Will the Cost of a DUI Conviction Outweigh the Cost of Retaining an Attorney to Defend the Charge?
Interviewer: In terms of the cost. You said that it’s a big sticking point. What do you estimate the cost is to being convicted of a DUI, even a first time one, with all the insurance and fees and loss of work and all that stuff?
The Cost of Lost Time in Jail, Losing Your Job and Your Home is Immeasurable
Steve Tomeo: I’ll tell you I routinely see people that are second and third-time offenders and have to serve some serious time in jail. They lose everything, so they lose their home; they lose their families; they lose their car; they lose their job. For some of those people the cost to them is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars if not more.
There Are Significant Costs Associated With the License Suspension Including Restoration Fees and Increased Insurance Premiums
Steve Tomeo: A person that is arrested and loses his license is first of all going to have legal fees. He’s going to have court costs. He’s going to have DMV restoration fee costs. He’s going to have probably increased insurance costs. I’ve seen estimates in Connecticut and other states around $7,500 to $10,000 for a first offender when you factor in everything. The question becomes do you want to try and get out from underneath that or do you just want to give in to it and accept it?
Interviewer: It’s like saying do you want a guarantee that you’ll lose at least ten thousand dollars or do you want to have the possibility that you may not lose or have to spend less than half of that to hire an attorney? Even though it looks like hiring an attorney is an expensive proposition, in reality it’s almost always cheaper than the alternative.
Self-Representation or a Private Attorney: Is It Better to Have an Attorney So You Have a Chance of Fighting This Charge?
Steve Tomeo: If you do not have an attorney you have absolutely no chance, so I think there’s a misperception of how you use an attorney. I mean primarily they want you to get them out of the jam that they are in. They want to be found not guilty. There are many people that do not want to go in the court by themselves. They are afraid that they might be taken advantage of.
A new client told me yesterday, “I do not think I have a real good case, but I want an attorney. I want you to go over everything see if I do.” He says, “I just went through a divorce where I represented myself and I got wiped out, so I’m not going to court anymore without an attorney.”
When You Do Not Retain an Attorney to Defend Your DUI Charge, You Lose the Opportunity to Fight an Arrest That Later Could Be Found to Be Unjust – Attorney Tomeo Is Experienced in Applying His Skills to Uncover Facts about a DUI Case That Become Beneficial to His Client.
I think the attorney can apply his skills to see whether or not there was there probable cause to make the arrest. If the stop was proper, the attorney can conduct an investigation and in doing so, find out facts or events that weren’t in the report that are helpful to your client.
I would say, in the majority of DUI cases, there is the opportunity to have the case dismissed or the right argument about the facts of the case exists to negotiate with the prosecutor in order to mitigate the consequences.