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How Do You Choose A DUI Lawyer?

If you, a family member or a friend has been arrested on suspicion of DUI or DUAC, the person charged faces a serious criminal case. DUIs potentially carry jail sentences, fines, insurance consequences, license suspensions, job loss, counseling, ignition interlock devices and other serious consequences.

Look For Specific DUI Training And Experience

Whether you hire me or someone else, you should consider hiring a skilled DUI lawyer. You need a lawyer experienced in fighting DUI cases since the handling of DUIs requires special skills and knowledge of the Datamaster and field sobriety tests; administrative hearings; route-restricted, provisional and temporary licenses; and other matters specific to a driving under the influence case. One acquires such skills through study and experience. I have been a criminal defense lawyer for 33 years and have handled hundreds of DUI cases.

If you are thinking of representing yourself in a DUI, don't. DUI cases involve testimony from a trained law enforcement officer; scientific and forensic issues including breath, blood and urine testing; legal matters including inferences that may be drawn from a particular reading or refusal; and issues specific to videotaping, presentation of evidence on your behalf and many other potential evidentiary matters.

Many lawyers are not qualified to handle these cases because of lack of experience in the area, and they are people that have dedicated time to the study of law. It has been said that a defendant who represents himself or herself has a fool for a lawyer and a damn fool for a client. In choosing an attorney, review the attorney's credentials to determine what his/her background is in defending DUI cases. Is DUI a main focus of the firm or simply filler?

In a drunk driving defense, the National College for DUI Defense is certainly the American Bar Association's most well-regarded association. Is the attorney a member of the National College for DUI Defense? Is he or she a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers or similar organizations? Does the firm handle only criminal defense and DUI cases?

Ask About Who Will Actually Handle Your Case

Be certain that the attorney you meet is the attorney who is going to handle the case and the attorney with the credentials you seek. Many firms have an attorney with excellent credentials, but that attorney is going to turn the case over to a young, less experienced attorney or have a paralegal or investigator do most of the work such as reviewing the videotapes. Be certain that attorney is the one who will review the evidence personally and meet with you to answer your questions.

You should be able to schedule a free initial consultation where the lawyer will spend time with you discussing your case. You may want to ask during that time: How many criminal cases have you handled that are like mine? What do you think the outcome of my case will be? Who in your office will be handling my case? How will you communicate with me? What are the potential costs of my defense? How many years have you been in practice? How will you keep me informed about my case?

How Is Your Fee Calculated?

The cost of your defense should be a flat fee that is not contingent on whether you choose to go to trial or whether an administrative hearing or preliminary hearing is necessary in your case. The handling of an administrative or preliminary hearing is part and parcel of your representation. Your fee should not be contingent on whether you plead guilty or go to trial. Plenty of considerations will enter into a decision whether to plead guilty or proceed to trial; the additional costs for an attorney should not be one of those. An attorney in a criminal case should quote a flat fee that covers the attorney's work. That fee should be made clear at the beginning of the case.

Beware of the fee that is too low as that attorney may be thinking that he or she can quickly plead you guilty. How any attorney can make that decision without having reviewed the state's evidence should concern you. That does not necessarily mean that the most expensive lawyer is the best, but a fee too low too often computes to too little work by the attorney on your behalf.

Confidence And Trust

Choosing an attorney is like choosing a surgeon. You will not know the results until the end. So you should be certain that you trust the attorney based on what you know of his or her history and based on how you feel when you meet. If you feel the attorney did not spend adequate time with you or answer all your questions at the initial consultation, it seems unreasonable to believe that will change through the course of the case. Choose an attorney you feel comfortable with and who you believe will give your case the time and attention you know it deserves. You should be comfortable with your attorney. You should expect an honest appraisal of your circumstances. You should be able to get the sense that the lawyer understands your problem and has ideas and the tools to address the specific issues in your case. When interviewing an attorney, try not to focus on the likely outcome as the attorney likely will not have enough information at that time to be able to give you a specific assessment of your case. Focus instead on the attorney's qualifications, experience, reputation, understanding of your situation, concern and interest in your case.

I appreciate your time in reading this and that you are considering me as your attorney. My goal is to provide you honest professional service and to guide your case to its most successful conclusion with the least amount of stress. While I can never make promises as to a particular outcome, I have the experience and reputation to maximize your chances of getting the best possible outcome.

I look forward to meeting and working with you. To schedule a free initial meeting, please send me a message or call 864-236-4631.