will an attorney be able to reduce the fees of a drunk driving offense? 50 Answers as of July 11, 2013

I am potentially facing very high fees for my second DUI. I know I don't have a good case because I was so over the limit, but is it possible that hiring an attorney will make sense financially?

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The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady
The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady | Kevin O'Grady
Having an attorney to represent you is your best opportunity to either have the charges dismissed, be found not guilty, or get the best plea offer, and hence the lower court costs, for your cases. Realize that some court costs cannot be waived or argued away.
Answer Applies to: Hawaii
Replied: 7/5/2011
Beaulier Law Office
Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
Even a first offense is very serious and you would be wise to have legal counsel. If you had a Blood Alcohol Content under .20, and you have no prior DWI within the last 10 years, you were charged with a fourth degree offense. This is still serious and carries with it maximum criminal penalties of up to 90 days in jail and a $1000 fine. If convicted any subsequent DWI offense would be much more serious and with four offenses in ten years, you can be charged with a felony. As a result, as strong defense on the first alleged incident can be critical to your future. Different Judges give different sentences. Accordingly, understanding your Judge and knowing how to change Judge's can be an important part of the process. There is also a civil case that results in the revocation of your driver's license. On a first offense over your lifetime, you may be revoked for 30 to 90 days. This is a separate case even though the challenges are largely the same. In order to challenge your license revocation, you must seek a judicial review by filing a petition within 30 days of the offense. Do not forget this critical time period. All too often people with strong defenses come to me too late to challenge the license revocation. The end result goes well beyond simply having your license revoked. A failure to challenge results in an Implied Consent violation on your record which can also affect employment and may be used to enhance any subsequent DWI offense. There are many challenges to a DWI. Officers must follow very specific steps as part of the arrest. If any one step is missing, the case may be dismissed.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 7/5/2011
Bloom Legal, LLC
Bloom Legal, LLC | Seth J. Bloom
An attorney may be able to reduce the potential fines you are facing but where they will be most effective is in attempting to ensure that you face the least amount of criminal liability which is much more valuable in the long run.
Answer Applies to: Louisiana
Replied: 7/1/2011
Fitzpatrick, Mariano, & Santos, PC
Fitzpatrick, Mariano, & Santos, PC | Raymond J. Savoy
If this is your second offense, you are ineligible for the alcohol education program, and you can face up to 6 months in jail. An experienced attorney will assist you in obtaining the best result possible, which could include a reduction of fees and court costs.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 7/1/2011
Harden Law Offices
Harden Law Offices | Leonard D. Harden
If you win your case you will not have any fees. I have won seemingly hopeless cases. Sometimes a good defense lawyer can spot issues immediately. I strongly suggest meeting with a DWI lawyer ASAP.
Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
Replied: 7/1/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    Yes an attorney may be able to get the charge reduced with lesser fees. Also an attorney may be able to minimize or eliminate the amount of time you spend in jail or get you work release. This is economically to your advantage because it lowers you chance of losing money or even your job.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/1/2011
    Wallin & Klarich
    Wallin & Klarich | Sheldon E. Lee
    Hiring an attorney for a second dui offense will definitely make sense as jailtime will most certainly be an issue and an experienced attorney can mitigate that among other things based on the facts of the case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/1/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Roberts
    Law Office of Andrew Roberts | Andrew Stephen Roberts
    You can find an attorney who will walk you through process at reasonable fee. There are plenty of ways attorneys can help you save money. Call me with any questions.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/1/2011
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    An attorney will best help with getting the minimum sentence overall. It may or may not include lowering fees. In most courts, the fees are similar for all defendants charged wtih the same offense. So one person charged with OWI 1st will get fees similar to another charged with the same thing. One person charged with OWI 2nd will be similar to another charged with OWI 2nd, and so on. Claims that you do not have available money, are out of a job, are on unemployment, etc usually have little impact.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/1/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    I think you may be asking whether you will come out better hiring an attorney when facing the fees and possible punishment for a second time DUI. The penalty for a DUI second offense is a fine of not less than $2,100 nor more than $4,100, imprisonment of up to one year of which the person must serve five days minimum or complete 30 days of community service, and a suspension of driving privileges for a period on one year.I would take my chances with an attorney and hope that I could get a better result.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/1/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    Your greatest concern ought to be the enhanced sentencing provisions. There will be more days in jail. Depending on how long ago your first DUI was it could be a fair amount of jail. What I can usually do is get the court to impose only mandatory minimum fines and jail. If you want to avoid jail, you should consider a Deferred Prosecution. Right now you need to get yourself evaluated to determine if treatment is necessary. That will also tell you whether a Deferred Prosecution would be an option. One has to have an alcohol problem to get a Deferred Prosecution. Having the evaluation is also required by the Department of Licensing and the judge will be impressed that you are being proactive. Given your situation, I definitely believe you need an attorney. Without an attorney's assistance, you would be stuck with the police report on its face without the benefit of training and experience, which I have in excess. An attorney practicing DUI defense will be acquainted with the special laws for DUI, know the DOL consequences and procedures and have a mastery of breath testing. An attorney may find a hole in the cop's work that may justify suppressing the breath test. If you live in Clark, Skamania or Cowlitz County, I can help you. If not, please call me and I will steer you in the right direction. Just be vigilant with your rights because this is a serious situation that could impact work and deprive you of liberty.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/1/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    What you seem not to understand is that the attorneys job is to keep you out of the jail time that a 2nd DUI normally carries, and the trade off is court costs and attorney fees, along with programs, license suspension, etc. Dont take this too lightly. If serious about hiring counsel to help in this, and if this is in SoCal courts, feel free to contact me.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/1/2011
    Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
    Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
    You are presumed innocent until proven guilty. You may not be guilty of any offense. Yes, obtaining effective legal council is a good idea and could save you a lot of money. Effective legal council could make a big difference in the outcome of your case so it is certainly worth the investment. Most attorneys provide free initial consultations and payment plans may be available.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/1/2011
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC | Martina A. Vigil
    It can, yes. It is worth the cost to hire an attorney that will fully evaluate your case. Assuming you're not being charged with a felony, your attorney will appear at all of your court dates and plea bargain at each pre trial. This is not only convenient, but you have the peace of mind that, if anything can be done to lower your fees, reduce your charges, or prevent jail time, a good lawyer will find a way.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Offices of Christopher Jackson
    Law Offices of Christopher Jackson | Christopher L. Jackson
    Some attorneys will reduce their fees after knowing the facts. I always try to work with clients to make sure the attorney fee makes sense, it just depends on the facts, etc. Please remember that a 2nd DUI can carry mandatory jail time and a 1 year driver's license suspension with no privileges.
    Answer Applies to: Kentucky
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    If my client has financial basis (lost job, low income. etc.), I always ask to remit or reduce any fees that the statute allows the judge discretion on. I don't know your situation but if you have some financial claim, I would certainly try to get your fees and costs reduced. Perhaps more importantly, unless you think you can get the statutory minimum on your own, or very close to it, it would benefit you to have a lawyer review your case to see if he thinks he/she can. It is important to at least consult with an attorney. I would NEVER allow my child or relative to go to court without an attorney. I don't care what the charge is. It may not seem worth it and it may not be in the end, but you don't know that until it is too late to change your mind. You only get one shot at getting this right and the rest of your life to live with the consequences of your decision.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
    Though many Courts levy set fines for the charge, which are usually not negotiable, an experienced Attorney may be able to negotiate those amounts depending upon the specific evidence in your case, and can more often negotiate other terms and conditions of probation which can save you significant expense, for example, the length of the jail sentence/work release commitment, whether you have to wear a SCRAM alcohol sensing device, whether you have to install an Ignition Interlock Device, etc. It all adds up.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Offices of Sheryl S. Graf
    Law Offices of Sheryl S. Graf | Sheryl S. Graf
    Though results cannot be guaranteed, you should seek the advice of an attorney as soon as possible to protect yourself. In addition to the fines, the collateral consequences of a conviction (i.e., increased insurance costs, loss of driving privileges, program and class costs, time lost off work, etc.) can affect your job and your family. A qualified attorney can prove to be invaluable to protect your interests and possibly save you money in the long run.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    The Chastaine Law Office
    The Chastaine Law Office | Michael Chastaine
    Fines and fees are set by statute. Most courts order the minimum allowed by law - which is still well over $2000. There is not much an attorney can do about that. If that is your only issue, use the money you would pay an attorney to pay the fine.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    Yes, an attorney can help reduce the fees some of which are waiverable.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Deal & Hooks, LLC
    Deal & Hooks, LLC | Shawn P. Hooks
    A good attorney may be able to negotiate the charges down and/or the penalties. This is the case even when there is not a good case. They may be able to find a way to reduce what you are currently facing by either having the court treat this as a low tier offense or as a first time offense. Either of these will be worth hiring an attorney in the actual costs and potential future costs.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    A attorney could help. You need to consult one with all the facts to know for sure.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Healan Law Offices
    Healan Law Offices | William D. Healan, III
    You need a lawyer for a second DUI. A good DUI lawyer might be able to find a defense based on some technical issue that you don't even know about. It is not just the fines that you need to worry about. Some jurisdictions give significant jail time for a second offense. There is also a long license suspension.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Harris Law Firm
    Harris Law Firm | Jennifer C. Robins
    Not only does a second DUII conviction in Oregon come with some steep financial obligations, but there is also a serious impact on your driving privileges and likely incarceration. Generally, an attorney will not be able to get the court ordered financial obligations reduced, because they are mandated by law, however; you should seriously consider consulting with an attorney to guide you through the process and advise you of the impact a second DUII will have on other aspects of your life. Court fines can be paid over time with a payment plan. Loss of your license and liberty on the other hand, can be much more costly.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Subin
    Law Office of Andrew Subin | Andrew Subin
    It is unlikely that an attorney will save you more in reduced fees and fines than the attorney will charge you on a second DUI.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    The age old adage is true - you get what you pay for. I am sure you can find a rookie attorney fresh out of law school with no trial experience to take your case cheaply. However, for an experienced attorney such as myself on a second DWI I charge a minimum flat fee of $7,500.00 for all work pre-trial, and then if I have to do a trial it's $2,000 a day on trial.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    You really must be represented by an attorney. If you cannot afford one, then the judge may arrange for one to be appointed to represent you free of charge. As for the fees, that will be up to the judge. If you agree to do some time, then there may be no fee but you will still have to pay a mandatory surcharge.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Pontrello Law
    Pontrello Law | William Pontrello
    you hire a lawyer to examine the facts of the case to see if any of your rights were violated then to eliminate the crime, reduce the charge, or be found not guilty. DUI's in Florida Fines are set by statute.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
    On a second DUI you are looking at serious penalties including jail and a mandatory license suspension. You need an attorney one way or the other.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    The only way to get the fees reduced is if the charge is reduced.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    No one can predict what will happen in a criminal case. And no one can predict how a lawyer will be able to help you. But we recommend that everyone facing criminal charges should have a lawyer to help them Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    Hiring an attorney might save you some jail time, some driver license revocation time + maybe help with other penalties. You should at least buy 1 hour of a lawyers time to get specific input on what they may be able to do.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    Typically, fines and costs are set by the court and are a standard amount for that type of case. Sometimes an attorney can argue that community service should be assessed instead of fines and costs based on a person's financial situation. Fees assessed by the Secretary of State are mandated by law and cannot be changed.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    LT Pepper Law
    LT Pepper Law | Luke T. Pepper
    It could reduce the consequences for you to have an experienced attorney to handle the matter. I cannot assure you that it will make a difference but an attorney will be able to gauge whether there is room to negotiate with the DA.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Nichols Law Firm
    Nichols Law Firm | Michael J. Nichols
    Just because you were over the limit doesn't mean your case is bad. There is a lot more to it in dui defense than the chemical guesstimate.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
    You need an attorney's advice, especially on a second DUI which carries mandatory custody. If you can't afford an attorney, you can get the Public Defender - they are all very experienced with DUIs. If you make too much money for the PD, ask the court if there is a near-indigent panel (we have one in San Diego.) You can get a private attorney for a very low price. Most attorneys will be willing to give you a free consultation. You don't need to pay more than $2K or so for a good retained attorney - many good attorneys would take your case for less. So, I would say, yes, it makes sense to hire an attorney. There's just too much on the line between the custody and the implications for your license - the fine is the least of your worries.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Office of Michael Bialys THE DUI MAN
    Law Office of Michael Bialys THE DUI MAN | Michael Bialys
    Yes because you are also facing jail time which could be very costly, and a 1 year drivers license suspension. These are all very costly an attorney cna help.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/24/2012
    Law Office of Thomas A. Medford, Jr., PC
    Law Office of Thomas A. Medford, Jr., PC | Thomas A. Medford, Jr.
    Any attorney that you may hire cannot in his or her own right get a fine reduced but in representing you can attempt to get the most favorable result for you. What you have to decide is will the long term cost of the fine and possible higher insurance rates outweigh the cost of an attorney's representation of you.
    Answer Applies to: District of Columbia
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Offices of Phil Hache
    Law Offices of Phil Hache | Phil Hache
    It is very possible for a qualified attorney to keep fees to a minimum if there is a DUI conviction. Also, there is more to a DUI case than just the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). There are a lot of other potential issues and defenses that came come up. Check out the case results on my website for an example of DUI cases dismissed. Also, it's possible to challenge the BAC reading as well. In short, an attorney may be able to keep fees to a minimum, and potentially get the charge reduced or dismissed. An attorney would have to work on the case to explore these avenues.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Offices of Matthew Murillo
    Law Offices of Matthew Murillo | Matthew Murillo
    Just because you are over the limit, doesn't mean you don't have a good case. There is much more to it than that. Was there a lawful arrest? Any 4th Amendment violations? Was the breath machine working properly? Was blood drawn in accordance to the law? Etc. Etc. There are many things that can affect the outcome of a case. That being said, fines are not negotiable. If you are convicted of a DUI you will have to pay the DUI fine.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    The Lee Law Firm
    The Lee Law Firm | Kenneth Parks Gober
    I represent clients in Austin and Central Texas in DWI/DUI cases. Yes, a lawyer can still make a HUGE difference.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/11/2013
    Edward A. Kroll, Attorney at Law
    Edward A. Kroll, Attorney at Law | Edward A. Kroll
    Yes. Not just financially but also in terms of possible jail time. Many counties in Oregon routinely sentence 2nd-time offenders to 30-60 days in jail. Having an attorney who knows the law and can properly explain your situation can make a big difference. In addition, just because you blew over the limit does not necessarily mean that you have a bad case. The police may have made mistakes, which could lead to certain evidence being excluded. You need to have an an experienced DUI lawyer take a close look at your case before agreeing to any sort of deal.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    You must have a lawyer to represent you on a DWI 2nd in Texas. If you are indigent, then you are entitled to a court appointed lawyer upon proof of your indigency. If you are not indigent, then you will be required to hire a lawyer (or deal with the prosecutor yourself - which will most likely mean a jail offer and no chance of probation. Moreover, there are things that a lawyer might be able to tell you to be doing now to lessen your punishment.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    Absolutely! I recently represented a guy on his second offense DUI and I was able to plead down to reckless driving and save him more than $1,000 in costs and fines alone, not to mention higher insurance premiums, the savings of vehicle immobilization, etc. Each case is different. At least have a DUI attorney review your case and let him tell you if he thinks it is worth it. Also keep in mind that only an experienced DUI attorney can review police reports and lab results for errors that could get the charges reduced or dismissed. A good DUI will more than pay for himself in what he can save you. Also keep in mind that with each additional DUI offense, the stakes get higher and the consequences more severe. The process is too complicated to go at it alone.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    Lowering fees, not likely. Avoiding some serious jail time is more like it. Second offenses are treated very seriously in all Michigan courts. You can get an attorney or wind up in jail wondering what happened.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Office of William S. Smith
    Law Office of William S. Smith | William S. Smith
    You must look at more than solely the financial aspects of your case. Only a qualified, experienced criminal defense attorney can make a thorough assessment of your case and advise you as to whether to plead or take your case to trial (a decision which ultimately is yours to make after full consultation with your attorney). And only such an attorney will be in the position to determine whether you may have legal defenses, whether there exists a basis to file motions to throw out the evidence against you, etc. Therefore, I strongly suggest you retain an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    California Criminal Defense Center
    California Criminal Defense Center | Ardalon Fakhimi
    On a 2nd DUI, you definitely should hire a qualified and experienced DUI lawyer. Be sure to evaluate the qualifications of the lawyer to determine whether he/she is a DUI lawyer. Most prosecutors and judges require jail time on a 2nd DUI so it is important to at least have a lawyer negotiate a favorable plea agreement on your behalf. Although the fees are often standard, a good DUI lawyer will know how to negotiate to earn you monetary credits towards your fines and fees.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC | Rankin Johnson IV
    A lawyer might find a defense you didn't know about, and might be able to convince the court to reduce part of the fine and the other costs. But that depends on a lot of details. You surely should not try to handle it without a lawyer, but the court will appoint one if you can't afford it. And you can probably consult with a lawyer for cheap or for free and get a sense if you would me more comfortable with a lawyer of your choice rather than a public defender.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/30/2011
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