How Do I Find A Good DUI Lawyer? If you’ve been charged with DUI, finding a good DUI lawyer must be your first priority. It’s not easy. There are so many DUI attorney webpages and there’s no way to tell the good lawyer from the average one. They all look great on the internet. It’s important to choose wisely because today’s DUI laws are complicated and the punishment is life-changing. Look for an attorney who devotes most of his or her practice to DUI defense and who has a strong reputation for competence in the legal community. Just as with most professions, lawyers know who has the best reputation for handling specific types of cases, so the best referral source is usually a local attorney. If you don’t know any attorneys, another excellent source is anyone involved in law enforcement or the criminal justice system. It is also worthwhile to check online webpages that contain “reviews” from actual former clients of DUI defense attorneys. A good source to compare attorneys is AVVO.com. However, be aware that attorneys pay for top placement on AVVO searches and in Google searches as well, so carefully compare attorney qualifications. Police officers, prosecutors, judges and court personnel all know who the best DUI lawyers are and can tell you who they would retain if they were charged. An actual referral from a living person is always a better choice than relying upon what you read online.
Another source is the local bar association referral service. However, be advised that the Bar does not screen candidates for its referral list, so you should be careful to verify the attorney’s credentials before making a hiring decision. Be sure to ask the lawyer what percentage of his or her practice is devoted to DUI defense. In addition, the lawyer should practice criminal law exclusively and should have a solid background of trying cases. Finally, ask the lawyer to describe his or her recent experience with DUI’s in particular. When meeting the attorney in person, consider several questions: Is the attorney well-versed on the subject of DUI’s and able to readily answer all your questions? Does he or she seem genuinely interested in you, as well as your case? Does the attorney really listen to you and address you concerns? Before retaining the attorney, you should, above all, feel a strong sense of confidence in the attorney’s ability to handle your case. If you don’t, keep looking.
Take a close look at the attorney’s credentials, including number of years defending DUI cases, whether the attorney has published books or articles on DUIs, has taught other attorneys about DUI defense, and whether the attorney has support staff who are experienced and available. Always meet with the attorney in person so that you can form an impression of the attorney’s demeanor and whether the attorney’s office has support staff who can provide additional resources to the attorney in the defense of your case.
Engaging an attorney to represent you should not be done over the phone. You should meet the attorney so that you can determine whether this attorney is right for your case. Be wary of claims, usually seen in attorney internet webpages, of the “highest rate of dismissals” and other such puffery. If such claims are made (and you meet with the attorney despite the questionable claims), ask the lawyer to back it up. The attorney-client relationship must have a foundation of trust.
How much will an attorney cost? Just like anything else, you usually get what you pay for. Competent DUI defense lawyers may charge from $5,000 to $10,000 and up, depending on a variety of factors, including the attorney’s years of experience, the complexity of the case, client’s prior record, the court in which the charge is filed, the likelihood of a trial, etc. A good defense lawyer can usually save you more in the long run than he or she charges in legal fees. However, just as with any legal case, there can be no guarantees. Certainly, however, retaining the most competent lawyer you can find, an attorney in whose hands you can confidently leave your case, is the best formula to obtain a positive result and some peace of mind during the process.
Questions? Call Jon Fox at (425) 274-9190