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How Much Should a DUI Lawyer Cost in Washington?

by | Jun 13, 2024 | DUI

How Much Should a DUI Lawyer Cost in Washington?

When facing a DUI charge in Washington, the cost of hiring a lawyer can vary significantly based on several factors, including the complexity of the case, the lawyer’s experience, and the specific county in which the charge is being handled. Here’s a detailed overview of what you can expect to pay for DUI defense in different regions of Washington State.

General Costs in Washington State

On average, hiring a DUI lawyer in Washington can cost between $5,000 and $10,000 for a first-time misdemeanor offense. For more complicated cases, especially those involving felonies or multiple charges, costs can rise significantly, potentially reaching up to $20,000 or more. This range includes legal fees, court costs, fines, and other related expenses such as license reinstatement fees and increased insurance premiums​.  Some courts can order your to probation at $100 a month for 5 years.  That’s $6,000 right there.  But even a mediocre attorney should be able to help you avoid that cost.

King County

In King County, the costs can be slightly higher due to the region’s economic environment and the complexity of cases handled. For a first-time DUI with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of less than 0.15 percent, the mandatory minimum fine is $865.50. However, total costs can be much higher when factoring in legal fees and additional penalties. For more severe cases or repeat offenses, costs can escalate, with mandatory minimum fines reaching $2,820.50 for a third offense​.  These are fines to the court and do not include legal fees for the lawyer.

Pierce County

Pierce County, including cities like Tacoma and Puyallup, generally sees similar cost ranges to King County. A first-time DUI offense with a BAC of less than 0.15 percent carries a minimum fine of $940.50 to the court. The overall cost, including lawyer fees, can range from $6,000 to $11,000 depending on the case specifics and whether any aggravating factors are present​.

Thurston County

Thurston County, which includes Olympia, may have slightly lower average costs compared to King and Pierce counties. The cost of hiring a DUI lawyer typically ranges from $5,000 to $9,000 for first-time offenses. However, the costs can rise for more complex cases or those involving repeat offenses​.

Kitsap County

In Kitsap County, including areas like Bremerton and Poulsbo, the cost for DUI defense is generally more affordable. Most experienced local criminal defense attorneys charge around $4,000 for a first-time misdemeanor DUI. For more complicated cases, costs can increase but typically remain below the higher end of what one might expect to pay in King or Pierce counties​.

Lakewood and Puyallup

In suburban cities such as Lakewood and Puyallup, the costs can vary but often align with those in Pierce County. The competitive rates in these areas mean that first-time DUI defenses usually cost between $5,000 to $10,000. Local attorneys familiar with the municipal court systems can sometimes offer more personalized services at slightly lower costs compared to larger urban centers​.

Why pay for a DUI lawyer?

First, a lawyer can help you reduce or avoid mandatory jail time.  Also, many people care about their record.  A DUI conviction remains on your record forever!  So, achieving at least a reduction can be a big win for some occupations.  Without the right guidance, you might end up in a two year alcohol treatment program costing $5,000 and be on probation for 5 years at $100 a month for another $6,000.  And there are various ramifications for your driver’s license–particular if you have a commercial driver’s license!  Some DUI resolutions can even affect your immigration status or ability to adjust.  And they all impact your ability to travel to Canada.  With some many mandatory and collateral consequences to a DUI it’s almost imperative to hire your own lawyer.

Conclusion

The cost of a DUI lawyer in Washington State varies significantly based on location, the complexity of the case, and the lawyer’s experience. In general, you can expect to pay between $5,000 and $10,000 for first-time offenses, with costs increasing for more severe or complicated cases. It’s essential to consult with a knowledgeable local attorney who can provide a more accurate estimate based on your specific circumstances and the details of your case. Always consider the potential long-term costs of a DUI conviction, including fines, increased insurance premiums, and potential impacts on employment when evaluating the expense of hiring a lawyer.

For more detailed information or to schedule a consultation, contacting a local attorney directly is advised. They can offer insights tailored to your situation and help navigate the complexities of DUI charges in your specific county.

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