San Fernando Valley Criminal & DUI Defense Lawyers

Se Habla Español 818.783.5700

The Cost to Hire a Lawyer for Your DUI

The Cost to Hire a Lawyer for Your DUI

If you are shopping for price, you can stop now.  I will not be the cheapest lawyer you can find to help you with your DUI.  For years I have been getting calls and people simply want to know how much it costs to hire a lawyer to defend them for a DUI.

The answer has not changed.  After over 20 years of practicing law and hundreds and hundreds of DUI cases, the answer is the same, it depends.  It depends on the case, the location, criminal history, whether it goes to trial, if we need to hire an expert, do we need to use a private investigator or an accident reconstruction specialist?

When I first started practicing, it was considered unprofessional for lawyers to advertise their services.  It was considered in poor taste to discuss fees over the telephone.  These things have long since changed.  I did a bit of advertising for a while, but the quality of the potential client which the ads brought in left something to be desired.  People would call and simply ask how much it costs to hire me.  They were shopping for the cheapest lawyer.  I would tell them that before they hired the cheapest lawyer, they should consider the services of the public defender.  When I did this, the callers seemed confused.  How could a free lawyer be better than one that I pay?  Well, we get what we pay for.  If I hire a $1,500 (or less) lawyer, I normally get a guy who looks like he slept in his suit.  That lawyer wants to resolve the case as quickly as possible.  That lawyer doesn’t want to go back to court to get a better deal.  That lawyer doesn’t want to spend an hour or two reviewing the police body cameras or CHP car videos.

I have long ago stopped advertising, but potential clients still seem to find me from my blogs.  Potential clients still call and want to know how much.  Still, how much is a complicated question but for the sake of my time and your time, it’s going to cost you at least $3,500.00 for a first offense DUI in Los Angeles or Ventura.  Let me explain a little bit about why.

I recently met with a referred client from Ventura.  He was arrested for DUI and I told him it was going to be $3,500 to hire me to set and conduct his DMV hearing and to go to court as many times as were necessary to resolve the case, without trial.  He agreed and told me he would pay me in 2 weeks.  When I didn’t hear back from him, I emailed him about his upcoming dates.  He told me he found another lawyer.  That lawyer was going to charge him $2,000 for his DUI and another traffic ticket which he didn’t mention to me in our extensive meeting.  Here is how is $2,000 shakes out.

To handle a traffic ticket properly takes at least two court appearance.  That’s at least 4 hours of my time to and from and waiting in court, not including any preparation.  To handle the DMV hearing properly requires at least 2 hours of my time to review and prep for the hearing and then conduct the hearing.  That does not allow for any subpoenas, expert witnesses or investigation.  To handle the DUI right it will take at least three court appearances.  That’s at least 6 hours of my time.  Throw in another 2 hours for reviewing the documents and talking to the client and we are up to at least 14 hours.  Again, this does not include subpoenas, experts, investigations, motion prep or motions or speaking with the client.

I estimate that my average case takes about 5 court appearances to resolve properly.  In Ventura County, that number is likely even higher. That means this case would take me at least 18 hours to handle effectively.  It would be considerably more time if there were motion hearing or any discovery delays – which there always are in Ventura.  That means If I took his case for $2,000, I could only allot about 6 hours to his case.  That’s simply not ok.  Otherwise, I would have to work for less money than I pay my plumber or my electrician.  That is also not ok.

If you want to save money on a lawyer, see if you qualify for the services of the public defender.  The PD’s are paid by the county.  They get a salary for going to court every day.  They are normally very familiar with the court and know the value of a case.

If, on the other hand, you want exceptional representation on your DUI, call me.  If you want a lawyer who will leave no stone unturned, call me.  I will do everything I can to try and get your charges dismissed, get the charges reduced and minimize the punishment.  Pay me what I ask and let me do my job.  If I put in a little extra time on your case, such is life.  I get a flat fee up front so that I don’t have to calculate my hours.  I don’t have to send out monthly bills.  I don’t have to wait to get paid.  That has value to me.  That saves time for me.  That is time which I can spend on your case, getting the results you want.  There is a reason I don’t need to advertise.  There is also a reason I don’t need to take DUI case for $1,500.  I have ethics.  I want to do the right thing.  After 24 years of practice, I still want to treat my clients the way I would want to be treated if I were in their shoes.

If you or someone you care about has been arrested for DUI or any other criminal offense call a lawyer who will dedicate the time to handle your case the right way and knows how to help you:

Jeffrey Vallens (818) 783-5700 or (805) 230-3651

Email me at:

Visit my sites: or