The issue of legal fees and how much you should pay for a DUI is a complicated subject, but some people just want a direct answer. This very short article will answer the question, “How much do you charge?” I decided to put this article in front of the one that follows, although it covers the very same subject. As I noted, this can turn into a rather detailed discussion, and for the person pondering who to hire, and what he or she should pay, I think that a more detailed analysis is warranted. Yet I cannot deny that some people want to get right to the point, so this is my salute to them. Even here, I am really fighting back the urge to explain a little more, so perhaps the reader will agree to a compromise: I will list my legal fees in DUI cases without further adieu, and then provide a very brief “explanation” thereafter. First, however, I need to include 1 big, important disclaimer: This is my fee schedule [updated on May 1, 2019] as of the day I write this. It will change down the road. Everything goes up, and these prices eventually will, as well:
1st offense OWI (Operating While Intoxicated), OWVI (Operating While Visibly Impaired), OUID (Operating Under the Influence of Drugs), or OWPD (Operating While in the Presence of Drugs): $3800. A retainer of ½ ($1900) down is required to start, with the balance to be paid prior to the conclusion of the case. Price does not include fees for extra work like motions to challenge evidence, deviation requests or trial.
High BAC (OWI W/BAC of .17 or Greater): $4000. A retainer of 1/2 down ($2000) is required to start, with the balance to be paid prior to the conclusion of the case. Price does not include fees for extra work like motions to challenge evidence, deviation requests or trial.
2nd offense OWI, OWVI, OUID or OWPD: $4200. A retainer of ½ ($2100) down is required to start, with the balance to be paid prior to the conclusion of the case. Price does not include fees for extra work like motions to challenge evidence, deviation requests or trial.
3rd offense OWI, OWVI, OUID or OWPD: From $7200. Price does not include fees for extra work like motions to challenge evidence, deviation requests or trial. Fees can be higher depending on multiple factors;
an exact quote will be given at the time of initial phone consultation.
For all the legal disclaimer stuff, it really works out like this: A first offense DUI is $3800, a High BAC case costs $4000, a 2nd offense DUI is $4200, and a 3rd offense (felony) DUI is $7200. These are my fees. They are based in large part upon my 25 years’ experience, and my extensive, post-graduate study of alcohol and addiction studies. I bring an unmatched combination of legal and clinical knowledge into the courtroom, and those things combine so that I can achieve the very best results in DUI cases. I put my heart and soul into each client’s case to make sure we produce the very best outcome legally and humanly possible.
I am perplexed as to why so few (if any) lawyers list their prices up front. I’m not so dense as to understand that this disclosure runs against the grain of what everyone else does, but I have always operated on the basis of treating others as I would wish to be treated, and, as a starting point, I run like hell from any operation that treats its prices like some kind of national security secret. If I need information, I want at least a general idea of what something is going to cost. If I call a plumber and describe a problem, I don’t necessarily expect and exact quote over the phone, but I’d like a ballpark idea. When the best someone can tell me is that he or she has “no idea,” I write them off because that kind of answer makes it seem more like they have no clue.
The truth is that listing prices can scare people off. It can allow the savvy price shopper to quote your fee to the next lawyer, who can then undercut you by a few hundred bucks. I never value my services in that way. No one brings my skill set to the table; if you take the time to read even a few of my blog articles, then you can see what sets me apart. I don’t have to “sell” myself by roping someone in to come to my office for a “consultation” that is more easily done over the phone, anyway. No one wants to get taken to the cleaners, but anyone looking for the best representation for a DUI charge should be looking for the best value, and that is usually never found at the lowest or the highest end of the price spectrum. Whatever else, I am wholeheartedly NOT interested in clients whose sole interest is price, on either end of the spectrum. I want clients who are well read, cerebral, and put the time in to do some honest comparison-shopping for their needs.
That’s as important as anything. As much as I believe that what I do is so special, there may be plenty of people out there who aren’t interested in the smaller details, and for whom the impact of a DUI isn’t that significant one way or the other. Why should such a person spend twice as much on a lawyer? On the flip side, someone may be slightly neurotic, and want to fight every last aspect of the case, no matter how futile the effort and unlikely the victory. If that person is willing to pay for the services, why shouldn’t he or she get them? Although I’m not interested in either of those clients, it is equally important that they do their homework and learn that I’m not the right lawyer for them, and then find the person who is. Everyone should take the time to find the lawyer who is the right match for his or her needs. Who can argue with that? Price is certainly part of that equation, certainly more so for some than others, but it is far from the only thing.
Beyond disclosing my fee structure, this installment provides, I think, a good impression of how my office operates in general. I am honest and direct. I have neither the time nor the patience for games. If you’re facing a DUI in any court in Metro-Detroit area and you want my take on things, give my office a call. We are open Monday through Friday, from 8:30 am until 5:00 pm, and can be reached at (586) 465-1980.