Questions To Ask Your DUI Lawyer
After your preliminary research study is done, you will then have to think about each lawyer’s certifications to make the very best choice. You will wish to find out the lawyer’s educational background, what locations they focus on, and do they have a good standing and a solid reputation with their state bar. You want to prepare a solid list of questions for your potential legal representative. Here are some that may help you uncover more information about your attorney.
Important Questions For Your DUI Attorney
Do you focus your practice on drunk driving defense, or do you practice in other areas of law.
- This is one area where you want to have a dedicated DUI defense lawyer. Working with an attorney that handles real estate law, patents, copyrights and trademarks, tax law, and DUI is probably not the best choice. You want an attorney who is committed to working only on DUI so they understand the complexity of the law and can implement a strategy that will provide you with the best outcome.
Can you tell me how many DUI cases you have won in the last year?
- If your attorney has no real track record to speak of, it makes it challenging to understand how good or bad this attorney really is. It is fair to take into account that you may have a new attorney who is new to their particular firm, but if you are dealing with a lawyer that has been practicing DUI law for 8 years, and hasn’t had a victory in the court of law in the last several months, it may be time to look for another. Have them show you proof of victories.
If I were to hire you, will you personally be handling my case?
- You don’t want to do all of your research and find an attorney that you think will win your case, only to deal with an associate for the entire process. You want to be certain that the attorney you hired, with all of the accolades and accomplishments is the same one that will be sitting next to you in front of a judge and or jury.
Do you have any training in field sobriety testing?
- If you are attempting to fight your DUI arrest, it would make sense to have an attorney that can battle the police in the court of law. There are mistakes that can happen when a breathalyzer is administered, and you want the expert who can pinpoint what went wrong, and why the readings should not be allowed to be used as evidence. If the arrest is made because you blew a .09 when arrested, but that information cannot be used in the trial, the chances of you getting a reduced sentence drastically improve.
How many years of experience do you have?
A lawyer fresh out of law school may be ambitious and eager to win cases, but there are many technical, scientific and civil liberty aspects of DUI law that can really only be learned through experience.? Recognize that results are more important than length of practice or volume of cases, but real experience, unfortunately for new grads, always trumps education alone.
Do you specialize in DUI cases?
Just like most industries, there are many areas of specialization that exist in the legal field.? This does not mean that a lawyer who typically specializes in family law cannot proficiently handle criminal defense cases like DUI charges, but you should look for someone who has had applicable experience and success.
While specializing in DUI Defense is recommended, also consider that a lawyer with experience in additional practice areas is likely to have more years in the industry, greater resources, and the skills and confidence to aggressively win your case.
Will you be handling my case from start to finish?
Be advised that many larger law firms employ a multi-level process for case handling.? You might have your initial consultation with a senior lawyer who has a lot of experience and a great track record, but an associate with less experience may be assigned to actually carry out the footwork for your case.
When Can I Expect To Hear From You As The Case Progresses?
The complaint I hear most often is that the lawyer is not responsive to the client. Often clients tell me that the lawyer never calls back, doesn’t answer their questions etc. This is your life, it is a serious matter and it should be regarded as such. Make sure the attorney you hire firmly commits to being responsive to you as a client , while handling your matter.
Are there any hidden fees?
Make sure that you know about all potential costs and fees for your case going into it. The worst thing that can happen is that you are held ransom by your lawyer because of hidden or unexpected fees. The last thing you want is to find out that your lawyer is not prepared to go forward with your case because of additional or unexpected costs that you cannot afford.
What’s Your Background And Certification?
In general, a lawyer with plenty of experience is more likely to successfully defend your case than a new lawyer, just as a lawyer who specializes in DUI cases will likely be a better option than a generalist lawyer.
Education is also key, as it gives a lawyer the proper foundation to effectively practice criminal law.
Use your state’s official bar association website to help you find a qualified lawyer so that you know upfront that they have the proper credentials to be practicing.
Check that the lawyer you are interviewing has a strong educational background and the right certification to adequately represent you.
To do so, ask them:
- Where did you attend law school and when did you graduate?
- How many years have you been practicing law, and how much of that time has been spent specializing in DUIs?
- Do you belong to any bar associations or professional organizations?
- Do you have any DUI specific training, such as certification from an official DUI organization, or have you participated in a DUI ride-along with a police officer?
You should also inquire about any awards or certifications that the lawyer or law firm openly advertises, as some of these awards are paid for and do not actually designate a successful lawyer or law firm.
If you initially meet with legal assistants or junior lawyers, also check to see if they will be handling your case, or if it will be taken on by a more senior lawyer.
How Do You Manage Your Case And Potential Outcomes?
Once you’ve determined that the lawyer is well-qualified to handle a DUI case, you can discuss the specifics of your case.
The attorney will be able to talk about how they’ve managed DUI cases in the past and give an idea of what to expect for your case.
While client/attorney confidentiality means that you won’t be able to learn the specifics of previous DUI cases that the lawyer has handled, they should still be able to give you a general idea of the cases they have previously worked on and what outcomes are possible.
To learn how they might manage your case, ask the following:
- What factors in my case work for me and which might work against me?
- Is it possible to secure a plea bargain, or is there a chance the case could be dismissed?
- Should the case go to trial?
- What can I expect from each step of the process and what potential outcomes do you foresee?
You will definitely want to learn more about the specifics of how they will manage your case, such as if other attorneys will work on your case as well.