Driving under influence (DUI) is a serious offense that could lead to your driver’s license getting revoked and / or to you serving jail time. When in a legal soup, it is always best if you can consult a legal expert who will be able to guide or coach you, or be responsible for all your legal work.
Also, the law applies differently in different situations. The chances of you requiring expert help is very low if you are a first time offender. Also if there are no aggravating complications like presence of a minor in the car, physical injury to others due to reckless driving or very high alcohol content in the body at the time of mishap, then again you may not require full services of an attorney.
A DUI attorney will be useful if you are not familiar with the legal and administrative system and will also have expertise in plea bargain deals. If your case is complex or if your financial future is at risk, it is best to consult a DUI attorney.
Here are a few tips to help you choose the most suitable DUI attorney.
Look for References
References are the way to go if you are not familiar with court matters. Speak to someone you know who has had a DUI case or related legal issues. He will be able to recommend you the name of the attorney he worked with. He may also be able to furnish you names of a few attorneys who were referred by friends or colleagues. This will give you a list to start out with.
Remember that criminal justice system moves much faster than civil lawsuit, and so you must find a DUI attorney as soon as possible, without wasting much time.
Go online and do your research on DUI, legal complications and attorney services available in your area.
There are resources like Nolo where you get detailed information on various aspects of driving under influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI). The charges apply when you drive a vehicle when under the influence of alcohol or drugs, prescribed or otherwise, that seriously impairs your judgement to drive a vehicle safely.
There are several sites and online directories where you can access information about attorneys in your area specializing in handling DUI cases.
But be sure that you do not rely on online search alone. Ensure that you conduct detailed background checks, and understand the success rate and professional philosophy of attorneys before approaching them.
Set a Meeting
Attorneys offer free consultation to prospective clients where they can discuss their case and legalities, and options available. Use the opportunity to know more about the lawyer and their firm.
Check whether the attorney handles only DUI or DWI cases, or if they take other types of cases as well. Understand the priority for DUI cases in their work load and check whether her main area of interest is DUI or other streams of law. Attorneys will also inform you how they will be managing your case. Sometimes the concerned attorney may not attend all case hearings and may assign courthouse appearances to other attorneys. If so you will have to speak to the others as well.
Some attorneys take a higher percentage of cases to trial than others. So you will want to discuss that as well with your attorney. It is important for you to check on licensing of the attorney, and ask about membership in the bar association and other professional associations.
Good lawyers are always in demand and sometimes you may not be able to meet the attorney in person. In such cases do not be disheartened and have a detailed discussion with the person who has been assigned to help you out.
What Is The Attorney’s Approach to Your Individual Case
Each attorney will differ in his or her approach to case management.
Understand how your individual case will be handled and find out the factors that the attorney finds favorable in your case.
Your attorney will be able coach you about the various angles and possibilities of your case. Sometimes lawyers agree to educate and equip you to the best extent possible allowing you to present your case in court. They will take on the role of counsel only if absolutely necessary. See whether this arrangement is the best for you and if the attorney is willing to work accordingly.
Also, make it a point to check with the attorney what aspects of your case work against you and how that can be managed. Note down what you can expect in various stages of court hearing and how the case proceeds through arraignment, filing of motions, hearings, disposition etc.
Based on your interaction with the attorney, you will be able to gauge whether you have a good rapport. A smooth working relationship with your attorney is essential for the progress of the case.
Understand the Fees and Payment Terms
A DUI case can be expensive and time-consuming, and hiring a DUI / DWI lawyer can be costly. But the benefit of having an experienced legal expert to your aid can help avert possible jail time, license suspension, huge fines, insurance liabilities, DUI school and/or community service.
Most attorneys bill by the hour or they charge a flat fee for their service. Understand your payment terms and the facilities that will be included in the fee. You will have to know more about the legal service available to you and whether you will get regular updates and notifications about legal proceedings. There will be other legal expenses also that you will incur so get an estimate about them as well.
After you have spoken to a few attorneys you will get a good idea about how the system works. Evaluate which attorney you felt the most comfortable with and whose advice you found the most helpful. Work experience of the legal counsel representing you can make or break your case if you are facing serious charges. So take all factors into consideration before making up your mind.
Once you have made up your mind, move quickly and hire the attorney to effectively counter the prosecution and charges against you.
Hiring a DUI attorney is not as difficult as you imagine. With the right amount pf preparation, perseverance and research you can definitely find the DUI attorney best suited to represent your case.