We have spent a lot of time talking about some notable DUI’s lately, specifically Tiger Woods and the Ormand Beach Sheriff. But lets talk about DUI’s that don’t involve celebrities or politicians. For everyday people, and by the way, that’s who get DUI’s (everyday people) not everyone can hire the most expensive lawyer in the area to defend it. So some ask the question…
Do you need to hire a lawyer for your first offense?
The answer some may say is NO, especially since we have been discussing the Pre-Trial program in Palm Beach County. Many times with a first DUI without an accident, injury, or previous criminal record, there may be little risk of jail time. Does this mean you shouldn’t hire an attorney?
A recent article by Lee Prindle examined the Cost Benefit of Hiring a DUI Lawyer. The article address some of the issues most people don’t think about when facing a DUI as they are focused on jail time. Most people focus on the penalties assessed in court. The next they look at penalties assessed by the DMV.
This article focuses on insurance rate increases and in some instances insurance companies dropping their insured. They conducted a study looking at a driver with a clean driving record and one with a DUI charge. They state “Drivers with DUIs can expect to pay an average of $830 more per year for car insurance than drivers with clean records.”
Sr- 22 Insurance is now a requirement after a first conviction in Florida. This insurance can extremely increase premiums.
Other Factors to Consider
Other monetary concerns the article address is that with a DUI you have mandatory requirements of probation that cost money like:
- DUI School (recommended treatment)
- MADD impact panel
- Possible Ignition Interlock ($75 to $150 to install with $60 to $80 monthly maintenance)
- $500 minimum fines + Court Costs
- Probation Fees (Monthly)
- Lost time from work
DUI Lawyers are 3X more likely to get a DUI charge reduced.
A great quote in the article, which I find always holds true is “Would you extract your own tooth or would hire a dentist who has training?” The answer is obvious, still some people tend to think they know best when it comes to their DUI. Like Abe Lincoln said “he who represents himself has a fool for a client”.
Some clients opt for the Public Defender. This can lead to great results, however, many times attorneys at the Public Defenders offices are overworked and underpaid. True attention to your case does not always happen.
A skilled DUI defense attorney will look at every angle of the case including:
- The legality of the traffic stop
- Perceived impairment
- Calibration of the breathalyzer
- If a blood test was taken, was it timely?
- Administration of the field sobriety test
- Medical or vision problems
- Were procedures followed in filing the case?
Quote Wizard estimates a dropped DUI saves you $3,400 in insurance, dropped to reckless driving saves you $1,900.00 as well as court costs. These costs coupled other fees long term, the choice of weather or not to hire an attorney is clear.