Over the last several decades, both private advocacy groups and government agencies have waged a campaign to educate the public about the dangers of drinking and driving. As a result of those efforts, most states across the country have made changes to their drinking and driving laws. Most states have also increased the potential penalties you face if convicted of violating one of those laws. The State of Tennessee is among the states that has toughened up its drinking and driving laws and corresponding penalties. If you were recently arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in the Murfreesboro, Tennessee area you should be concerned about the outcome of your case. The best thing you can do for yourself, and your future, is to retain the services of an experienced DUI defense attorney. You may, however, be concerned about how much a Murfreesboro DUI attorney will cost you. Because every DUI case involves a unique set of facts and circumstances, and every DUI attorney sets his/her own fees, it is impossible to know what a specific attorney will charge in your specific case. There are, however, some factors that typically help determine what a Murfreesboro DUI attorney will likely charge you for representation in your DUI case.
Attorney Fee Structures – A Word about How Fees Are Determined in Criminal Cases
There are three different fee structures attorneys use to determine the fees they charge clients. It helps to understand those options before discussing DUI fees.
- Contingency fees – a contingency fee means the attorney will receive a percentage of what the attorney is able to procure for the client. Personal injury cases, for example, usually use a contingency fee basis. The attorney might, for instance, negotiate a settlement on behalf of the client for $150,000. Pursuant to the contract signed with the client, the attorney might receive a contingency fee of one-third, or $50,000 as his/her fee for representation. Most states prohibit the use of contingency fees in criminal cases.
- Per hour fees – a per hour fee structure, as the name implies, means that the attorney will bill the client for the actual time spent on the case. Typically, the client must pay a retainer fee up front against which the attorney will bill the client until the retainer runs out at which point the client will need to replenish the retainer.
- Flat fees – a flat fee simply means that the attorney charges a set fee for representation without regard to how much, or how little, time the attorney spends on the case. Flat fees are common in criminal cases because attorneys have a fairly good idea how much time it takes to resolve different types of cases.
Factors That Will Impact How Much Your Murfreesboro DUI Attorney Charges You
Just as no two DUI cases are exactly the same, no two attorneys will set their fee structures exactly the same. There are, however, several important factors that will impact the amount of time your attorney is likely to spend on your case as well as the complexity of the legal issues involved. The fee an attorney charges will likely be based on an analysis of these factors. Some of the more common factors include:
- The severity of the offense – with a DUI case this usually refers to whether it is your first DUI or a subsequent DUI. The more serious the charges, the higher the fee as a general rule.
- Your criminal history (or lack thereof) – it you have previous conviction for DUI, or any other criminal offense, it is more difficult to negotiate a plea agreement for the instant case. It also becomes more challenging to defend because your previous history may be admissible in court of you testify.
- Whether a victim is involved – when there is a victim involved it often requires more work for the attorney because the victim’s position in just about everything will be taken into account by the State. In a DUI case, a victim is usually only involved if there was an accident. Having an accident while driving under the influence definitely complicates things and makes the attorney’s job more difficult.
- The court the case is in – although all courts operate fundamentally the same way, the reality is that some courts are easier to litigate cases in than others. Likewise, some judges are easier to work with than others.
- Your intentions – if you tell an attorney from the outset that all you want is the best plea agreement the attorney can negotiate for you, it will clearly mean less work for the attorney than if you are adamant that you want a jury trial from the outset.
If you have been charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in, or near, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Murfreesboro DUI attorney at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your appointment.