Written by Avvo Staff

How to hire a DUI lawyer

Driving under the influence is a criminal offense. You can be charged with a DUI if you are drinking alcohol or under the influence of any drug that impairs your ability to safely drive. Each state has unique DUI laws, but a DUI lawyer can help you with your specific case.

What is a DUI lawyer?

A DUI lawyer understands your state’s DUI laws. Some states offer certification to lawyers who pass specific tests related to DUI law. Regardless, an experienced DUI attorney will know the best arguments to make in your court system to dismiss or reduce your charge.

A DUI lawyer can:

  • Help you understand the short term and long term affects major consequences of a DUI of a DUI charge or conviction

  • Represent you in court, and identify potential problems with the defense’s case

  • Fill out required legal forms

  • Schedule your hearing

  • File motions for information and legal proceedings throughout your case

  • Find witnesses and make other arrangements for your case

How much does a DUI lawyer cost?

The cost will depend on your lawyer's fee structure and the work required for your case. DUI lawyers usually charge a flat fee or on an hourly rate. If you’re looking for a plea bargain, lawyers’ fees usually range from $750 to $2,000, while going to trial can be as much as $25,000. The actual cost will depend on the complexity of your case.

How do I find a DUI lawyer?

There are several ways to find a DUI lawyer in your area. You can ask for a recommendation for people you trust, like your general practice lawyer or even the court clerk's office, or search online

It’s helpful to interview multiple attorneys before you hire one in order to better understand if they are someone you would be comfortable working with. Most DUI lawyers offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case, but it’s also an opportunity for you learn more about their background. For example, have they ever been disciplined by your State Bar Association? Or, do they have malpractice insurance? In addition to general interview questions, remember to ask questions specific to your DUI case:

  • What kind of experience does the lawyer have with a case like yours?

  • What are the factors specific to your case that may or may not help you in your case? For example, did the police officer has reasonable cause to pull you over?

  • What would the DUI lawyer recommend for a plea in your case?

  • What would be the best outcome for your case? The worst?

  • What does the lawyer charge?

  • Does the lawyer have additional training or certifications that can help them win cases?

How long will it take to resolve my case?

A DUI case can last anywhere from one week to over a year. The length depends on the complexity of your case, your court system's schedule, and how you plead. Remember that just because you have a quick legal resolution to your case, a DUI is a criminal offense that carries long-term consequences, even if you are a first time offender.

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