How Do You Find a DUI Lawyer and What Can you Expect From Them?
It happened. The thing that you never thought would happen did. You got pulled over and arrested for a DUI. You were just driving home, maybe had a drink or two, maybe more and those blue lights were all of a sudden behind you. Now you have to deal with the terrifying repercussions of a DUI. The first thing you need to do is find a lawyer. A good one who specializes in DUI will be your best bet. Here are some tips on finding the best one for you:
Finding a good lawyer
You can always use a court appointed lawyer, but if you want the care and attention that you may need in this situation, you probably want to go with a lawyer whose practice is specifically focused on DUI. You've got a few ways of finding one. For better or worse, you may know someone who has been in this situation, if so give them a call. They may recommend their lawyer, or advise you otherwise. Maybe they used a court appointed lawyer and will advise you against it. You also can ask any friends you may have who are attorneys; they may know someone who focuses on DUI cases and can help you. If you don't know anyone in those capacities, do a search. Make sure you look locally - for instance if you live in the San Francisco bay area, search DUI attorney San Francisco. You don't want to find someone online, get your heart set on that attorney and find out they are located across the country, so search geographically specific.
When you've found someone, make sure you check his or her credentials, as well as the firm's credentials. See where they went to school and make sure they have a legitimate law degree. Check testimonials and references. You want to see clients who were satisfied with the job they did. You don't want to end up paying huge attorney fees and not get what you need.
What should you ask your potential DUI attorney?
You should be able to expect some certain things from the lawyer you hire, and make sure of this before you hire them. First off, ask some questions of them. You should be able to have a consultation before hiring anyone. You may want to ask things like who will actually represent you. If you are hiring form a large firm, you may get someone in court who you haven't spoken to. If that's important to you, find it out beforehand. You may not want to show up in court and have a stranger representing you.
What are you paying for? You'll want to know this up front, and often the initial consultation is free. This is the time to ask questions and find out what they'll do for you. You should also ask about the indivdual lawyer's and the firm's success rate and experience. How many cases have they represented? How many have they won? What about your case - what do they foresee the results being? You need to be honest with your DUI attorney and you should expect honesty as well.
What should you expect on their part?
Your attorney should work hard to get the best possible outcome for you. An experienced attorney in this field will know what questions to ask and what lines to pursue. Some things they may want to look into are things like:
- Did the arresting officer follow protocol?
- When were you pulled over and what was the reason for doing so?
- Do you have any physical reason your sobriety tests may have been skewed?
- Were the tests calibrated correctly?
These and more are all valid questions to ask. An attorney without experience in this field may not know to ask them, much less pursue them. A lot of your life can be riding on the outcome of your DUI. Your job and home and future can all be in jeopardy; prison time could even be looming ahead. You want the best possible outcome, and one way to help get it is with an experienced, specialized attorney.