Interviewer: What about some of the social costs? Based on your experience, with some of the clients you have worked with, what are some of the out-of-pocket and lifestyle expenses and sacrifices that you've seen people have to make (aside from missing work)?
Kevin Roach: Of course, there's a social stigma attached to it. If you are arrested for DUI, a lot of times you lose your license. You may have to carpool with somebody. You may have to take the bus to work instead of driving your car. You may not be able to find transportation so you may not be able to go to work. As a result, you may lose your job. There may be repercussions with your employer, as far as not being able to get to work. Sometimes your employer may find out about your DWI arrest. That creates a whole other set of problems. Yes, the social cost can be very high. There is social stigma about it, and then the monetary costs are substantial as well.
The Adverse Effects of DWI Charges on An Individual’s Life
Interviewer: Have you ever worked with any cases where you've seen a domino effect of bad luck, like where someone loses a job, loses a car, or maybe even goes through a divorce just because of a DUI?
Kevin Roach: Yes absolutely. I see that on a regular basis. Unfortunately, in my profession, I usually see people at a bad time in their life. Someone may be going through a stressful divorce. It may lead to more drinking, which may result in a DWI or vice versa. The DWI could cause problems in someone's marriage. It could cause problems with their job. It could result in additional problems. Yes, unfortunately I do see people have a domino effect. Sometimes I see them at the beginning. Sometimes I see them when they've already hit rock bottom.
It is Important to Benefit From SATOP and Make Changes in Your Life
One thing I try to encourage people to do, if they are ordered to attend SATOP, is to try to get something out of it. They have a lot of resources. There are a lot of good people that can advise you on your drinking and can get you help. A lot of times people do need that, whether they realize it or not. I try to encourage my clients to make the most out of SATOP, whether they get the level one or the level four. The people that really take it seriously and try to get something out of it – usually I don't see them back again. Usually they learn that they are going down the wrong path and that they need to make some changes in their life. I don't like to see people keep coming back to my office. I am here to help them, but I just always tell them, "I don't want to see you again." Some people keep coming back and their problems keep compounding, unfortunately.
Interviewer: Let's talk about the differences in the cost of accepting a deal versus a trial. Do jury trials become more expensive?
Kevin Roach: Yes, it is a lot more work, obviously. There are a lot higher attorney's fees to prepare a case for trial than to plea bargain. Typically the cost to take a case to trial is at least five times what it would be to enter a plea agreement on a case. Yes, it is substantially more if you want to go the route of a trial.
Cost Advisory for DWI Charges is Usually Done on a Case to Case Basis
Interviewer: At that point does it become a situation where you work with the client and you give them an idea of how much it's going to cost them? Does it become a factor of money sometimes when you say, "Hey, do it if you can afford it, but there are other options"?
Kevin Roach: Yes. Really it's done on a case-by-case basis. Sometimes there's situations where an individual absolutely cannot plead guilty to a case. From the get-go they know that it's going to be a trial. The fees and the kind of representation are all explained up front so everything is clear. Sometimes we are not sure whether it's going to be a case that is pled out or whether it's going to be a trial. Sometimes the client's not sure which way they want to go. In those cases, we can do a hybrid contract where it's X amount of representation up to a certain point. If the case goes to trial there would be additional fees. Usually you can tell from the get-go just by interviewing your client and finding out what type of representation they want. You can get a good idea of what the attorney's fees are going to be.
Kevin J. roach is a St. Louis DWI defense attorney who has defended thousands of DWI and DUI cases in the St. Louis Metro area. Call us today at (636) 519-0085 or (866) 519-0085 for your Free Consultation!