How Much Does A DUI Attorney Cost In California?

DUI attorneys in California range in price based on a number of factors.

In fact:

An inexperienced young attorney handling a first time DUI may only charge $2,000 while an experienced DUI attorney handling a complex case involving a DUI murder could charge as much as $70,000.

The factors that affect the cost of a case in order of importance include:

  1. The complexity of the case
  2. The experience level and reputation of the attorney
  3. The current caseload of the attorney
  4. Is the case handled by an associate or the primary attorney?
  5. The specific courthouse
  6. Potential trial

As you can see the costs can vary quite a bit.

Let’s delve into all of these factors a bit deeper and see how the costs change.

How Does Complexity Of The Case Change The Cost of A DUI Attorney?

DUI attorneys in California almost exclusively work on a flat fee pricing model. This means that the cost of the case is included for a specific price rather than hourly pricing.

However, an attorney will still calculate the cost of a DUI based on how much time they estimate they will need to bring the case to resolution.  The largest single factor in that equation is how complex is the case.


If an attorney estimates a first time DUI case will take 12 hours of time and they charge $400 an hour the flat fee will be $4,800.

What If The DUI Is A Felony?

If for example, a defendant was involved in a collision that caused a significant injury the amount of time an attorney will spend on the case could be 8-9 months and 20+ court appearances before a resolution is reached.

What Are The Factors That Make A DUI Case More Complex?

How Does Experience Level And Reputation Affect Cost?

An attorney’s experience level changes the cost in the same way that it does in all professions as more experienced and skilled practitioners are in higher demand because of their level of expertise.

Demand For DUI Attorney's

Highly Experienced
A Few Years Of Experience
New Attorney

A criminal case has potentially dire consequences for the defendant and if not handled with the appropriate level of skill and experience, the outcome can be significantly worse.

How Does Reputation Affect The Price Of An Attorney?

An attorney with close relationships in the city attorney or district attorneys office might be able to have an easier time negotiating good plea bargains.

Additionally, some attorneys have reputations for taking cases to trial which might make the prosecutor think twice if they don’t feel they have a very good case.

The ability of an attorney to get successful resolutions in a case improves their reputation in the eyes of the attorney community and pricing is commensurate with their success level.

How Does An Attorneys Caseload Affect The Cost?

This is not a factor that a potential client can determine beforehand but attorneys may adjust pricing from time to time based on how busy they are in any specific point in time or some firms load up large caseloads and charge lower prices.

Is The Case Handled By An Associate Or Primary Attorney?

This one is pretty self-explanatory as the owner of the firm will charge more to handle a case exclusively compared to an associate handling the case because his/her time is more limited and/or they have a much higher level of experience.

How Can The Specific Courthouse Affect The Cost of a DUI?

If an attorney knows that a specific courthouse has very difficult prosecutors and judges to work with than that can factor into how much time they estimate the case will take to resolve.

How Much Do DUI Trials Cost?

DUI trials are not typically included in the initial retainer fee for a DUI attorney although some may include it. The reason for this is that 95%+ of all criminal cases including DUI’s are resolved prior to a trial.

So 95%+ of defendants will never need to pay for a trial and so this fee is usually in addition to a retainer for the DUI case if it’s needed.

How We Can Help

If you are ready to discuss a pending DUI case with an attorney contact the Aizman Law Firm at 818-351-9555 for a free confidential consultation.

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