ for your probation
- A drug screening fee of $100, which is a condition for your bail or probation
- Driver responsibility fees are between $1,000 and $2,500. However, the cost will depend on your state. It’s also important to note that this fee is part of your court and fine costs.
While each fee and penalty may not look like much, they can quickly add up.
Insurance companies often consider people charged with Operating Under the Influence as high-risk drivers. As a result, these companies end up increasing their premiums or dropping your coverage. If your premiums increase, you may end up paying two to three times more.
The rates lawyers charge are entirely different. Therefore, it’s always important to ask for an estimate before hiring a lawyer for your OUI defense. Also, keep in mind the additional costs when discussing aspects of your case.