As a New Jersey DWI lawyer that only practices DWI law and nothing else, the first question I am often asked is, "What is your fee?" I don't like that question, because it doesn't take into account the reality of why a person is searching for a lawyer to defend one of the most serious charges that the person will likely ever face.
My answer is, "It depends on what you mean by 'affordable'."
You can spend anywhere from $750 to $7500 in initial fees. Chances are that if you are on a limited budget, say a couple thousand, what you define as affordable, may end up costing you a lot more in the end. For instance, if you hire someone that doesn't have the knowledge or skill to really fight your case, what are you spending your money on? If you are convicted, as a first offender, you will not only pay the $700 or so in court costs, but there might be an interlock requirement for your car depending on your breath reading, which will cost you more than $1000.00; you will be surcharged by the State $3000, and your insurance company will separately surcharge you anywhere from $3000 to $10,000 or more over three years.
If you hire someone who has the knowledge, ability and fortitude to really fight for you, and if you are successful, you can save suspension time, get rid of the interlock, or even get rid of the DWI charge. Then again, you might lose, and you certainly will have spent more on a lawyer who knows his/her stuff than someone who may just be planning to hold your hand, walk in with you and hope for the best. There are no guarantees. However, you want to make sure you hire the best lawyer you can to obtain the best result possible.