It can be expensive to challenge a drink driving charge. However, if your driving license is vital to your life, it may well be worth it. But how much does a drink driving solicitor cost?
A ballpark estimate would be somewhere in the region of several thousand pounds. A very rough figure would be £1800-£2500 for most specialist firms.
Yet there are many solicitors out there working for lower or higher rates. Here’s what to think about when you’re considering the prices that drink driving solicitors can charge:
Is It Worth Getting A Solicitor For Drink Driving?
If you are facing a drink driving charge, it is always a good idea to get specialist legal representation as soon as possible. Even a general lawyer will likely not have the experience to advise you as to whether or not you have a defence.
To work out whether it’s worth getting a solicitor for a drink driving offence, you might want to:
1) Consider The Consequences
The penalties for being found guilty of drink driving include:
- Disqualification – for a minimum of 12 months and even as long as 36 months if this is your first offence. 36 months is usually the minimum if you have a similar recent offence.
- Fine – the Magistrates’ Court can levy a fine of up to £5000.
- Prison time – for certain drink-driving related offences, you can face several months in prison.
2) Consider How You Might Defend Yourself
The court system is intimidating. It’s also very confusing for people who haven’t come into contact with it before. Each kind of offence needs to be treated in its own way. This requires specialist understanding of the laws involved.
For example, drink driving offences can often be challenged or mitigated by a solicitor with the right knowledge and experience. On the other hand, someone without specialist knowledge might simply accept a guilty verdict without considering their options.
3) Consider The Costs Of Losing Your License
The cost of hiring a drink driving solicitor needs to be weighed against the financial impact of a guilty verdict – especially if your getting to work depends on your ability to drive. Some of those costs might include:
- Court fine – this can be anywhere up to £5000.
- Loss of income and impact of public transport – some people have reported losses of over a third of their income after changing jobs following a guilty verdict. Using public transport can also be very costly in the UK.
- Increase in insurance costs – your insurance premiums can rise as much as 400% after a guilty verdict.
How Much Does A Drink Driving Solicitor Cost?
Hiring a drink driving solicitor can be expensive. The average cost will be several thousand pounds depending on the specific duties you will require your lawyer to complete for you.
In general, the answers to several questions will affect how much a lawyer who specialises in drink driving cases will cost you:
Does Your Solicitor Charge Fixed Fees Or An Hourly Rate?
It is almost certainly better to choose a lawyer who tells you how much their services will cost – a fixed fee listed upfront.
Being charged by the hour opens you up to costs that can escalate wildly. There is also no limit on how high those charges can go.
What Does Your Fixed Price Include?
Different lawyers and law firms may charge different fees for individual services you need them to perform. It’s best to ask precisely what you’re getting first. Does your fixed fee cover everything? Or does it only cover, for example:
- An assessment of your case, the defence you might offer, and advice on a plea
- Mitigation efforts but no court appearance
- A set number of court appearances or a fee per appearance
Is Your Lawyer A Specialist? How Experienced Are They?
There is no fixed rule that says more expensive lawyers are better. Some solicitors have higher overheads they need to cover.
However, a lawyer who prices their services higher because of their experience (specifically in defending clients from drink driving offences) will almost certainly deliver a better result for you.
Again though, there’s no guarantee that you might not be able to find a specialist in motoring law who charges more affordable fees.
The best way to find out is to get in touch and ask them about their previous experience, success rate, and exactly what their fees include.
Can You Get Your Money Back If You Win Your Case?
Sometimes. Generally speaking, you can get at least some of your legal fees covered as part of a DCO (Defence Costs Order) after the fact, though this should not be counted on.
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