Each year, 32 people in the U.S. die in drunk driving crashes. That’s one person every 45 minutes.
If you’ve been drinking and driving, you’ll want a top-notch lawyer to be on your side. A lawyer can mean the difference between winning or losing a case.
But picking the right lawyer can feel tough and overwhelming. The good news is that there’s hope! Read this guide on the different questions you’ll want to ask before hiring a DUI attorney today.
Whether it’s your 1st or 4th DUI, you’ll want to hire an attorney near me with experience. Find out how long they’ve been doing DUI defense.
Ask them how much trial experience they have as well. Some attorneys will do DUI cases but rarely go to trial.
You’ll also want to ask them about the chance that the prosecution will drop the case or that the judge will dismiss it. A plea bargain might be an option.
2. Local Knowledge
When hiring a lawyer, see their local knowledge regarding the DMV office and court. An attorney who regularly works in an area will have a better relationship with the judges and prosecutors.
They’ll know their habits and what to look for. Your attorney will be able to tell you what to expect as far as a plea deal.
3. The Drinking and Driving Cases They’ve Won
Find out the DUI lawyer’s track record. You’ll want to see how likely they are to argue your case in front of a jury.
If you don’t want a plea bargain or to plead guilty, you’ll want a lawyer who will fight for you. Ask them how many cases they’ve won in the past as well.
4. Ask About Legal Fees
Calculate your budget and ensure that the attorney is within that. While some attorneys might charge a flat fee, this can vary.
Find out about any extra costs or hidden fees. You’ll also want to know the timeline you’ll pay.
5. Who Will Handle Your Case
Some firms will have associates on their teams. If the defense lawyer works alone, they’ll normally charge a higher rate. Find out who will do the work on the case and in court.
6. Potential Outcomes
Find out what outcomes you could expect. You’ll want to know how they’ll handle your case overall.
Some questions could include:
- How likely you are to receive a plea deal
- If the DUI will go to trial
- If there’s any evidence that should be suppressed
7. Ask if They Have Other Experience
Many DUI lawyers have experience as public defenders, teachers, police officers, etc. This experience is helpful in their current role. Find out if they have experience in other cases not including DUIs.
8. If They’ll Handle Administrative Work
Most DUI lawyers want to avoid legal work such as administrative license suspension. You’ll want a lawyer who will subpoena the arresting officer and go to the hearing.
You’ll also want to ensure that they’re available for questions along the way. Many lawyers won’t be available for questions that you have during the case. They’ll instead have their staff handle them.
9. How Many Cases They Have Right Now
After discovering if they specialize in DUI law, you’ll want to know how many cases they currently have. Find out if they work with other cases besides DUIs.
Decide if the lawyer you’re considering will have time for you. Avoid lawyers who seem busy but try to tell you otherwise.
10. Special Training
Some DUI lawyers have special training, such as a ride-along with police officers. DUI attorneys might have completed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Student/Instructor Standardized Field Sobriety Test courses.
Ask if they’re certified by any DUI organizations such as The National College for DUI Defense. There are other similar state bar organizations. Some states will allow them to become a DUI specialist after certain tests.
11. The Correct Terms
Some states will use terms other than a DUI. One is operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OVI).
Another is operating while intoxicated (OWI), and driving while intoxicated (DWI).
12. Case Management Facts
Before hiring your attorney, you’ll want to know how often they’ll be in contact. If you have questions, you’ll want to know how to contact them.
Find out if you’ll have regular status updates and who will be involved in your case. You’ll also want to know who will represent you in the courts if the lawyer isn’t available.
13. Further Questions
Ensure that you read their reviews online to see what others say. Ask to reach out to former clients to see their experience overall.
Ask former clients:
- If they’d hire this attorney again
- What the strengths and weaknesses of the attorney are
- How their experience was
- If the attorney fought for them
Decide which attorney you’re most comfortable with and who will win your case. Ensure that the lawyer you choose is within your budget. You’ll also want an attorney with experience behind them.
Different Things To Consider Before Hiring a DUI Attorney
After exploring this guide, you should have a better idea of things to consider before hiring a DUI attorney. Take your time reviewing these questions and deciding which attorney is best for you. Remember to go with your gut, too; you don’t want to wind up with an attorney you’re uncomfortable with.
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