As I’ve mentioned before, the fee is the least important factor you should consider when hiring an attorney.
The lawyer should be honest with you about what your case will cost. You need to be secure that the lawyer isn’t running a “bait and switch,” luring you in with a promise of unrealistically low fees and costs and then nickel and diming you to death, so you end up paying much more than you expected.
That’s why those advertisements for “$1000 DUI’s” don’t always tell the whole picture. In many cases, the $1000 fee only covers the costs of having the lawyer review your case and help you enter a plea.
If you want anything “extra,” like having the attorney fight to get your license back at the DMV hearing, filing motions to suppress, or preparing your case for trial, the costs go up. If you can’t afford the extra steps, that $1000 attorney will just convince you that pleading guilty is the best thing to do.
(By the way, experienced DUI attorneys don’t call these “extras,” we call them “the bare minimum.”)
Ask whether the lawyer charges a flat fee or an hourly rate. Unlike a divorce or business case, where the legal fees keep climbing the longer the case goes on, most lawyers charge a flat fee for DUI cases. The flat fee covers should cover all of the lawyer fees in your case, including DMV hearings, court hearings, motion hearings, and trial preparation. Ask the attorney whether they charge extra for going to trial. Some do, others don’t. Taking your case to trial involves a considerable commitment of time and expense for the lawyer since they need to prepare for trial and then one or more days of courtroom time. During this time, they’re totally committed to your case. They’re unable to work on any other client’s work or meet with any new clients, so it’s a massive investment of time and energy for the lawyer. It’s not unusual for an attorney to charge $2500 or more per day or more for trial. You’ll want to know about those expenses up-front, so you can save money in case your case needs to go to trial.
Also, you should ask about additional expenses such as expert witnesses, subpoena fees, exhibit preparation, and copy costs. You can expect that the expenditure for an expert witness can range anywhere from $1000 to over $50,000, and that may not even include travel time and lodging. Talk with your attorney about your ability to afford to retain an expert because the attorney may not be able to raise certain defenses without the testimony of an expert witness.
A word of warning: If you’re just looking for the cheapest DUI attorney you can find and are shopping for your attorney exclusively on price – don’t waste your time. You might be better off just taking the money and spending it on court costs and fines because that cheap lawyer will probably have you end up pleading guilty to DUI anyway.
The Wilcox Law Firm accepts all major credit cards and will work with your budget to set up a payment plan so you can afford the Tampa DUI defense attorney you deserve. To contact a Tampa DUI lawyer and begin preparing the defense for your case, call (813) 940-4300 TODAY.
If you want your best chance of avoiding a DUI, call an experienced Tampa DUI attorney today.
The Wilcox Law Firm
620 East Twiggs Street, Suite 304
Tampa, Florida 33602
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