A DUI is a very serious matter that can have long-term consequences, even for first offenders.
Consult an experienced criminal defense attorney if you face DUI charges, because an attorney can help you navigate the complex legal system, giving you the best chances of getting the charges dismissed or reduced.
It is also imperative that you contact an attorney as soon as possible after your arrest to ensure that you have someone looking out for your best interests during this difficult time.
However, you should not simply hire the first attorney you find in your area. Making sure that you find a defense attorney who focuses on DUIs and has experience handling cases similar to yours will be instrumental in helping to ensure that you have the best chances of avoiding serious penalties as a result of your DUI arrest.
Yet, how can you find the best lawyer to handle your case? Keep reading for a look at five tips to help you find an experienced DUI lawyer in your area.
Do Some Research
Rather than settle for the first attorney you find through a Google search, take your time to research attorneys in your area.
Are there any that are particularly highly rated? Take time to do in-depth research on each attorney that comes up to find out more about their experience and practice history. Make sure that you look at how long an attorney has been practicing, whether or not they have experience handling DUI cases, and what their track record has been with these cases.
If you have further questions, it is appropriate to contact an attorney directly to ask them about their history of handling cases similar to yours. The fact is that being convicted of a DUI could result in a revoked license or even jail time, so it is important that you partner with an attorney you feel confident will best defend your case.
Take Time to Read Reviews and Testimonials
When researching potential attorneys, you should also take the time to look at reviews and testimonials from former clients who have worked with a given attorney. This will help give you a better idea of what it would be like to work with a prospective attorney by allowing you to read first-hand accounts of an attorney’s experience, attentiveness, and successes.
Yelp, Google Reviews, and The Better Business Bureau are all great places to start when looking at reviews for attorneys you are considering working with. Seeing these reviews can help you narrow down your list, as an attorney with numerous five-star reviews likely has a good track record.
Find a Lawyer With Experience In The Local Courts
While you may be tempted to look outside your general area when researching DUI attorneys, find a lawyer who has experience handling DUI cases in your area. In particular, you want to make sure they have worked in the court where your case is pending.
The reality is that each local court has different procedures, and it can help things go more smoothly if your lawyer is already familiar with how things work at the local court. Additionally, if your attorney regularly works in your local court, and they are familiar with how the local judges and prosecutors think and act, this can be a major advantage as they can build a defense that will work best given the audience.
When interviewing prospective DUI attorneys, you should then make sure to ask where they are based and how much experience they have working with your local court.
Make Sure You Talk to Multiple Attorneys
As you start to compile a list of experienced, local attorneys you are interested in working with, start scheduling interviews with potential candidates. This gives you a chance to ask lingering questions you may have about your case, an attorney’s experience, and the steps you should take moving forward.
Scheduling an in-person interview with a potential DUI attorney is an important first step to take, as this can be critical in determining if you feel comfortable working with them; however, it is equally important that you do not stop after the first interview. Oftentimes, defendants make the mistake of becoming so comfortable with the first attorney they talk to that they don’t feel the need to look further.
However, interviewing multiple attorneys is the best way to ensure you find the best DUI attorney to meet your needs. This will allow you to compare experience, personalities, and rates, helping you to make the most informed decision when it comes time to choose an attorney.
Don’t Expect a Guarantee
As you begin talking to prospective attorneys about your case, do not expect a guarantee. Often, those charged with a DUI are frightened and want to hear that a lawyer will get the charges dropped or any potential penalties reduced.
However, the reality is that an attorney cannot guarantee a specific outcome. If an attorney tries to claim that they can guarantee a specific result when you interview them, not only are they lying to you, but they may even be breaking bar rules in some states. The reality is that no law firm can guarantee specific results, as the outcome of your case will depend on too many factors.
What they can do is talk about their success rate and how they believe it applies to your case. If a lawyer tries to guarantee a specific result when talking to you, this is a sign that they may not be as reputable as they seem, and you may want to look elsewhere.