If you’ve been charged with DWI, you’re probably scared, frustrated and stressed out. When your emotions are high, it’s hard to know what steps to take. You may hear that your charge is a misdemeanor and wonder if you should just plead guilty and get it over with. Is hiring a lawyer really going to help — or will you just end up with a costly legal bill?
The people at QuoteWizard, an online insurance comparison website, decided to perform a cost-benefit analysis with the tools at their disposal. They compared insurance rate data, looked into DWI conviction statistics and talked to DWI defense lawyers.
Their analysis yielded a clear result: On average, people who hire private defense lawyers in DWI cases typically save over $4,000 in insurance alone. They’re also three times more likely to have their charge reduced. Overall, the average financial benefit of hiring a DWI attorney is enough to pay for the attorney’s fee.
Part of the reason is that the legal consequences of a DWI conviction are extremely damaging. Even an uncomplicated, first-offense DWI conviction can mean jail time, costly fines and court costs, loss of your driver’s license, an expensive ignition interlock device (at your expense), whiskey plates, professional sanctions, a criminal record, and more.
It can also triple your insurance rates. QuoteWizard found that, after a DWI, people end up paying over $4,000 in auto insurance increases over five years, on average, if they had a clean driving record before.
It’s a pretty simple formula:
- A DWI costs an average of $830 in insurance increases per year.
- The average insurance cost of a DWI on your record is over $486 higher per year than the cost of a reckless or negligent driving charge.
- People who hire a private DWI attorney are three times more likely to have their DWI charges reduced.
It’s equally important not to make cost the main factor when you choose your DWI attorney. QuoteWizard was comparing people who hired private DWI attorneys and those who went without an attorney or who were represented by a public defender. While no attorney can guarantee results, it’s fair to say that experience and dedication make a difference.
The real consequences of a DWI conviction are far more serious than many people realize. It creates ripple effects throughout your life that can be stunning. Don’t pick a lawyer based on them being inexpensive — getting an experienced, dedicated attorney may very well pay for itself.