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What is a reasonable retainer for an attorney for a DUI, Reckless driving and unsafe lane change?

Clifton, NJ |

I've gotten quotes ranging from $750-$4500 and I'm inclined to believe that the higher the retainer, the better the counsel but is that an accurate assumption?

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Attorney answers 7

Best Answer

The cheapest options are usually the cheapest for a reason. The most expensive tend to be more specialized. They often handle only dwi but often may not be the right for for you and your needs. Many attorneys in the middle will handle numerous dwi cases and have all the knowledge and experience necessary for your case. You need to find a lawyer you are comfortable with based on his or her knowledge, strategy and responsiveness to you. You will have many questions along the way and you will want your lawyer to get back to you promptly and accurately.



Thank you very much for your prompt response to my query. I've never had to deal with a lawyer before. Can you please elaborate on what exactly makes an attorney-client relationship "comfortable"

Eric M. Mark

Eric M. Mark


I mean someone you are comfortable with personally and professionally. Someone who explains things clearly and who you feel understands the law, listens to you and devotes the requisite time to your case. You have to make this decision based on very little contact, but it is important. Read client reviews on avvo or other forums and ask questions. Anyone who promises you or guarantees you a result is not a good lawyer as it is unethical to guarantee you a result.





READ THIS BEFORE CALLING OR EMAILING ME: I am licensed to practice before the state and federal courts in Virginia. We have not established an attorney-client relationship unless we have a signed representation agreement and you have paid me. I am providing educational instruction only--not legal advice. You should speak with an attorney to whom you have provided all the facts, before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. I am not obligated to answer subsequent emails or phone calls unless you have hired me. I wish you the best of luck with your situation.


The cheapest option is cheap for a reason, that attorney won't be able to dedicate much time to your case. That said, it doesn't mean that someone charging $4,500.00 will do a much better job than someone in the $2,500.00 range. You should focus on finding an attorney you are comfortable with. There are many attorneys out there charging in the $2,500.00 range who will be able to do a good job for you.
Clifton is a pretty tough when it comes to DUI's. Best of luck!

This answer should not be construed as creating an attorney-client relationship, and is for informational purposes only, not legal advice.


We are not permitted to discuss fee in this forum. Fees are not the best indicator of competence although they are an indicator. It is better to check profiles on AVVO, read reviews and websites. NJ is establishing a "certified municipal court attorney" designation but that is not available as yet. There is a "certified criminal trial attorney” designation provided by the NJ Supreme Court. There are about 300 of them, about 125 do defense work. Call around. Get a feel for the attorney and their knowledge. You need to work closely with this person for as while. See how they charge, by the hour, flat fee, series of flat fees as the case progresses. Call with more information.


The fee is a combination of how much the attorney values his time per hour and how many hours he plans to spend on your case. There is a right and wrong lawyer for everyone. Speak to attorneys and make sure your attorney has the same objective as you. Some attorneys plead everything on the first appearance and the rate reflects this. Some attorneys take everything to trial and the rate reflects this. Some attorneys evaluate the case and fit the fee to the case.

Law Offices of James A. Abate (732) 412-2364


The low range seems too low at least from my point of view.

Your assumption of higher fee the better the counsel is not correct.

John Ducey

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