DUIs are more common than you might think. In 2012, 1 in 165 licensed drivers were arrested for a DUI. Getting a DUI can be extremely stressful, but it’s very important to be prepared for the situation, and attend to the matters at hand in a timely fashion. A DUI can result in hefty fines, restrictions or revocation of your license, problems with employment, and even jail time. Because of this, it’s important that you act quickly.
Finding the right DUI lawyer can help alleviate the situation and ease your mind. An experienced DUI attorney will be able to help you determine whether or not it is better to plead guilty or to fight the charges in a courtroom. Follow these steps when hiring an attorney to help with your DUI case.
Start With A List
To find an experienced attorney in your area, start by getting recommendations from people you trust. However, you shouldn’t automatically hire a lawyer just because a family member or close friend recommended them – they may not always be the right fit. There are lots of different areas of law, and most lawyers will have a specialty. The next step you should take is to conduct a search online. Fire up your favorite web browser, pull up Google, and enter what you’re looking for along with the area where you were arrested. For instance, if you got a DUI in Chesterfield, VA, you’d search for “dui lawyer chesterfield” to pull up law firms in the area that specialize in criminal and traffic law. Take your time as you look through the results. Take note of user reviews, visit their website to get a feel for the practice, and review their education, history, and level of experience.
Narrow Things Down
Once you have an initial list, you’ll want to narrow it down to 3-5 attorneys to further investigate. This is where you’ll take a better look at their background, areas of expertise, whether they are in good standing with the state bar, what types of reviews they have, and so on. You’ll want to ensure the attorney you hire is local to the area to save attorney’s fees. You’ll also want to ensure they are licensed, in good standing with the state bar, and specializes in DUI law. You should also review their level of experience, education, and reviews to see typical experiences other clients had with the lawyer.
Make An Appointment
Many attorneys will offer a free in person consultation to meet you and discuss your upcoming case. When you meet the lawyer, make sure you are forthright about all matters to your case. Give the attorney all of the facts, even if they’re a bit embarrassing. Providing all the details of what happened will best prepare the attorney to make decisions about how to handle your case. Make sure your bring any documents you received from the police, magistrate, insurance agencies, or other individuals involved in the case. Discuss the attorney’s experience and whether or not they will be handling the case directly. At a bigger law firm, a younger attorney may handle your case instead. Ask to meet with who will represent you in court to ensure you feel comfortable with their level of expertise. Make sure the attorneys present a clear strategy for handling your case, and make you feel comfortable.
Look At The Costs
Attorney’s fees for a DUI can range dramatically. Many factors will determine their costs, such as location, if there were injuries or damage to property, the attorney’s level of experience and reputation, and more. Fees are typically between $2000 and $5000, but they could be upward of $20,000 depending on the case. When you meet with an attorney, make sure this is all discussed before your case. Fees should be determined in advance and you should be presented with a contract. Keep in mind that lawyer’s fees are negotiable, although highly skilled and reputable lawyers will be less likely to cut you a break on their fees. Also keep in mind that you don’t have to go with the first attorney you meet with. Feel free to meet with two or three and pick the one that’s right for you.
A DUI is extremely stressful and a highly serious matter. Take the time to do your research to find the best person to represent you in court – your freedom could depend on it!