DUI trial or no trial retainer

Question: I am charged with DUI in San Francisco, CA and currently I have only spoken to one DUI lawyer. After giving me the total price of how much it will cost to work with them, he said if the case moves to a trial, it will cost ‘X’ more dollars. Is this normal or does he just want more money? Just trying to make sure I find a good DUI lawyer that is not trying to just make more money. He seemed trustworthy, but I just want to verify that this is a normal thing.
Answer: Many attorneys that handle DUI and criminal matters for flat rates will issue a separate retainer for trial (as opposed to one retainer that covers all the way through trial). This does not mean that the attorney will not do everything he or she can to resolve the case favorably during pretrial. A different approach would be to retain an attorney from the start trough trial….but most cases get resolved without trial, and in that case you may end up paying a lot more for a DUI trial that may not happen.
Personally, I split my retainers between Pretrial and trial so the client doesn’t pay extra fees unnecessarily. In the event that the client requests it, I am happy to issue an “all the way through” trial retainer.
Phil Hache
DUI & Criminal Defense Attorney