If you have been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), you are bound to go through a difficult time and face substantial charges. You are likely to face fines, jail time and a black mark on your criminal and driving record. This is why it is very important to hire a qualified and experienced DUI attorney to assist you through the legal process. But before hiring a lawyer, there are some things should find about him/her. Listed below are some tips on what to ask your DUI attorney:
1. How many years of experience do they have in the DUI field, and how many cases have they handled?
The field of DUI is very complex. A lawyer who does not have enough DUI-related experience or a one who is fresh from college may lack the capacity to handle related cases. You will therefore require an attorney who has a proven experience in navigating the technical, scientific and civil liberty aspects of the law, and the proficiency to serve your interests. But note that experience alone does not necessarily translate to a successful lawyer – you will have to look at their results of their cases as well.
2. Will you be handling my case in its entirety?
Larger law firms have the tendency of conducting the initial consultation with an experienced lawyer, who has had a very successful career, but once the client hires their firm and pays the retainer, the case is delegated to lower-level associate, who may be inexperienced in this field. Thus, ensure that the attorney you hire is the one who will take care of the lion’s share of the work on the case, particularly when it comes to representing you during court proceedings.
3. What is the best, worst and most likely outcome for my case?
Although your lawyer may not be in a position to answer this question with great certainty until they conduct a detailed case review, which normally takes place after you have paid them a retainer, they should at least inform you about the potential weaknesses and merits of your case during the initial consultation. But be wary of lawyers who try to overstate or sugarcoat the best possible outcomes for the case. If you notice that the attorney is not being honest with you, simply do not hire their services. Look for alternatives.
4. Do you specialize in DUI cases only or do you handle other cases as well?
Some attorneys handle DUI cases only, and have even gone to college to receive specialized certificates in this field. Such attorneys may be better equipped to handle the subtleties and intricacies of DUI law. Nonetheless, lawyers who handle a wide array of cases such as personal injury, bankruptcy or criminal cases can also do a good job, as it argued that they have the skills and aggressiveness to handle any type of case and get a good outcome.
5. What are their rates/costs/fees?
Most DUI lawyers will either charge you a flat fee, or hourly rates, based on the case and their reputation and/or experience. Usually, public attorneys charge less than private attorneys, but the private ones are always willing to negotiate a payment plan during the consultation session. Ensure that you are getting value of money, but do not be enticed by attorneys offering extremely cheaper services – it is a strong indication of incompetence.
If you get a good attorney, he/she will guide you through this process and help you to get the charges reduced or dropped if possible. In some cases, the court might even find you not guilty.