How To Choose A DUI Lawyer
If You’re Facing A Jail Sentence, You Need A Lawyer, Even If You Are Guilty
First, even if you believe that you are guilty, you enjoy the right of being presumed innocent. A good lawyer can evaluate the strength of the evidence against you in ways that you cannot do yourself.
Second, a major issue in every case is whether the police unlawfully stopped, arrested, tested and charged you with Driving Under the Influence (DUI). A good lawyer will evaluate whether the police acted lawfully. If your rights were violated, there may be no case against you.
Finally, the help of a good lawyer is critical in limiting the damage that a DUI charge can have on your life, family, and livelihood. A good lawyer will direct you to an agency that provides alcohol evaluations and counseling so you can address any alcohol issues and address the trauma associated with a DUI arrest.
Choose A Lawyer Who Focuses On Defending DUI Cases
There are different kinds of lawyers. You need to know how to choose an attorney who can help you with your DUI matter. In general, you will find the following kinds of lawyers:
Extremely expensive criminal and DUI defense lawyers
Lawyers who focus on DUI defense (also expensive).
Discount Lawyers: You will get what you pay for. Discount lawyers earn their living by handling a high volume of cases or by maintaining unreasonably low office overhead (no secretary, etc). Discount lawyers are not skilled in analyzing and defending DUI cases. Rather, discount lawyers are skilled in quickly disposing of cases by entering pleas. Be skeptical of any lawyer who charges a retainer less than $1,500.00 for a first DUI offense, and $2,500.00 for a second DUI offense.
General Practitioners: General practitioners handle some criminal work, but also handle real estate, probate, divorce, wills, etc. A general practitioner may be reasonably priced (fees in the $1,500-$2,000 range), but will lack the knowledge and skill necessary to defend a Driving Under the Influence charge. This may be true even if the general practitioner handles a significant number of DUI cases. Most of the general practitioner’s DUI cases are plea-bargained.
Public Defender: Having a Public defender assigned to your case may be beneficial, if the Court determines that you qualify for the Public Defender, than a discount lawyer or a general practitioner.
Extremely Expensive Criminal and DUI Defense Lawyers: You should proceed with caution if you wish to hire the most pre-eminent criminal defense lawyer you can afford. Expect extremely expensive criminal and DUI defense lawyers to charges retainers in the range of $5,000.00 and up, plus additional fees for trial, and even more for a repeat offense with substantially enhanced penalties. Be aware, however, that some of the extremely expensive criminal and DUI defense lawyers may not be experienced in handling driving under the influence cases, as they may perceive these offenses as too “minor”, and not worthy of their best effort.
Lawyers Who Focus on Driving Under the Influence Defense: Driving Under the Influence defense is now recognized as a separate area from general criminal defense. Choose a lawyer with experience in handling DUI cases. Choose a lawyer who focuses on defending driving under the influence cases, and who keeps current with developments and evolving case law regarding DUI defense.
Retain The Best Lawyer That You Can Afford. Do Not Retain The Cheapest Lawyer You Can Find
If you cannot afford a lawyer who focuses on DUI defense, then you should request that the Court appoint the Public Defender (if the Court determines that you qualify for a Public Defender) to represent you. A Public Defender is a better choice to represent you than a discount lawyer or a general practitioner.
If you can afford to hire a lawyer who focuses on DUI defense, the lawyer should provide you a free initial consultation, and should spend between one-half hour and one hour with you discussing your case. During the initial consultation you should relate, in detail, what occurred regarding your DUI arrest. The lawyer should provide a brief analysis regarding the following matters:
Continue Reading: Six Key Factors In Evaluating A Driving Under The Influence Case