2024 How Much Does a DUI Lawyer Cost in California?

Gibbons & Gibbons a law Corporations

If you’re facing a drunk driving arrest, you’re likely looking into the DUI lawyer cost in California. The potential costs of hiring a professional attorney for your defense may make you hesitant to acquire legal counsel. However, don’t let this deter you, as many lawyers are willing to work out a payment plan with their clients and offer various methods of paying for their services. What’s important is that you are properly represented in court against criminal charges.

Criminal Charges for Driving Under the Influence in CA

In California, if you’re found operating a motor vehicle (or having the immediate power to) while impaired by alcohol, you can be arrested for intoxicated driving. You can be arrested if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is above the legal limit, which is 0.08 or above for adults and 0.04 or higher for commercial drivers and adults on DUI probation. For minors under 21, there is zero tolerance for intoxication.

You can also be arrested, even when your BAC is under the limit if the officer deems you as being too impaired by alcohol or other substances (illicit, prescription, or over-the-counter) to have the capacity to drive safely. Many DUI arrests include both “driving under the influence” and “driving with a BAC above the legal limit.”

Most DUIs are misdemeanors unless the driver injured another person, has a prior DUI felony conviction, or has three or more similar convictions in the past decade. An intoxicated driving conviction will result in harsher penalties with each subsequent conviction. Potential punishment will include time in jail or prison, heavy fines, completion of the mandated amount of alcohol education, and the installation of an ignition interlock device.

Factors That Can Influence How Much Your DUI Attorney May Cost

It’s true that lawyer fees can be very costly. However, consider the expenses they may save you compared to not hiring legal defense and simply accepting the charges. It’s worth it to have the help of an experienced defense attorney. Even when excluding the costs of a DUI lawyer, the expenses of your case will still yield court fees, fines, expenses for other penalties, DMV costs, increased annual car insurance rates, and other costs. However, these are only certain if you don’t fight the charges.

Your DUI defense lawyer can work diligently to have the charges against you reduced, if not dismissed altogether. They can see to it that you receive the least severe penalties possible for your case, ultimately saving you more in the long term. Factors that will affect how much your lawyer is likely to charge for their services for your specific circumstances include:

  • The severity of your DUI charge. This includes how far above the legal limit your BAC was, whether you caused a traffic incident, and/or whether you injured or caused the death of another individual.
  • Your criminal history. More DUIs can result in more severe charges.
  • The strengths and weaknesses in your defense. If your attorney needs more time to process your case, the fees will likely be greater.
  • Whether there are potential witnesses available. Your attorney needs to locate any witnesses to share their testimony, but they also need to determine whether this will help or hurt your defense.
  • The time and resources that the lawyer expects your case to need. Complex cases will demand more effort from your attorney. Also, if your case may benefit from hiring a private investigator, expert witness, or other professional, this will also add to the costs.
  • In addition to these initial expenses, there may also be certain post-conviction fees to consider. If you are convicted and later wish to have your misdemeanor or felony expunged from your criminal record or want to remove bench warrants, these will also add to your lawyer fees. You may have even more expenses if you happen to violate any terms of your probation, thus requiring your defense lawyer to address the infraction.


Q: How Much Does a DUI Lawyer Cost in California?

A: DUI lawyers may cost between a few thousand dollars and several thousands of dollars in total. Your total attorney fees will depend upon how complex or severe your case is, whether anyone was injured or killed, and if there were any aggravating factors in the traffic violation.

Simple cases cost your lawyer less time, work, and resources dedicated to your case, including the number of court appearances. Therefore, these are likely to cost on the lower end of the range.

Q: Is It Worth Getting a DUI Lawyer in California?

A: It’s often worth getting the help of a DUI lawyer, even if you are guilty. A qualified defense attorney can meticulously go over the circumstances surrounding the charge. They can also ensure that no incorrect or misleading information is in the police report. A skilled attorney can also determine whether the officer followed proper procedures, such as needing probable cause.

If the charges aren’t dropped, your lawyer can use relevant evidence and defensive arguments on your behalf, working to acquire you the least severe punishment possible.

Q: How Much Are Court Fees for a DUI in California?

A: Court fees for a DUI can vary, depending on the circumstances of the offense, but they are likely to cost at least several thousand dollars. This is before including the expenses of your annual auto insurance premium increasing. The longer your DUI case takes to resolve, particularly how much time is spent in court, the more your total court fees will generally be.

Q: Are You Punished for Your First DUI in California?

A: Yes, defendants convicted of a first-time DUI are also subject to penalties, which may include punishments on the harsher end if the offense was an aggravated DUI. Potential penalties may include:

  • Up to multiple months of jail time and license suspension
  • Heavy fines
  • The required completion of substance abuse education/rehabilitation
  • The installation of an ignition interlock device in their vehicle

Contact Gibbons & Gibbons

The law corporation of Gibbons & Gibbons is dedicated to providing each client with the highest quality legal advice and representation. Our educated and experienced criminal defense attorneys have helped numerous people get the charges against them dropped, receive lesser penalties, and save money compared to if they had simply accepted their DUI. Contact us today to get your case evaluated and hear from a compassionate attorney about what legal options are available to you.