Accepting a Deal vs. Going to Trial

Interviewer: How would you compare the cost of accepting a deal versus pursuing a trial on DUI?

Matthew Nebeker: That’s an interesting question. This is going to come down to what we’re talking about now: the attorney’s fee. Some attorneys get all of their money up front. Some of them will say, “I’ll only charge you up until this point in the case, and if we cannot get it resolved, then we’ll sit down and discuss a trial fee,” but still, overall, when you’re looking at all of the combined expenses that go along with a DUI conviction, the cost of going to trial, from my opinion, is far less than the potential expenses involved with a conviction.

CDL & Decreased Earning Ability

Interviewer: I wanted to talk about the social costs of a DUI. For instance, like circumstances that someone’s going to have to go through. First of all, missing work at the very least. Out-of-pocket expenses are what I’m talking about. What examples have you seen where people have suffered with being in a situation where, on their normal day, they have to spend a lot more money.

Matthew Nebeker: I guess we’d maybe identify that as collateral consequences of a DUI conviction. You’re right; one of the most important things that people are asking me is what’s going to happen when this is all over if they are convicted, and one of the things, for a lot of people, is unfortunately that they drive for a living.

I have a client right now that is a commercial driver and this is his second DUI and the driver’s license division is trying to get a lifetime suspension of his commercial driver’s license. Now, this is how he earns his money. This is how he supports his family and the driver’s license division is trying to say, “No more – not in the state of Utah,” and so if this is your career and all of a sudden it’s over, that’s a huge cost.

Then there’s the less extreme. From what I’ve seen, the people that don’t need their license to get a job and perform that job have just had the conviction on their record and they weren’t selected for a position because on their application they had a conviction and the guy that they were competing against didn’t have a conviction and from as near as we could tell, that made the difference in them not getting the job.

We did some studies and stuff on that and we would title that “decreased earning ability.” The DUI conviction can result in you not getting the promotions and not getting the jobs that you’re going for, and it’s really critical because the DUI will stay on your record for 10 years before you can get it expunged. We’ve estimated the numbers have been looked at three different studies that conclude that over a 10-year period the decrease in earning ability could possibly be about $100,000 due to a DUI conviction.

Interviewer: That’s incredibly detrimental to someone’s quality of life.

Matthew Nebeker: Yeah, it can be life changing and that’s just if you didn’t hurt someone or hurt yourself with a DUI.

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