DUI charges are not easy to handle. First of all, this whole situation can get very overwhelming. And second of all, the price is high. A case like this can cost from $5,000 to $12,000. Some states sometimes even push some additional fees, and the whole cost can get up to $27,000.
Getting the best among all the DUI defense lawyers is the essential part of this whole situation – it will make the difference between keeping your license and having it taken away, among other stuff. Keeping this in mind, finding the best attorney, who can represent you robustly, is the only choice you have.
So avoiding the additional costs and keeping your license is among the essential things, but you need to think about the actual crucial point: keeping the DUI offense off your record. The record is the one that can represent a risk when it comes to your reputation, job prospects and even insurance costs.
As if it wasn’t already hard and overwhelming enough after you’ve been charged with DUI, you have this pressure on your shoulders: you need to find one lawyer who’s willing to fight for you in trial. We’ve written this article to give you the best step by step guide to finding your lawyer, the one who will fit your expectations, personality and your goals.
Friends and family
Keep your friends and family close to you, because they can actually help you in this matter. Ask if they know a lawyer who can help you. Maybe some of them know other persons who’ve encountered these situations, or simply have friends in the legal system. Either way, these pieces of information come in handy at all times. Perhaps hearing about a Los Angeles DUI Attorney from one member of the family is the best thing that can happen to you.
Ask your DUI attorney to give you references
If they don’t have any references to show you, it’s time to run. However, if the answer is affirmative, go ahead and do some digging – look at his previous cases. See how many cases and he won and how many has he lost. It’s always important to find the opinion of other people who’ve been through the same things you did, with the same person. Ask about his relations with his clients. Ask how he behaves in court.
Or simply, ask him directly. Talk to him about his other DUI cases and don’t forget to ask how many of them did he win. You will need an attorney who has the necessary courtroom experience in order to win your case.
If you think about it, your hometown lawyers can have some court connections. Because he works in your area, he must know the judge and the prosecutor so that the whole process will get a lot easier. There will be no surprises in trial and he’d make an excellent attack plan.
If there were some past problems between the prosecutor and your lawyer, there might be some problems with your case, too. It’s crucial to know the relation between the 2 of them. If your attorney has a good relationship with the court, this thing can show professionalism. But if your lawyer had some arguments with the prosecutor or even police, this can affect your case, as it shows the lack of professionalism.
So looking for a DUI or even DWI attorney from your local town is not such a bad idea. However, make sure he has the experience he needs to handle this battle. Ask around and find out how many years had he practiced this field of law and if he knows what he’s doing (especially if your hometown is a small one). If not, you need to find your lawyer in some other place.
Stay away from big promises
Some of the lawyers may promise you the moon. And the sun. And some of the start. Truth be told, the chances of getting off without a conviction are not always that high – it depends on the circumstances. Whether you like it or not, a lawyer should be honest with you. He should guide through all the steps and should make sure you understood your case and your chances.
Have a talk with your DUI attorney
Before starting this whole trial thing, you need to make sure you understood what really happened. In order to do that, you need to ask questions. Lots of questions. And someone needs to answer them – your lawyer.
You need to always keep in mind that a lawyer who rephrases your questions so that he could answer them is not a lawyer who wants to defend you fully. If you feel that he does not communicate with you enough, doesn’t answer all your questions or does not present you all your chances, do not hesitate to move on to the next one.
Use lists from the internet
While asking a friend or a family member if they know someone is a simple way of doing these things, going online is even more comfortable. There are many sites who can help you in this matter, many of which offer full lists of attorneys from many fields of law, including DUI and DWI. They give you the contact info, sometimes even reviews and rating from both different people and other attorneys.
Be careful with your lawyer’s expertise
As said before, it’s vital for the lawyer to know what he’s doing. To start off, see if the particular lawyer has expertise only in DUI or if he works in other different fields of the law, too. You should know that the law is divided into two main categories: civil law and criminal law. DUI takes part in the criminal statutes, so your lawyer should be one that works with criminal cases, less civil ones. Also, it’s very important that the lawyer in from the state you need to be represented in, as the laws can be different from state to state.
Take a look at the size of the firm
It’s important to know how many cases your firm takes care of at the same time, because this can show how much time they will allocate for your case. A small firm with few cases might mean that you’ll get all the time in the world. However, a larger firm, even if has enough time for you, could hand off part of the whole process to legal aides and clerks. You’ll need to choose the firm that’s going to give you the right amount of time to take care of your case.
Ask about the legal fees
As said before, the costs can get really high. Unfortunately, the best service you fit is the one you can afford. However, it’s safe to say that the price of getting a lawyer is lower than the one you’d have to pay after getting convicted (in terms of money and state of mind). You will want to keep a budget to prevent some future problems for your family and yourself, such as debt.
About the assessment of the case
For this step, you need to gather all the pieces of information you have access to. And don’t forget to be honest – your lawyer cannot help you if you don’t tell him everything he needs to know. If you lie, you’re playing yourself, because you wouldn’t understand the real chances of escaping this situation, because you deprive your lawyer of the most crucial things for your case. There’s no need to get embarrassed.
Think about it and make the decision at home
Before hiring a lawyer, you need to think this through. Don’t take a decision on the spot, but think about all the details and it’s advisable to do it at home.
By doing this, you will not know what it’s like to feel like you’re being sold by a lawyer. If he asks you do answer on the spot, he’s not very keen on helping you, he might as well just want to money. If he seems to be in a rush, just let him go, because he does not think of your needs. A lawyer who lets you choose what’s best for you is a perfect lawyer.