A drink driving charge is a serious matter. If you’re facing a court appearance then the pressure is already building, and it makes getting clear and responsible advice even more important. Luckily, there’s a large pool of drink driving lawyers in Sydney that can help guide you through the process and ensure a fair outcome. There are a few things you need to know in order to make the right choice. If you are in Melbourne you might want to check out our article for DUI charges in Melbourne.
We have some contact details at the bottom of this article if you scroll down.
What can a lawyer do for you?
When you head to court it will either be to plead guilty, or innocent. You might think that if you’re pleading guilty, there’s not much anyone can do. Why not just show up to court alone and save the drink driving solicitor fees?
Magistrates actually have a lot of discretion when making judgments and an experienced lawyer will work to get the best outcome. Even with a guilty plea, that can include avoiding a conviction and license disqualification. A ‘section 10’ allows the court to find a person guilty, but release them with no conviction. It is the best possible outcome for a guilty plea, no criminal record, no loss of driver’s license, or any other penalties.
The courts don’t like to just hand out section 10’s though. There are a number of issues that need to be considered, and a good lawyer will be able to present the best argument to make that happen.
Of course if you’re fighting the charge then you’ll really want the best drink driving lawyer you can find. With a not guilty plea, the lawyer has to know how to challenge the police evidence. There can sometimes be sufficient grounds to have the evidence thrown out, and then the case dismissed. Should the case end up in court, an experienced traffic lawyer will already be familiar with the procedure and the expectations of the magistrates. Having someone who knows what has and hasn’t worked in the past is an invaluable asset.
Almost every law firm offers a free consultation. Make sure to take advantage of this before deciding on how to proceed.
Drink Driving Solicitors Fees
Is a good lawyer expensive? The answer to that depends on what they can do for you. Fines alone can be upwards of $5,000, but it’s avoiding the license disqualification and criminal record that can make almost any fee worth paying.
Drink driving solicitor fees can be charged in a few different ways. First of all, the law requires that clients be informed in advance about what fees will be charged. You can use the free consultation that many offer to find this out before making a choice.
This is probably the best option when pleading guilty. Many traffic lawyers specializing in drink driving charges offer fixed fee representation in those circumstances. These fees tend to range from $1,000 to $2,000 and typically include:
- Initial consultation
- Devising the strategy
- Drafting court submissions
- 1 adjournment
- Court appearance
For simple cases with not guilty pleas there are some lawyers who offer fixed fees. These start around $3,000, and go up from there. With more complex cases, fixed fees can be negotiated after a detailed consultation.
Drink Driving Cases Per Item & Hourly Fees:
Drink driving solicitor fees for not guilty pleas are often done on a per item or hourly basis. Typically, the items refer to each court appearance or document preparation. In and around the Sydney metropolitan area, $500-650 per court day is not uncommon. Hourly rates really should only be discussed for very complex cases. With fees averaging around $200-300 per hour, the cost can rise very quickly. If hourly rates are your only option, make sure to get itemized billing statements so you can understand exactly what you are being charged for.
No win No Fee Basis.
These kind of legal arrangements have been around a long time, but with a lot of competition these days no win no fee drink driving solicitors are becoming more widely available. The concept sounds simple; you will only be charged legal fees if the lawyer wins the case. There are law firms in Sydney that do keep it that simple, but you still have to be careful.
The first thing you need to understand is what the exact definition of a ‘win’ is. Winning from the lawyer’s perspective might be a lot different from your own, and you don’t want to be on the hook for a result you didn’t expect. The other big area is something called ‘uplift fees’. Lawyers are permitted to charge an additional 25% of the legal costs as a reward for taking on the risk. This can substantially increase the final bill. Any costs where the firm has to spend money may also fall outside the no win no fee agreement, meaning that the client must pay these costs no matter what.
Law firms are very strict in what cases they will accept on a no win no fee basis, so if that is available for your drink driving charge, then it is probably a good sign. As with all legal arrangements, however, make sure to read through the detail carefully, and don’t be afraid to shop around.
NSW takes drink driving very seriously. Maximum penalties for repeat offenders can involves thousands in fines, up to two years in jail, and license disqualifications lasting for five years. In other words, it is not something to take lightly. Luckily there are many experienced and qualified drink driving lawyers in Sydney who can take on even the most difficult cases. With fixed fees available for financial protecting you might not find yourself free of worries, but you will have some security that you’re getting the best advice at an affordable cost.
The first place people ring for legal advice is sometims the New South Wales Law Society. Another website to check is Sydneydrinkdriving.com.au. Here are two hand books you can download and read – drink driving information nsw and the drink driving handbook.