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1. Good lawyers aren't cheap, and cheap lawyers aren't good.
The fee you pay for your DUI defense will depend on the kind of lawyer you want. If you feel that you will probably just want to get it over with, then don't pay for a fighting lawyer. Tom Hudson is nationally-known as an expert in DUI Defense, and has access to some of the best experts in the field. We are going to be more expensive than the average criminal lawyer who merely dabbles in DUI defense, along with all of the murders, robberies, and assaults that he or she might handle.
2. Sometimes paying for expertise actually SAVES you money.
Sometimes, people ask us what the difference is between a DUI specialist and a general criminal lawyer who handles DUI cases. The difference is huge. Perhaps to the tune of several thousand dollars in expense which you can save by having your case handled by a specialist.
DUI is the only offense that carries with it a mandatory school that you must attend regardless of whether you are guilty of the offense. DUI School is required before you can get a hardship license, and before you can get your regular license reinstated.
Part of the DUI School program is a mandatory “psycho-social evaluation” to determine whether you are a problem drinker and mandatory counseling if they decide you are. If the evaluator decides you have a problem with alcohol, then you can be assigned as few as 6, or as many as 36 or more sessions of alcohol counseling, which is mandatory before you can get your license back.
Because we specialize in DUI defense, we are focused on how the evaluations are done, and what you can expect as you submit to this process. If you know what to expect, you are much more likely to avoid the mistakes which could cause you to be sent to a long course of counseling that you don't need.
Preparation for DUI School is just one way that being represented by a specialist can benefit you as you face the vast machinery of the government. We are good at what we do because it's ALL we do.
3. With some lawyers, a small initial fee can mount over the course of the case.
Here's how we do our fees:
Our "base fee" covers everything except a jury trial, no matter how many times we appear in court for you, email with you, or talk to you on the phone. You don't have to watch the clock if you are on the phone with us. Once your base fee is paid, you are covered through jury selection. Our base fee ranges from $6,500 on a standard, first-offense DUI to much higher amounts if there is a crash with injuries or death. (We do occasionally quote lower fees in certain hardship cases or if the case presents particularly important legal issues.)
Many lawyers may charge a smaller "retainer," but then will ask you to pay additional fees if the case requires a large number of court appearances or depositions. That is not how we operate.
Our base fee represents the fee for entering an appearance, handling the drivers license issues, advising you along the way, investigating the case, evaluating the evidence, attending all pretrial hearings, researching and filing motions to suppress evidence and statements, holding hearings on those motions, conducting plea negotiations, and preparing the case for trial. The only additional fee is if you decide that you want to proceed with a jury trial.
4. Decide if your case is important enough to demand an expert lawyer.
If you shop around, you will find a wide range of fees, and a wide range of background and experience among lawyers practicing criminal law. You will certainly find attorneys who charge lower fees than ours. If cost is the only issue, then we encourage you to see if one of those lawyers can fill your needs.
We believe that trust is essential to the attorney-client relationship. That trust must be based upon your interaction with the lawyer you select. With so much on the line, there must be a good fit of personalities between you and your lawyer for the relationship to work.
Sadly, not everyone can drive a Rolls. If our fees are outside your range, ask us about attorneys associated with us. We make an effort to establish working relationships with able young attorneys with good trial skills and exemplary ethical standards. Although they may not have the training and experience that Tom Hudson has, they offer extraordinary value and are well-regarded in the courts of Florida.
Our phone number is (941) 358-5400 in Sarasota and Bradenton, Florida, and (305) 292-8384 in Key West, Florida.
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