Choosing a New York DWI Lawyer
In New York, driving while intoxicated is a leading cause of death, making the penalties for drinking and driving quite severe. For a first offense, you can expect a fine of about $300, to perhaps spend some time in jail, and to lose your license for 90 days. For a second DWI offense, the fines are larger at about $500, you may be in jail for longer, and you'll lose your license for six months. The further you go, the worse it gets, and the more chance you have of getting a felony conviction. If you are a problematic drinker, or have a history of legal trouble, you might try a designated driver or calling someone. Anything other than driving is crucial. If you are arrested, it's time to consult with an experienced New York DWI lawyer.
Why consult with a lawyer?
A New York DWI lawyer is crucial for your defense. You might think pleading guilty and moving on is best; that's wrong. You should plead innocent and hire a lawyer way before your trial begins. A lawyer is a necessary part of this process.
What can a lawyer do?
A lawyer can question the charges against you, question what happened, and act in your defense. He or she can lower any fines against you, if not eliminate them. You can avoid losing your license, or at least decrease the suspension. You can avoid jail time. A lawyer is an important part of this process, a voice in the court room for you.
How much will a DWI lawyer cost?
All New York DWI lawyers have different rates. Some charge hourly and some charge flat fees. No two DWI situations are exactly alike, but this will not be cheap. You will likely spend thousands of dollars on a lawyer, but again the advantages are numerous. If you have multiple DWI charges, you may face extended jail time and other very stiff penalties. So the price is relative. How much is your license worth? How much is avoiding jail time worth to you?
How do you hire one?
The New York State Bar Association has a website with a listing of lawyers at NYSBA.org, where you can find some of the most experienced DUI lawyers in the state. You can find them online. You can find them in the yellow pages. You can find them through referrals. But don't settle on the first one you find; be picky. Consult with at least 5-10 experienced New York DWI lawyers, if not more, before settling on one. Factor in court room experience, price, how well you communicate with him or her, and availability. You want a lawyer experienced in DWI court, who knows what to question. You want a lawyer you can afford. You want to be able to talk to this lawyer, as he or she will guide you for weeks if not months through this process. And you want a lawyer who is available, not overbooked with clients.
What if you pick the wrong one?
If you pick the wrong lawyer, there is no New York law saying you must keep him or her. You must only pay the fees up to that point. So if you make the wrong choice, which does happen, fire your current lawyer and continue your search. You have enough options to do so.