We get asked all the time how much it will cost to hire a DUI attorney in Chicago. In our experience, it should cost you at least $1,500. If it costs less, you may not be getting the proper case evaluation, or the most thorough representation. In many cases, it will cost you more. Several thousands of dollars in legal fees is not uncommon for a DUI case in Illinois.
But it's worth it. Legal fees are often minimal compared with the real cost of a DUI conviction. The Illinois Secretary of State's Office estimates that the typical DUI conviction costs a driver $14,660 when all is said and done. Here are some of the hidden, and not-so-hidden, costs to keep in mind:
Insurance. If convicted, Illinois law requires you to get high risk car insurance for three years. This can cost $1,500 a year, or $4,500 total.
Fines. If convicted of a DUI, you will probably have to pay a fine. In Illinois, the fine can be $2,500 for a first offense.
Towing, court fees, etc. You'll get hit with various fees and costs. You'll have to get your car back from the impound lot; there will be court fees; and there's the mandatory contribution to a trauma center fund. These costs can be anywhere from $500 - $1,000.
BAIID. If you're convicted of a DUI in Illinois and you want driving privileges, you'll have to get this device installed in your car's ignition (it won't start unless you're sober). It can cost around $600 for installation and monthly fees.
Treatment/classes. You may be required to undergo an alcohol abuse evaluation and take classes. This can cost a few hundred dollars.
License reinstatement. There is a fee for reinstatement, plus a fee for getting a new license, and a fee for a formal hearing. Getting your Illinois driver's license back can cost anywhere from $250 to $550.
Legal fees. Again, this should cost at least $1,500.
Missed work. This entire process will cost you a huge chunk of time. You may have to miss work - and lose pay - to take care of everything.
If there was a vehicle accident involved, with possible injuries and civil lawsuits, the costs of a DUI can sky rocket. In addition, your employer can fire you if they learn of your DUI conviction. And future employers may decide to not hire you based on the fact that you have a criminal record. In Illinois, a DUI conviction remains on your record forever. It cannot be expunged or sealed.
We could go on and on. The point is that people often think they can't afford an attorney. As a result, they decide to take the so-called easy way out and plead guilty. Don't do it. It can end up costing you way more than any legal fees. A good DUI defense attorney can be the difference between an expensive conviction and a clean record.
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