As DUI punishment gets increasingly severe, finding a good DUI lawyer has never been this important. You risk fines of up to $4,000, jail time, and license suspension for having an alcohol blood content of more than 0.08. And you can’t afford to go with a court-appointed lawyer. State representation in a DUI case is like having a referee from the opposing team. The prosecutor and your state-appointed lawyer are on the same squad, and that rarely ends well. Instead, get an experienced attorney from a reputable source such as The Hogle Law Firm in Mesa for best results.
Here’s how you can find a good DUI lawyer.
Step #1: Make a List of Potential Candidates
Finding a great DUI lawyer is like shopping for a used car. First, you want to make a list of potential vehicles, then examine each option closely before signing the dotted line. Similarly, you want to make a list of potential law firms then start a vetting process. Here are some popular ways to come up with potentials for the list.
Personal recommendations: Asking for recommendations from trusted entities is the easiest way to find a good attorney. Maybe you have a friend who was in a similar situation, and they came out with a fine and driving restriction. That’s proven experience right there and an excellent way to find quality lawyers for the list.
Ask an attorney you know: Do you know a lawyer from work or another court case you attended? Consider asking that attorney for recommendations. Usually, these guys know every DUI lawyer who’s worth their salt in the area, and they might point you to a couple of them. But that does not mean you should trust everything you hear. The lawyer might decide to recommend a friend with less than ideal experience.
Online forums: If all else fails, head over to your favorite online forums and ask for DUI lawyer recommendations. You’ll be surprised at the number of people in similar situations, and they might point you in the right direction. Just look out for lawyers who pay markers to hang around forums to answer such questions.
Step #2: Determine if the Lawyer Has Relevant Experience
Now you have a list of five or more DUI lawyers in your area. It’s time to narrow down to those with the most relevant experience to your case. Here, you’re looking for someone who works in the same court you’ll be attending. These lawyers usually know what to expect from a particular prosecutor and judge, and that might lead to an accurate prediction.
Ask how many cases the DUI lawyer has handled, plus the average outcome. Then use these statistics to choose the top 3 candidates.
Step #3: Have an in-Person Meeting With All Prospects
Book appointments with all prospects you found in step #2. During these meetings, you want to find a lawyer you feel most comfortable around. You also want to be upfront with everything that transpired on that fateful day. The last thing you want is to surprise the attorney with incriminating information right before a trial.
Bring every document related to your DUI case. That includes DMV letters, police reports, and any other related document. That is the only way the lawyer will know what to do with your case.
This is also the point where you ask who will be representing you in court. That’s because law firms work as teams, and they might have a fresh graduate waiting for a first case. Ideally, you want to avoid these inexperienced lawyers, even if they’re from a reputable law firm.
Step #4: Consider Lawyer Fees
Many factors could affect the final price of representation in your DUI case. For example, you might have to pay a small fortune for a good attorney if there are injuries, death, or property damage in your case. Otherwise, expect to pay anything between $5,000 and $10,000 for a case with little to no complications.
Generally, you want to stay away from cheap lawyers. These guys usually have a ton of work most of the time, which means they have little time to spend on your case. The idea is to go for a moderately priced attorney with lots of experience and a proven track record.
With attorney fees running past the $5,000 mark, it’s important to know if your lawyer can accept partial payments. This is a great way to have an experienced lawyer on your case without breaking the bank.