Choosing a DUI lawyer is an important choice. But you are making a key decision already. By hiring a professional instead of a court appointed lawyer or defending yourself, you’re ensuring your rights are protected. It does not guarantee you will come out of this sentencing with no blemishes, but it gives you a much better chance.
If you type in “DUI” in Google – go ahead and come back – you’ll see something quite odd: millions of results. There are specialized DUI sites, blogs like this one, business sites, law firms, articles sites, each with their own stake on your time. This makes choosing like pulling diamonds from the Earth: you have to really work at it. You have to put time into searching for the right DUI lawyer, not the first or the cheapest. If you go with the cheapest, you might as well use a court appointed lawyer. This is not to say you should hire the highest, but pay professional rates for an important service.
How do you choose who helps with DUI law? Going online is, even with the surplus of sites, still one of your best options. You can narrow down an experienced lawyer or firm often by seeing their relevant experience, their testimonials, there actual pieces on DUI law published online, etc.
Who is right for you? Have a price in mind. $500 may not cut it; you typically pay thousands of dollars for a professional DUI lawyer. Why? You stand to owe thousands in fines, to lose your license, and face jail time, so it’s more than worth the fee.
Also have some prepared questions for the lawyer. How many DUI cases have you taken? How many are you currently working on? Will you have a paralegal or second lawyer on this case? How much time can you spend on this case? What kind of defense do you suggest for my situation? Can you work with me on fees?
Some of these are quite simple: you want to know if this DUI lawyer is overbooked, how much experience he or she has, and whether or not he or she will refer your case to someone else. But some lawyers are willing to negotiate some on fees, perhaps working on a plan for you to pay over time.
How do you review? You asked some key questions. Now, pull together the answers and use your gut instincts. You want someone you can communicate well with. By asking the key questions, you likely got an idea of their personality, not to mention knowledge, and that is quite valuable.
How many lawyers should you contact prior to hiring one? Generally you keep looking until you find the right one. Never settle unless you’re running out of time. If you live near a major city, your options are many, so make a short list of say 5-10 names and start asking for consultations. You can do this via email, where some firms offer legal advice for free to get you started.