How Much Does a DWI Lawyer Cost in Missouri?
Cost of Hiring a DWI Attorney in Missouri
Given the gravity of a conviction for driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Missouri, it’s natural to be concerned about future implications. A DWI conviction could lead to several consequences, including suspension of your license and driving privileges, career setbacks, and increased car insurance premiums. This is in addition to any other sentence or penalty the court may deem appropriate.
You’ll need to fight the charges against you and defend yourself in court to avoid these consequences. You’ll likely need a DWI attorney’s help to establish your defense and get the charges against you dropped or secure an acquittal.
Hiring a seasoned DWI or DUI attorney who has successfully fought and won the dismissal of DWI criminal charges for previous clients is essential for successfully navigating the criminal justice procedure. However, many people facing criminal charges are often concerned about the cost implications of getting attorney representation for their case.
Yes, attorneys do cost money, especially really good ones. However, if you’re wondering about the actual cost, it may be difficult to pin down the cost of a DWI attorney in Missouri to an actual figure. Generally, attorney fees are not fixed but vary with each attorney and with each case.
The amount charged for a DWI usually depends on several factors, including the severity of the charge, the attorney’s skill, and the law firm’s location and size. Keep reading to learn more about fees for Kansas City DWI lawyers.
DWI Offense in Missouri
Missouri law prohibits individuals from driving or operating a vehicle while intoxicated. The offense could be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on several factors, including its severity, whether anyone got hurt due to the DWI and whether the suspect is a prior offender.
Penalties for a DWI
The penalties upon a DWI conviction in Missouri include jail time, driver’s license suspension or revocation, payment of fines, and probation, as the case may be.
The penalties are generally lighter for first offenders but become more severe when the offense is repeated. Nevertheless, no matter how light the sentence may seem, every DWI conviction goes on your criminal record. In most cases, the conviction stays on your record for a minimum of ten years, after which you might be able to apply for an expungement. Even so, the expungement process is not automatic and is subject to other conditions and the judge’s discretion.
A conviction on your record could complicate your life in many ways. You could lose out on several opportunities and find it difficult to get a job or get into college. Therefore if you’re facing DWI charges, it’s essential that you do all you can to avoid a conviction, and that includes getting the required help from a DWI/DUI lawyer.
Factors That Determine the Cost of Missouri Attorney Fees
Estimating the actual cost of a DWI attorney’s fees could be difficult since the fees vary with each attorney or law firm. The amount charged is dependent on several variables, including the following:
If you need an attorney, you might want to get one within your immediate location or county or close to the DWI court where your case would be heard. This is because an attorney who spends time commuting for your case might factor transportation costs into your bill, which means you have to pay more.
The Complexity of the Case
Generally, the more complex your case, the more time your attorney would spend developing a suitable defense strategy. As an example, defending a first-time DWI offender may require less time and skill than defending someone with a previous conviction. The law is more lenient with first-time offenders and gets stricter with each subsequent DWI conviction. So a prior offender may likely be charged more than a first-timer.
The Attorney’s Experience and Success Rates
An established and experienced lawyer with a reputation for success might charge more for their services than an attorney who is just starting out. The higher rates of the former are usually justified by their experience and positive client reviews. The idea is that even though you pay higher, you’re almost sure to get a positive outcome, considering the attorney’s antecedents.
The Size of the Law Firm
Larger law firms with many associates are likely to charge higher than smaller ones. However, you might also have more than one attorney working on your case in a large law firm, which could offer the benefits of multiple perspectives.
Payment Structure for Attorneys in Missouri
Before your case begins, you’ll need to establish an agreed fee arrangement with your DWI attorney. Generally, attorney fee arrangements could take any of the following forms:
Some attorneys charge their fees on an hourly basis. They have fixed hourly rates they charge for their legal services. The hourly payment structure essentially bills you for each hour the attorney spends working on your case. The actual hourly rate varies with each attorney, so you might want to find one you can afford before committing.
A flat fee payment structure means that you and your attorney agree that you pay a fixed amount in exchange for their legal services. However, if you can’t complete the payment at once, you could make an arrangement with your attorney that allows you to pay the fees in installments.
As the name implies, a contingency fee payment arrangement means that the attorney agrees that the payment of their legal fees depends on a contingency- usually the success of the case. It is usually used where the case involves a claim for monetary compensation, such as in civil lawsuits. As such, it may not be appropriate for a criminal case such as a DWI.
Attorney fees are often negotiable so that you can discuss the issue at your first consultation. To save money, consider working with an attorney or law firm that offers a free consultation for new cases. There, you can discuss all the preliminary issues, including fees, and decide whether to commit yourself without having to spend extra money.
Why You Need an Attorney to Defend a DWI Charge
A DWI attorney has in-depth knowledge of Missouri DWI laws and can utilize this to help you develop a suitable defense strategy.
With their experience, they can advise you on the appropriate course of action, beginning with your DWI arrest, including whether to plead guilty and accept a plea bargain or proceed to trial. In any case, they can work to help you get an acceptable outcome depending on the circumstances. Having a lawyer represent you means that you have a professional on your side to plead your case, which is likely to improve your chances in DWI Court Missouri. Consider hiring one today.
Get Help With Your DWI Charge From the Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center
If you’re facing DWI charges in Missouri and need top-notch legal advice and representation, or you have questions about the arrest process for DUI, we can help at the Missouri DWI and Criminal Law Center. We are a firm of experienced DWI and criminal defense lawyers and can offer you quality legal representation that could positively affect the outcome of your case.
You can schedule a free consultation with us to get started.
If you have been drinking, use our "Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Calculator"to estimate your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) before you drive, but please keep in mind that the information it provides is just an estimate and may not be inaccurate.