A DUI lawyer may be a necessary expense if you’re held in Charleston. DUIs are serious offenses around the US. South Carolina law punishes the crime severely too. So, if the police arrest and convict you, you could suffer stiff penalties. These punishments range from fines to imprisonment. Fortunately, a DUI lawyer in Charleston can protect you from these consequences.
However, many people are skeptical about hiring DUI attorneys. One primary concern is the cost of legal fees in Charleston, SC. Therefore, it’s crucial to know how much a DUI lawyer costs in Charleston.
Notably, though, speaking to a DUI defense lawyer after an arrest is clever. An excellent attorney can advise you on your next moves. This way, you wouldn’t harm your case if it gets to trial.
Why Are the Charleston Authorities Hard on DUIs?
The authorities are hard on DUIs in Charleston because of the dangers. For example, 28 people die daily from drunk driving accidents in the United States. So, someone dies because of DUIs every 52 minutes. Even kids die because adults insist on driving while intoxicated.
Furthermore, alcohol-related accidents cost about $44 billion annually. Therefore, the lost lives, money, and property necessitate a strong stance on DUIs. Unfortunately, this also means that getting off a DUI will be challenging, affecting lawyers’ fees.
How Much Will a Charleston DUI Attorney Cost?
Firstly, it’s noteworthy that no two DUIs are the same. For example, some DUIs cause accidents while others don’t. The police may arrest you one minute after driving off. Furthermore, suppose a DUI leads to a car crash. Such a collision may be fatal or not. All these factors determine the difficulty level of your case.
In addition, they impact the cost of a DUI defense attorney. Whether or not it’s your first DUI is also another significant factor. Furthermore, no two lawyers will charge the same fee for the same case. Instead, several factors influence a DUI defense attorney’s billing structure.
What Influences a DUI Defense Attorney’s Fees?
A DUI defense attorney with decades of experience will be costlier than a 2-year associate in a firm. Notably, though, the South Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct provide that fees must be reasonable. In addition, lawyers must base their bills on several factors, such as:
- Novelty and complexity of services involved
- The level of skill needed for the prosecution or defense of the case
- Experience, reputation, and the lawyer’s capacity
Generally, though, the average cost for DUI lawyers in South Carolina hovers around $3,500. However, you may pay higher or lower. Everything depends on the circumstances of your case.
Other Costs of a DUI in Charleston, SC
Attorney fees aren’t the only money-draining parts of a DUI case. Instead, you have to pay for other things. All these issues combined make DUIs a very costly crime to commit. Some of them include:
First-time DUI offenders often have to complete the ADSAP. It stands for Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program. ADSAP operates like Alcoholics Anonymous. So, it seeks to reduce the DUIs in SC. However, the enrollment fee is up to $500. You may also pay other levies for treatment. Therefore, you can spend over $2,500 on ADSAP.
A DUI convict may pay fines or serve jail terms. Sometimes, a Judge may order both punishments. For example, a first-time DUI offender in Charleston faces a minimum fine of $400. Furthermore, a second conviction attracts a minimum $2,100 penalty.
The penalties go higher with a third offense. Here, the defendant will pay a minimum of $3,800. Finally, a third offender with a less than .15% BAC level may pay up to $10,000 in fines. Fines may thus be higher than attorney’s fees.
A DUI conviction will also affect your insurance. You’ll pay higher premiums to your insurer for the next three years. The rationale is that a DUI convict carries a higher risk of accidents. License suspensions following a DUI and hit-and-runs trigger this effect.
Bail and Bond Fees
Most DUI defense attorneys will try getting you out of jail or police custody. Then, you can attend the trial from home. However, this means that you have to post bail. A bail bond agent can do this for you too.
A judge will consider the facts before setting bail. Therefore, bail costs depend on several factors, like the severity of the charge. Furthermore, a first offender will generally get lower bail than a third-time offender.
A judge may release a first-offender on personal recognizance. This means they wouldn’t have to post any money. Their personality and reputation stand for them. Without personal recognizance, you may pay thousands of dollars.
A DUI case may require an expert’s testimony. Expert witnesses aren’t always necessary. However, they can significantly aid your case. For example, an expert can testify to the accuracy of drunk driving tests you flunked. A DUI lawyer will usually discuss expert requirements first, though. But, it’s not unusual for an expert to charge thousands of dollars.
Ignition Interlock Program
South Carolina’s Emma’s Law now requires DUI convicts to install Ignition Interlock devices. The IIDP prevents your car from starting if you’ve been drinking. Even first offenders with a .15% BAC or more must install this device. Maintaining this device also costs some money. For example, you may spend up to $75 to $100 monthly.
License Reinstatement Fees
Reinstating your driving privileges costs a lot too. You’ll have to pay a reinstatement fee to the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Notably, this fee could be as high as $100. Moreover, you cannot drive with a suspended license. This action is a separate offense. In addition, it also attracts different fines.
Finally, few people consider the money they lose because of DUIs. While in jail or police custody, you cannot work. So, you’ll lose the money you otherwise would have earned. Your DUI defense may even eat into your savings.
Furthermore, many employers wouldn’t want to work with DUI convicts. An arrest may even be sufficient for a sack. So, it’s best to consider all these factors when hiring a defense attorney. An excellent lawyer can mitigate your financial losses.
Get Quality and Affordable DUI Defense in Charleston, SC
Have the police arrested you on a DUI charge? If they have, then it’ll be best to seek legal representation. First, however, you’ll need the best Charleston DUI lawyer. Our attorneys will aggressively fight your DUI charge in or outside court. An arrest doesn’t guarantee a conviction.
So, you can still walk free. Alternatively, you can get a lighter charge or sentence. However, these options are only possible with a legal team with an excellent track record of success. Therefore, it’ll be best to call us today for a FREE consultation on your case with a Charleston criminal defense lawyer.