Selecting the Right DUI Lawyer Is Critical.
First, ask yourself: how do I choose the right doctor, dentist or a mechanic? It’s the same way you choose the right DUI Lawyer.
Start by researching the kind of case you have online; learn about your case so you can ask smart questions of the lawyer and also know what you can reasonably expect from the case (best and particularly worst case scenarios). You should also ask your friends, lawyers in other practice areas or people you respect in the community about DUI Lawyers who are knowledgeable and respected in your community.
Next, you have to be prepared to talk to a lot of lawyers before you find the one with the right experience that you can work with. Its important that the lawyer be experienced with the kind of case you are facing. Its also important that you trust and can communicate with your lawyer and understand the lawyer when he communicates with you.
Be prepared to ask the lawyer what discovery he plans to do, what witnesses he thinks you’ll need, whether you’ll need an expert for your case, whether there are any defenses he thinks he can raise, and what (if any) motions he anticipates running. The more comprehensive the answers the better the lawyer. Anyone who is impatient with your questions or dismissive of you is probably not the right DUI lawyer.
So far, this assumes that you have unlimited resources. If you do not, you can limit the money the lawyer costs by reducing the amount of experience s/he has. The less amount of experience, the lower the cost.
Its hard to know the lawyers track record as its not printed anywhere — and it can be deceptive as all cases are different and generally the outcome depends heavily on the facts of YOUR case. You can ask the lawyer how many of these cases (cases are differentiated by their statute: 187, 288a, 459, or by their general subject: DUI, possession, fraud) he’s handled and how many he’s taken to trial.
Things to think about:
Be leery of lawyers who over-promise what they can do based on your research.
Be leery of lawyers who represent that they have an in with judges or prosecutors.
Be leery of lawyers who aren’t prepared to take your case to trial or who talk about negotiating the case down from the beginning. 95% of cases end in settlement, but the ones that end best for the defendant are the ones where the lawyer has prepared from the beginning to go to trial.
Be leery of lawyers who tell you your case is hopeless.
Be leery of DUI lawyers who advertise that they obtained dismissals in an unreasonably high number of cases. As a result of settlement one of the two charges against you is dismissed, so all cases result in a dismissal even if your still punished severely.
See my related article How Much Should I Pay For the Right DUI Lawyer?