Driving under the influence cases are in an extremely complex area of law with large-scale legal procedures and constantly changing statues. In addition, it is an offense that comes with serious consequences to the accused, including hefty fines, increased insurance premiums, loss of license, and possibly incarceration. If you have recently been charged with driving under the influence, your next move must be to begin searching for a qualified DUI lawyer immediately. An experienced drunk driving defense attorney will be able to protect your rights and your freedom, while providing you the peace of mind that your case is being handled appropriately.
Since the criminal justice system is notorious for moving rapidly, you may be wondering how to find a good DUI attorney quickly. First, you should conduct some research about the lawyers that specialize in DUI arrest cases in your local area, either on the Internet or by referrals. After you receive the name of two or three DUI attorneys, call them to set up a consultation to meet with them. Most attorneys are willing to meet with prospective clients to discuss their case and introduce themselves for free. During the meeting, the following are five crucial questions that you should ask the DUI lawyers to determine if they are a good legal match.
1. How Much Experience With DUI Cases Do You Have?
Since driving under the influence litigation is one of the most complicated areas of criminal law, it is essential that potential DUI attorneys are well-versed in the procedures and possess extensive knowledge of the laws. It is important to inquire about their education, legal background, bar associations, and the length of time they have been practicing criminal law. Specifically ask how long they have been representing clients facing similar DUI charges, or how many DUI cases they usually represent in one year. Furthermore, you should ask about their experience in taking DUI to trial. While any lawyer can accept fees and then plead clients guilty, your ideal DUI defense lawyer should be able to provide a record of winning trials.
2. What Percentage of Your Practice is Devoted to DUI Cases?
Although there are many advertised DUI attorneys in Orange County, some may be stretching the truth and are not actually exclusively practicing DUI defense. Hiring a general attorney without at least 75 percent of their practice devoted to DUI cases is comparable to going to a dentist for heart surgery. In order to get the representation you deserve, you need an attorney that knows all of the tricks of the trade. Someone who has limited their practice to DUI defense is likely to have significant relationships with the prosecutors and judges assigned to your case. An attorney with an exceptional reputation in DUI defense also stands a much better chance at negotiating better terms, and may be the only difference between you getting community service or jail time.
3. How Many DUI Cases Do You Currently Have?
In the DUI defense business, there are some attorneys that are considered “turn em and burn em” types that have a large number of clients, but only wish to resolve the cases quickly to move on to the next one. As you can imagine, it is extremely difficult to provide high-quality legal services customized to meet a clients specific needs when multiple cases are being juggled at once. If the attorney answers with an unusually high number, chances are that the lawyer falls into this category and will not provide the representation or support you require. In fact, it is highly likely that the attorney will try to convince you to plead guilty, even without substantial evidence against you and a lack of criminal history. Ensure that the attorney has a manageable caseload, which will guarantee that he or she has the necessary time to devote to your case and improve your results. You should also receive a guarantee from the attorney that they will be the one representing you in court at all times.
4. What Legal Expenses Should I Expect?
Hiring a qualified DUI attorney in Orange County and other parts of Southern California can be quite expensive. However, it is definitely worth the investment in order to avoid the even more costly fines, insurance rates, and jail time. When meeting with prospective attorneys, it is highly recommended that you ask about all legal expenses that you will be charged during the case upfront. If an attorney is not able to provide a detailed list of estimated costs, it is best to walk away and steer clear of all the surprise expenses down the road. Since the fees are usually pricey, it is also essential that you ask about payment plans they offer and forms of payment that they accept to be certain they align with your financial situation.
5. What Will Be the Outcome of My DUI Case?
Honestly, this is one of the most important questions that you can ask a DUI defense lawyer before deciding to sign on the dotted line. How the attorney responds is a good indicator of how they will handle your case and their legal practices in general. If the lawyer tells you that your case will be dismissed without any consequences, it is highly likely that you are being fed empty promises by a rather manipulative lawyer. Instead, a good DUI lawyer will not promise a specific outcome. It is impossible to know how a case will end, so they should only make predictions and reassure you that they will put forth their best effort to beat the charges.
After meeting with a few attorneys and asking these crucial questions, it is time to make your decision about who is the most qualified to represent your case. If you are having a hard time deciding between two or more potential DUI lawyers, you may want to ask for client testimonials or contact information to receive some firsthand information that could aid with the selection. Once you find the very best DUI attorney, you can rest assured that you are ready to face the prosecution with confidence.