A drink driving offence comes with a minimum 12-month driving ban and a fine – plus potentially other penalties on top. This makes defending yourself to the best of your ability almost always worthwhile. But how much does a drink driving solicitor cost?
The bad news is that driving lawyers are usually not cheap. Then again, with a costly fine and that mandatory driving ban on the cards, that expense is definitely relative.
Here is everything you need to know about the likely cost of hiring a solicitor to defend you against a drink driving charge:
Is it worth the cost to get a drink driving solicitor?
If driving plays an important role in your life, it is almost certainly worth the cost to get a drink driving solicitor to defend you. The minimum driving ban for a drinking charge is 12 months – and this can go as high as 36 months even for a first offence.
Can you get to work without driving? How else would your life be impacted if you couldn't get behind the wheel? If you have already been charged with a similar offence, will you risk community service or prison time?
There is also the question of the court fine. When a drink driving fine can be as much as £5000, any fees a lawyer might charge that are less than that could be seen as a saving. Especially when you add in the advantage of not being banned from driving on top.
How much does a drink driving solicitor cost?
A little unhelpfully, every solicitor charges for their services in a different way. Each places a different value on their time and can include different things in any package of services they offer.
For instance, one might include initial legal advice and case assessment and be willing to build your best possible defence for you but charge extra for any necessary court appearances. Another might include a court appearance in a more expensive package.
Some ballpark drink driving solicitors' costs might vary from £1500 to £6000 or more if your case requires multiple court hearings. To get the best deal, it is a good idea to:
- Avoid hourly rates if possible – some lawyers charge hourly rates for their services. This can look cheaper on the surface, but there is a risk that they can escalate with no firm limit to the cost you pay in the end.
- Explore fixed fees fully – different solicitors include different services in the more reliable fixed fees they charge. Make sure you are very clear on what you are getting before you hire them.
One potential (but not recommended) way to minimise solicitors fees is to find a general practice solicitor to defend you against a drink driving charge. The major downside of this is that they will not be as familiar with the relevant laws and be much less likely to successfully defend you.
Are expensive lawyers better than others?
There's no guarantee that an expensive lawyer is automatically better than a lower-priced one. Some larger firms need to cover the costs of larger office spaces and a larger staff. Thus, they may charge more for the hiring of a solicitor of equal experience to a smaller firm that charges less.
The best way to judge any drink driving solicitor you are using isn't actually their cost. Instead, you might want to:
- Investigate their reviews and reputation
- Call to see what free advice they offer
- Check their professional qualifications
- See if you get a good “gut reaction” after chatting and how keen they seem to help you
- Then ask about their fees and what you get for them
Can you get Legal Aid for drink driving?
Yes, it is possible to get Legal Aid for drink driving. However, your case must have what's called “merit” (essentially, you must have been notably over the alcohol limit) and you must qualify financially.
You can also consider placing a DCO (a Defence Costs Order) if you win your case. This may enable you to claim back some of the costs involved, but it is unlikely to cover everything.
Get a free quote on drink driving solicitors fees
DFR Solicitors specialises in motoring offences. We help our clients put forward their best possible defence, potentially avoiding court and a driving ban altogether.