As with any matter that requires legal counsel or representation, hiring a lawyer after a DUI arrest in Florida will be a necessary but worthwhile expense. Criminal defense lawyers who focus on DUI defense may vary in expertise, years of experience, and price. The cost of DUI defense may vary drastically based on a number of factors, and no two cases are exactly alike.
If you’re concerned about a DUI charge in West Palm Beach, the safest course of action is to speak with a qualified DUI attorney to learn what you can expect from the legal system, how a DUI might impact your future, and what you need to do right away to mitigate the impact of your charge. Additionally, you’re encouraged to ask detailed questions about how the attorney charges for their services.
At The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel, Brian Gabriel provides completely free consultations so you can get the information you need to make the best decisions possible for your unique situation without spending money right away. Take advantage of a consultation by calling (561) 622-5575 and discussing your most pressing concerns. Criminal Defense Attorney Brian Gabriel understands that DUI charges are challenging to deal with, and you might be experiencing considerable stress. Brian Gabriel’s goal is to walk you through the legal process so you can feel confident about the actions you are taking to protect your reputation and future.
General Costs of a Florida DUI
As anyone who has experienced the misfortune of a DUI arrest will tell you, it is not cheap. Administrative and court costs alone can cost you hundreds to thousands of dollars. Let’s examine the potential penalties for a first and second DUI in Florida, which may include jail time and fees.
Potential Penalties of a First DUI Conviction
If you’re convicted of DUI for the very first time, you might face the following penalties:
- A jail sentence of 6 to 9 months; and/or
- Fines of up to $1,000, unless there are aggravating factors like a child in the car or an elevated BAC.
For a first DUI with aggravating factors, fines may range between $1,000 and $2,000. If your DUI involved a BAC of 0.15 or higher, or if you had a minor in the vehicle at the time of your arrest, you may face a maximum penalty of $2,000. A minor, per DUI law, is anyone under the age of 18.
Potential Penalties of a Second DUI Conviction
If you’re convicted of a second DUI, you might face the following penalties:
- Fines of $1,000 to $2,000; and/or
- A jail sentence of 9 to 12 months.
With a BAC of 0.15 or higher or a minor’s presence in your car, the maximum jail term is 12 months. If your second conviction was within 5 years of your first, you face a mandatory sentence of 10 days in jail. For these 10 days, at least 48 hours must be consecutive.
Other Possible Costs of a DUI Conviction
In addition to administrative and court costs, you will likely need to post bail. Bail may range from hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on various factors. The specific price may be determined by a bail schedule, or the judge may decide an amount based on:
- Your criminal record
- The specific charges
- The severity of the DUI offense
- Your ties to your family, community, and employment
Other expenses may accompany bail and fees, such as:
- Installation of an IID
- Costs of having your car towed and impounded
- Increased car insurance premiums
- DUI school and/or alcohol abuse program that may be required per your sentence
- Administrative DMV costs, like reinstating your driver’s license
These expenses add up! The good news is that, with the help of a qualified DUI lawyer in West Palm Beach, you might be able to AVOID the snowballing costs of a DUI conviction and long-term consequences that may affect several aspects of your personal life.
How Do DUI Lawyers in West Palm Beach Charge for Services?
There are many DUI lawyers to choose from in Palm Beach County, which is why it’s crucial to speak to someone like Attorney Brian P. Gabriel before choosing one to represent you. Brian P. Gabriel may educate you on typical attorney fee structures and all of the work that goes into investigating and defending your charge, such as:
- Investigating the police officers who arrested you
- Reviewing various reports
- Filing pre-trial motions
- Acquiring expert witnesses
- Preparing for trial
- And more
DUI lawyers may charge an hourly rate, and they may also require a retainer fee. A retainer fee covers a set amount of the attorney’s time that they may use in the initial phase of your case. Once this time is used up, the attorney may begin to charge you hourly for their time.
Attorney fees vary widely, but you can generally expect to pay a few thousand dollars to resolve a DUI case in West Palm Beach. The cost of your defense may vary by:
- Criminal charges
- Details of the case
- Location of the arrest
- Whether you accept a plea deal or take your case to trial
- Circumstances surrounding your arrest
- Strategy needed to challenge the charges against you
One thing is for sure, you can expect to pay significantly more for a DUI case that goes to trial. A typical DUI trial may last between 3 and 5 days. The more days you’re in court, the more you can expect to pay for your defense. Some of what goes into a trial that can push costs to the limits of your defense budget may include the costs of expert witnesses, collecting and analyzing additional reports (such as maintenance records of the breathalyzer and discovering whether proper guidelines were followed), retesting blood samples, and various other tasks that go into a thorough investigation of your case.
Invest in Your Future with Quality DUI Defense
As you can see, it’s impossible to get hard figures without speaking to an attorney about the facts of your case. While it might be an unwanted and unexpected expense, investing more in a quality DUI lawyer now will save you exponentially in the long-term. Settling for a DUI lawyer who charges a low hourly rate may cost you considerably more when you fail to obtain the best result possible for your case. Don’t take your chances with a low-cost attorney who may be taking on more cases than they can handle. You can count on Attorney Brian P. Gabriel to put in the time to learn all the facts of your case and explore all the possibilities for an effective defense.
Brian P. Gabriel has more than 30 years of experience successfully fighting DUI charges in Palm Beach and surrounding counties. He understands the science behind breathalyzer tests and the machines that produce them, and is a respected member of the legal community. Call (561) 622-5575 or fill out a contact form today!