Each day, about 29 people die due to a car crash caused by an alcohol-impaired driver. Driving under the influence (DUI) can end an innocent person's life—and completely change yours.
If you're dealing with a DUI charge, you shouldn't try navigating the legal process alone. Instead, it can pay off to look for a qualified DUI lawyer. Otherwise, you could end up with costly charges (or facing jail time).
Don't let one mistake change the entire course of your life!
Instead, use these seven tips for hiring the best local DUI attorney in your area. With these tips, you can find a defense who has your best interests in mind. Start your search with these seven tips!
1. Ask Around
The first step to take when looking for a good DUI lawyer is to ask around. Do you know any friends, family members, or coworkers who hired a DUI lawyer in the past? If so, give them a call.
Ask about their experience working with that lawyer. What was the outcome of the case? Did they trust the lawyer every step of the way, or did they experience some problems?
If the latter, how were those problems resolved?
There's a chance you don't know anyone who received a DUI charge in the past. If that's the case, speak with a lawyer you've worked with on a different matter. For example, you might have hired a lawyer to review your will.
Ask that lawyer if they know any local DUI attorneys. Speaking with another lawyer can give you the inside scoop about a DUI lawyer's abilities. They might even work at a law firm that has a team of DUI lawyers available.
Make sure to ask about each lawyer's:
Code of ethics
Speaking with another lawyer will give you peace of mind that you're choosing someone with a good reputation.
2. Check for Experience
As you start searching for a lawyer, make sure you choose someone who focuses in DUI cases. You don't want to choose a general lawyer. They might lack the hands-on experience and expertise you need.
Once you develop a list of lawyers to contact, ask about their experience with DUI cases. How many DUI cases were they involved in this year? Have they always specialized in DUI cases or did they switch specialties?
Have they worked on any cases that are similar to yours? A lawyer with recent experience should have up-to-date knowledge about laws and procedures relevant to DUI cases.
3. Determine Their Track Record
10,511 people died as the result of a drunk-driving crash in the span of a single year.
When searching for a good DUI attorney, make sure to compare each prospective lawyer's track record. What was the outcome of their most recent cases?
Try to learn as much as possible about the lawyer's recent caseload. For example, do they try to avoid settlements? Do they prefer to settle instead of taking a case to court? Make sure to find a lawyer whose track record aligns with your goals.
There are many long-term and short-term consequences you might face yourself. For example:
Driver's license revocation
Difficulty keeping your current job or getting a new one
Increased auto insurance rates
If you receive a DUI conviction, you might get your license revoked. As a result, you'll need to find another way to get around. You might lose the ability to drive yourself around for up to two years. This can make it difficult to run errands, get to work, or visit family and friends. As a result, you'll have to rely on someone else for a ride.
However, that's only one of the smaller consequences. You might face jail time, especially if someone dies. With that in mind, you'll want to find a good DUI lawyer with a track record that proves their abilities.
4. Make Sure They're Active
In order to narrow down your list, head online. Visit your local bar association's website and make sure the lawyers on your list are all active members. If they're not, cross them off. While you're on your local bar association's website, learn a little more about the lawyers on your list. Are they part of any law association? If they are, do they hold any leadership positions? A lawyer who maintains a leadership position over time has likely earned the trust of other lawyers in their community.
5. Read Reviews
In order to make sure you're hiring a good DUI lawyer, take the time to speak with their previous clients. First, look online for reviews. You can find reviews on the Better Business Bureau or the law firm's website.
- If you can't find reviews online, tell the attorney you're interested in that you want to speak with references. Try to speak to two or three references.
- Ask them about their experience working with that lawyer. Do they have any complaints? Would they suggest that attorney to a friend?
- Speaking with someone who worked with that attorney firsthand can give you peace of mind before you make your choice.
6. Consider the Firm
As you continue your search for a good DUI attorney, consider the size of the law firm they work for. You're more likely to find the representation you need from a larger law firm. They'll also have more time and resources that they can dedicate to your case.
Some law firms also have a good standing with the law enforcement and prosecutors involved in your case. As a result, you can avoid prejudice or a lack of professionalism as your case proceeds.
7. Schedule a Free Consultation
Once you narrow down your options to two or three attorneys, request a consultation. Most lawyers offer a free, 30-minute consultation, giving you the chance to meet them in person.
Ask any lingering questions you have, such as:
How many DUI cases have you defended?
How many DUI trials have you had?
Do you have the staff necessary to cover me throughout every step of my case?
What percentage of your practice is focused on DUI cases?
Do you have experts or investigators who can support my case?
If I need to take a plea deal, what does that look like?
Once you've interviewed a few, take the time to review your notes. Who did you feel most comfortable with? Then, make your choice based on your confidence in that lawyer.
Don't Go It Alone: The Top Tips to Help You Find a DUI Lawyer
Your search is over! With these tips, you don't have to navigate your DUI case alone. Instead, use these tips to find a DUI lawyer capable of defending your best interests.
Searching for a DUI lawyer? Learn more about our qualified team today!