HOW TO CHOOSE A DUI ATTORNEY?
Should you hire the attorney that handles your family’s financial affairs? Recently in court we noticed that there are unfamiliar attorneys representing people charged with DUI. Whenever we notice a new attorney we try to get to know them and learn more about their law practice and have learned that they are family attorneys or probate attorneys. These attorneys do not have DUI experience so they charge their client a small fee for a plea. The problem is, however, that a lot of these attorneys have no criminal defense experience or knowledge. They have no grasp of criminal law let alone DUI law. Not only do we recognize their lack of knowledge and experience but the judge and prosecutor does as well. The attorney is not in a strategic position to negotiate on behalf of his client which results in bad deals for their clients. So, I would not recommend someone hire an attorney just because the attorney is familiar to the defendant and the defendant’s family. Familiarity should not replace the experience necessary to successfully represent someone in a DUI.
Should you choose an attorney based upon inexpensive fees? There are a lot of attorneys who have extremely low fees for DUI representation. Typically fees are charged based upon the level of knowledge and experience that the attorney has in a particular area of practice as well as time spent on the case. Based upon the attorney fee guidelines it would appear that the lower the fees the less time being spent by a less experienced attorney. So, low fees should not be the primary determining factor in choosing an attorney. You may end up having to pay more in the long run.
Should you go with the Public Defender? Public Defenders are very experienced attorneys who handle an array of criminal matters. For the most part they do not specialize in any area – let alone DUI. By law they are prohibited from representing someone at the DMV. Because the DMV aspect of the case has such a large impact on a person’s everyday life it is best that the person hire a private attorney, instead of a Public Defender, if possible.
So how do you choose a DUI attorney? The answer is simple. You choose an attorney with a proven track record of success. You should ask the attorney about his/her successes in handling DUIs including how many trials their clients were found not guilty and how many DMV set asides. The more successes the more knowledgeable and experienced the attorney brings to the table. Ask the attorney if he/she has a list of successful cases.
In conclusion, hiring an attorney is an investment in your future. Choose you DUI attorney wisely.