How to Find a DUI Attorney
How can a DUI Lawyer help me?
Being charged with a DUI (sometimes known as a DWI or driving while intoxicated) is a stressful experience. Being convicted of a DUI (either by pleading guilty or being found guilty after a trial) can have an even more profound and devastating impact on your future. Lengthy jail time, steep fines and mandatory license suspensions are only the beginning. A DUI conviction can add considerable stress to personal relationships, cause problems with colleges and universities and will keep you from holding certain jobs.
No two DUI charges are the same. If you have been charged with a DUI, your circumstances are unique. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your fate should or will be the same as anyone else’s. Were your Constitutional rights protected every step of the way (starting with the police officer’s reason for stopping you in the first place)? Were field sobriety tests and blood-alcohol-content (BAC) tests properly administered? Are BAC results scientifically reliable? An experienced DUI lawyer has the knowledge, experience and compassion to assess your situation and recommend the best course of action.
Hiring the Right DUI Lawyer
If you are considering hiring an attorney to defend you in a DUI case (always a good idea), remember you are in control. You may want to talk to two or three DUI lawyers to see which one feels like a good fit for you. Knowledge and experience are important. Getting along and liking your attorney is also important. Below are some questions you can ask each attorney you interview. Get a good feel for their experience as well as their personality before you make a final decision.
Attorney-client privilege protects you when you talk to an attorney about handling your case (although there are exceptions to this rule, so always ask about confidentiality if you’re in doubt). Every attorney has an ethical obligation to keep information related to your case confidential. If you think something about your case is “bad news”, now may be a good time to bring it up when you talk to an attorney. Not only are you protected by the attorney-client privilege, but some concerns you have actually might not hurt your case. You may not have time to cover every little detail of your case with an attorney during an initial consultation, but you should raise any significant issues you think might help and hurt your case.
When you are charged with a DUI, time is against you. There are some very quick deadlines that can profoundly affect your ability to drive, even if your case is dismissed or you are found not guilty. An experienced DUI attorney will know how to deal with these deadlines, so don’t wait to talk to an attorney or your situation might go from bad to worse.
Questions to Ask Your Attorney
A DUI attorney will ask you several questions to assess your case. But you also should know a few things about your potential defense attorney before you hire him or her. Here are a few general questions you can ask each attorney you talk to. Feel free to copy these and add your own questions.
- How much experience do you have handling DUI cases?
- How often do you take DUI cases to trial?
- How much will a it cost to defend my casea? Is it an hourly fee or a flat fee? What if the case is resolved before trial — will that affect the cost?
- Do you have scientific experts available to review and testify about errors in BAC tests?
A few unrelated questions might also help you know if you “click” with this attorney:
- Where did you go to law school and did you like it?
- Do you practice other kinds of law or strictly DUI defense?
- What do you do when you’re not being a lawyer?
Remember, when you hire an attorney you are hiring someone to guide you through a complicated and detailed process that could impact the rest of your life. Hire the person you feel will give you the representation and attention you deserve.
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