Those arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) can expect to face some harsh punishment if they end up being convicted. Even first-time offenders can look forward to the loss of driving privileges, high fines, probation, and more. The interesting thing about DUI cases, though, is that many get dropped or the charges get reduced. That is because a DUI arrest has lots of potential for law enforcement to make mistakes, and that can go in your favor. With the expertise of a criminal law attorney, the facts of your case will be gone through with a fine-tooth comb in an effort to show that the stop, the field sobriety testing, or the arrest was not properly carried out. For some tips on finding and hiring the best legal help you can, read on.
Do Some Checking Around
You can often find recommendations for criminal law help by asking friends, neighbors, relatives, and other attorneys. For example, if you recently worked with an estate lawyer to resolve a loved one's estate, ask them about DUI lawyers. Try to focus on lawyers that are local and that have experience with DUI law – a very particular area of law with unique aspects.
Online reviews can be helpful for those who want to keep their legal issues to themselves, but try not to place too much stock in obviously disgruntled reviewers. Instead, view the information holistically. When you have one or two contenders, be sure to access your state's State Bar website and run a search on your picks. You can find out more about the lawyer's background as well as about any adversary issues like suspensions or loss of a law license.
Interview the Lawyer
Many lawyers will give you a few minutes of their time for a consultation, so make the most of the time and have some questions at the ready like the following:
- How long have they been practicing in DUI law? Do they also take on general criminal law clients?
- What does the lawyer know about the state prosecutor and their staff? It pays to have an attorney who knows how things work at the courthouse in terms of plea bargains and sentencing.
- What legal fees can you expect? Some DUI lawyers charge a flat fee by the case with the expectation that the case won't go to trial. If it does go to trial, extra fees may be charged. Some lawyers charge by the hour and you must pay a sum of money upfront (a retainer) to get your case started.
- Finally, discuss the particulars of your DUI case and get a feel for how the lawyer handles matters. In the end, you need to pick an attorney you trust and is easy to talk to.
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