Why Do You Need a DUI Lawyer and Is the Cost Worth It? 

by | Oct 18, 2022 | Driving Offences, Immediate Roadside Prohibition, Traffic Violation

Driving while under the influence – or ‘DUI’ – is a serious matter in British Columbia. If convicted, you face a driving ban, a fine, and a criminal record. Then there are all the other costs that you’ll incur, like towing and impound fees, increased insurance premiums, participation in the Ignition Interlock Program, mandatory rehabilitation…and so the list goes on.

In short, a DUI is really very expensive. Much more expensive than a DUI lawyer.

Here, we explain in more detail why hiring a DUI lawyer is one of the most cost-effective decisions you can make.

Should I get a Vancouver DUI lawyer or represent myself?

If you are charged with driving under the influence, you have two options: represent yourself or hire a DUI lawyer.

Those who instruct DUI lawyers get much better outcomes than those who represent themselves.


Because a DUI lawyer is an expert in this area of law. They defend DUIs day in, day out. They know what strategies work when the police have made a mistake, and how different judges operate.

Unless you are a DUI lawyer, then it is very unlikely that you could achieve the same results.

We covered the related topic in 5 FAQs About Administrative Driving Prohibitions blog post

How much does a DUI lawyer cost BC?

But like all professionals in Canada, Vancouver DUI lawyers charge for their expertise. How much? Well, that depends.

Here at Mickelson & Whysall, we provide a fixed fee quote based on the complexity of your case. We provide this quote after our first meeting with you, so you can budget accordingly.

Is it worth getting a DUI lawyer?

Yet some people are deterred by legal fees. While they are happy to pay for other professionals – be it a dentist or a car mechanic – they draw the line at legal representation.

This, however, is a false economy. Yes, you have to pay for a DUI lawyer. But how much will you have to pay for a DUI conviction? A lot.

The costs of a DUI conviction are high, financially, practically and sometimes even emotionally.

From a financial point of view, you will have to pay:

  • A fine, from $1000.00 and up
  • Towing and impoundment costs
  • Increased insurance premiums, called the Driver Risk Premium

You may also have to pay for:

  • The Responsible Driver Program
  • The Ignition Interlock Program
  • Repairs to your vehicle and any other vehicles you damaged
  • Alternative modes of travel

From a practical point of view, you may find that you:

  • Lose your job
  • Struggle to secure future employment
  • Are barred from travelling to certain countries
  • Become isolated from your family and friends

The cost of all this can amount to many thousands of dollars.

Then there’s the emotional impact of a DUI conviction, which is not quite so easy to quantify.

Imagine not being able to see your children because you are serving a driving ban. Or having to tell a potential employer at a job interview that you have a driving record. Or not being able to go on holiday because of something that happened years ago.

The shame and stigma of a DUI conviction can last for many years, leaving you to wish that you could turn back the clock.

When you take all this into consideration, the cost of a DUI lawyer is a small price to pay.  

Should I get a lawyer for my first DUI?

This advice applies, regardless of whether you are facing your first DUI or your fifth. Repeat offenders may face more serious consequences, including jail time. However, those convicted of a DUI for the first time are not ‘spared’. You can still expect a driving ban, a fine, and all the other costs listed above. This means expert legal representation is always important.

What does a DUI lawyer do?

A DUI lawyer defends those who have been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This includes the offences of:

  • Driving with a blood alcohol level over .08%
  • Being in charge of a vehicle with a blood alcohol level over .08%
  • Refusing to provide a breath sample
  • Driving while under the influence of drugs

As DUI lawyers, we decide the best strategy in your case and then execute that strategy. The primary aim is to get the charge(s) dropped at the earliest available opportunity. This means gathering evidence to prove that:

  • Procedural errors were made, meaning the case cannot continue; and/or
  • The test results are unreliable; and/or
  • You are innocent of the charges

Evidence can be gathered from various sources, from eye witnesses to expert toxicologists. The right approach depends on the facts of your case.

Our DUI lawyers will also represent you in court and adjudicator hearings, and accompany you to police interviews. Ultimately, we share the same ambition as you: to protect your driving privileges and to minimize the consequences of a DUI conviction.

As our recent cases show, we are highly successful in defending IRPs and driving offences. We have helped countless people defend a charge of impaired driving. We can help you too. Even if you think it is an open and shut case, you may win on a technical argument.

It is always worth getting expert legal advice – the cost of a DUI conviction is just too great.

DUI lawyers Vancouver – get a quote

Have you been charged with driving under the influence? Contact our Vancouver law office to find out how our DUI lawyers can help you. Our partner, Meghan Forhan has a broad experience with DUI cases and has been named one of the three Best DUI Lawyers in Vancouver, BC

If you need assistance with other types of charges, please check these articles:

Call A Lawyer Now – 604.688.8588 (24hrs)