Cost of a Tampa DUI Attorney
How much can a DUI cost you?
Arrested for a DUI? One of the main concerns for the accused is how much it will cost them to hire a lawyer. Most people recognize the benefits of having seasoned legal representation on their side, but most people have also been told so many myths about the bank-busting cost of hiring an attorney that they might hesitate. Worse, some people may choose to find a lawyer who offers the "lowest prices" in the hopes that they might be able to save a few pennies. Unfortunately, what most people don't realize is that while they might save a little at first, they are risking an exponential amount more by skimping on quality legal representation.
Being convicted of a DUI is not a cheap ordeal. Not taking into consideration penalties like jail time, it is important to recognize just how much it could cost you to be convicted. Take for example simple fees. Being found guilty of a DUI can result in penalties that start at $500 and can be as pricy as $5,000. Under Florida Statutes §316.193 (2012), fines depend on a variety of factors, including your BAC when pulled over, as well as any prior convictions.
For a DUI with a BAC of 0.08 percent, the initial fine schedule is the following:
- First Conviction: $500 to $1,000
- Second Conviction: $1,000 to $2,000
- Third Violation: $2,000 to $5,000
- Fourth Violation: Minimum of $2,000
For someone with a BAC over 0.15 percent, the fine schedule is the following:
- First Conviction: $1,000 to $2,000
- Second Conviction: $2,000 to $4,000
- Third Violation: Minimum of $4,000
Fines are Only the Beginning of the Story
Most people think that fines are the only place where a DUI can hit you in the wallet, but this is really only the starting point. The truth is that a DUI can rack up a much larger bill than that. For example, take into consideration the fact that the court costs for a DUI in Florida can range from $400 to $1,000 on top of the fine. Beyond that, if you have prior convictions on your record and are ordered to attend DUI School it could cost you anywhere from $300 to $500. If your license has been suspended and you are in need of a
hardship license so that you can drive to school and/or work, this can cost from $200 to $300.
Other costs which don't always get taken into consideration are the costs it takes to get a car back after it has been impounded. Depending on how long the car was there, it can cost $200 or more. If the car has been immobilized between 10 to 30 days, it will cost $10 a day; therefore, if you had a car immobilized for 30 days, it could tack on as much a $300 to the other costs associated with the DUI. Another cost which can hit the wallet hard is mandatory installation of the ignition interlock device (IID). For those with prior convictions or those with high BAC, the court may require an IID. This can cost $200 for the installation alone and $75 a month for regular maintenance and calibration. As the IID can be required anywhere from six months to two years, this can be incredibly pricey.
How DUI Can Affect the Cost of Insurance
One place that DUI can end up costing the convicted is in the increased cost of their insurance. For three years after a conviction, you will need to get FR-44 insurance with increased coverage; this will have the requirements of 100/300/50. In most cases, insurance with coverage of this magnitude will end up costing the convicted two or even three times the cost of their current policy - a financial burden that they will need to carry for the three years that its mandated. Beyond that, it is important to recognize that most insurance companies will require that you pay for this new policy six months in advance as most companies are not able to cancel policies for six months. This can be a considerable chunk of change to put down all at once.
Why Hiring a High-Quality Lawyer is Important
All of these costs are current as of September 2012, but they are always changing and, of course, can only go up. As you can see, it can be incredibly costly if you are convicted. Between initial fines, court costs, DUI School, hardship permits, car impounds, IID and increased insurance costs, you could be experiencing a substantial hit to the wallet. For this reason, it is incredibly important that you do not simply look for a cheap attorney after being accused. What seems like a save now could turn around to cause headaches and financial devastation later on down the road. It isn't really saving if it's only setting you up to pay more later. So don't set yourself up for failure! Contact one of our
Tampa DUI lawyers from Thomas & Paulk today and learn how our legal team can fight for you! We know what's at stake and we are prepared to do everything that we reasonably can for the future of our clients. To schedule your initial case consultation with a member of our firm, please pick up the phone and call us!