When you get convicted of a driving under the influence (DUI) offense in Washington, your finances are going to feel the impact alongside your driving privilege and personal freedoms. A conviction can include fines up to $5,000, even if you have no other DUIs on your record. Just to try to stop the automatic suspension of your driver’s license after arrest will cost you $400 in a nonrefundable fee.
With these harsh fiscal penalties in mind, many people charged with a DUI still wonder if it is more or less expensive to hire a DUI attorney to fight the charges. What is the answer? QuoteWizard recently spoke with Attorney Jonathan Dichter of DUI Heroes in Mill Creek to find out.
The True Cost is in the Big Picture
Pointing at the biggest dollar amount of a DUI sentencing does little to actually understand how much a DUI conviction costs the average person. The real financial impacts come from all of the little side penalties combined with the main ones. Most notably, how a DUI conviction negatively affects your insurance premiums.
As QuoteWizard determined through its own studies, the typical driver with just one DUI will pay more than $800 each year for car insurance when compared to an identical driver with no DUIs. This increase rate will last for three to five years in many cases, so the total amount increase could be $2,400 to $4,000. This does not necessarily take into account SR-22 insurance, which a court may order you to purchase as part of your sentencing.
Other fiscal penalties that add up quickly include:
- Fees for taking a DUI intervention course
- Monthly taxes if ignition interlock device (IID) is installed
- Reinstatement fee to regain license after suspension
- Cost of towing and impound after DUI arrest
Many people convicted of a DUI also run directly into trouble with their place of employment. Getting to work can become difficult, and some workplaces may not even be able to keep someone with a DUI on staff, such as mail couriers. If a DUI does lead to job loss, there is no telling how much money could be lost.
Keep in mind that fees and fines related to sentencing will also increase each time you are convicted of a DUI. A $5,000 fine is steep but it is certainly not the maximum you may need to pay the state if you plead guilty to a DUI without contesting it.
How Expensive are DUI Attorneys?
There is no simple calculation to know how much a DUI attorney will charge for their services. But QuoteWizard studied several law firms and attorneys to try to get an average. It found that many flat-fees for DUI representation capped out at $5,000 but would roughly double if the case had to go to trial. Is $10,000 too much to fight a DUI conviction? Not at all, when all things are considered.
As Attorney Dichter told QuoteWizard in his interview, taking a DUI case to trial is a rare matter indeed. By his estimations, 95% of DUI cases are handled without needing a trial, either through a beneficial plea deal or charges being dropped early on. This helps keep the average cost of hiring a DUI lawyer low. To try to improve a client’s chances of sidestepping trial, Dichter actually works with prosecutors’ offices frequently to craft reasonable plea deals with less stress and in less time.
Hiring an DUI Attorney, Each & Every Time
Overall,QuoteWizard determined that in nearly all situations, your finances are going to fare better if you try to fight your DUI with an attorney, rather than allowing the criminal justice system to call the shots uncontested. From insurance spikes to reputation damage, there are simply too many lingering consequences that can rack up the costs and consequences.
If you would like to read the full article featuring Attorney Dichter and written by QuoteWizard, you can click here to visit the group’s website. To learn how our Seattle DUI lawyers can help you with a case of your own, contact us at any time – 24/7/365 – to schedule a free case evaluation.