There are multiple financial costs associated with an arrest for driving under the influence (DUI) in Florida. The monetary fees increase considerably in the event of a conviction, particularly for those who have a previous conviction for a similar crime.
Suspects who choose to fight DUI charges in Florida should expect to pay defense attorney fees in addition to court fees and any fines that may result from a guilty verdict. Those who choose to forgo a DUI defense may be more likely to incur the highest fines possible under Florida’s DUI statutes. DUI fines in Florida can reach up to $5,000 in cases of felony DUI conviction.
Primary Costs Associated With DUI Defense
One of the costs associated with mounting a DUI defense are lawyers’ fees and court costs. A DUI defense attorney will typically use one of two billing options: a flat fee or an hourly rate. In a flat fee, the attorney will offer his or her services for an agreed-upon price. For example, “all-in-one DUI defense for X amount of dollars.” In an hourly rate, the attorney will charge the defendant an agreed-upon rate in hourly increments for time spent working the case.
Other costs associated with hiring an attorney may include fees to cover:
- the attorney’s travel expenses;
- independent lab tests;
- paralegal work hours;
- photocopying; and
- hiring investigators or expert witnesses.
A DUI defendant can also expect to incur several costs in connection with the judicial system. Court fees vary depending on the severity of the DUI charges and the county in which the case is being processed. Another related cost is bail or bond, which may be necessary to gain release for a suspect pending trial.
Factors that Influence a DUI Defense Attorney’s Fees
Attorney’s fees can vary depending on the attorney’s:
- credentials; and
- business structure.
Attorney’s fees and payment schedules should be discussed and agreed upon before hire.
Another significant factor that influences an attorney’s fees is the amount of time an attorney devotes to an individual’s DUI defense. An attorney who spends many hours overseeing investigations and conducting witness interviews will charge more than an attorney who takes a more “bare bones” approach to building a defense.
Costs Associated With DUI Conviction
Fines for DUI conviction in Florida are dependent upon whether or not the suspect had any previous DUI convictions and other factors, such as whether a child was in the vehicle at the time of arrest. Fines range anywhere from $500 to upward of $5,000.
Other costs include lost income in the event of jail time and/or time spent in court. Those who lose their driver’s license may incur additional transportation costs. Many people with DUI convictions also must partake in a state- or county-mandated “DUI school” in order to get a new driver’s license. In Broward County, for example, one DUI School costs more than $265 for a 12-hour program.
To discuss the cost of DUI defense in greater detail, contact a DUI defense attorney. Call (877) 663-5110.