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The following article was authored by Elspeth G. Crawford (pictured above).  Elspeth is an attorney at Adkins Law, P.L.L.C. located in Huntersville, NC. Her practice focuses on handling traffic offenses, DWI defense, family law matters, and estate planning. For more information, call (704) 274-5677 or visit

How much do attorneys charge for DUI/DWI?  That’s a fantastic question.  Most of the time, when you ask an attorney how much something will cost, he will tell you “it depends”.  Needless to say, this is not exactly a satisfying answer.  Thankfully, DUI defense is one of the rare exceptions to this rule.  Most DUI attorneys will be able to tell you pretty quickly how much their services will cost.

Limited range of outcomes

The reason for this is that there are a limited range of circumstances and outcomes involved in DUI defense cases.  Either you took the breathalizer, or you didn’t.  Either it’s your first offense, or it isn’t.  Either there was damage involved, or there wasn’t.  So far, we’re up to a total of only 6 possible scenarios.  That makes it relatively easy for an attorney to think ahead, map out all of the different contingencies, and assign a price to each one.

Side note – ironically, in most cases, if you took the breathalizer, your attorney fees for DUI defense will actually be lower than if you did not take the breathalizer.  This may strike you as counterintuitive for a moment, but it actually makes sense.  If you took the breathalizer, then there is scientific evidence proving your innocence or guilt, so the case should be shut and dry.  By contrast, if you declined the breathalizer, then it’s a question of he said she said, so the case will go on longer, and the attorney will have to do more work.  Just an interesting aside…

Between $1K and $3K, and you get what you pay for

In most cases, the average fee for DUI defense will range between $1,000 and $3,000.  If an attorney quotes you a price outside of that range, either on the high side or the low side, you should be wary.  If the fee quoted is too high, he/she is probably trying to rip you off.  If it’s too low, he/she is probably planning on taking your money and selling you out to the prosecutor (less work for him).  In either case, it’s not a good outcome for you.
With DUI defense, you get what you pay for.  If you want a decent defense lawyer, you should expect to part with a few thousand dollars.

Are you in need of a lawyer?

You can always use the BernieSez system to find a lawyer for your DUI case. It’s easy and a free service.  Just upload a picture of your case plus a few more details, and lawyers will contact you (instead of the other way around).  give it a try.  Sometimes lawyers are willing to consult with you for free and give you free advice.