I am currently being charged with Drinking While Intoxicated (DWI) and currently I have only spoken to one lawyer. After giving me the total price of how much it will cost to work with them, he said if the case moves to a trial, it will cost 'X' more dollars. Is this normal or does he just want more money? Just trying to make sure I find a good lawyer that is not trying to just make more money. He seemed trustworthy, but I just want to verify that this is a normal thing. Thanks!The reason I'm asking this is because since having a trial would cost more, wouldn't he want it to go to trial to make more money?
Trials take much more time to prepare and be in the courthouse, so it is more expensive to do a trial. A trial to judge only isn't a lot more expensive, but picking a jury alone takes a morning usually-once the trial begins, so a non jury trial is not as expensive as a jury trial. Added to the cost is the fact that courts usually set several trials on a single day, so it is not unusual to prepare and be ready several times before a trial actually begins. Given these facts, most attorneys charge separately for the trial alone. Some attorneys charge a single fee whether a trial is going to happen or not. The result of this pricing strategy is that many clients pay more so that a few clients can actually go to trial. In selecting a DWI attorney, be sure that the attorney you select is very experienced with DWI, not just criminal law, because that experience makes a big difference if you do go to trial.
Many attorneys that handle DUI and criminal matters for flat rates will issue a separate retainer for trial (as opposed to one retainer that covers all the way through trial). This does not mean that the attorney will not do everything he or she can to resolve the case favorably during pretrial. A different approach would be to retain an attorney from the start trough trial....but most cases get resolved without trial, and in that case you may end up paying a lot more for a trial that may not happen.
You may want to talk to another attorney or two that way you feel comfortable with your decision.
Legal disclaimer: This message does not constitute legal advice and is for informational purposes only. This message does not establish an attorney-client relationship, which can only be established once a retainer agreement has been fully executed between you and this firm.
I suspect that the initial price you were given was for the attorney to represent you and reach a plea bargain agreement. Should you choose to go to trial then the fee will go up as there is more time needed to research, prepare for the trial, and represent you before the judge (if a bench trial) or the jury.
If you are concerned about the quoted fee then I suggest you contact other attornyes and get a fee quote from them.
Very, very, very normal.
Trials take up time and completely mess up your schedule and office.
I would be more concerned if an attorney charged one price no matter what and then was pressuring me to plea.
Ultimately, it is your decision. Take your time and make sure you are comfortable with your lawyer. That's best for you and best for your lawyer.
charging more for a trial is fairly standard, though.
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