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There’s a lot of stigma surrounding drinking and driving, and that’s for good reason. Regardless, it’s far more common than you might think. In fact, around 43 percent of Americans admit to getting behind the wheel after partaking in alcoholic beverages.
While we’d all like to think that we’re okay to drive after having a drink or two, that’s not always the case. What do you do when you’ve been cited for a DUI and you need to choose a DUI lawyer to represent you? Read on to learn how to find the perfect lawyer for your needs!
Why Do You Need a Lawyer?
Lawyers are infamously expensive, and for that reason, a lot of people contemplate trying to navigate the criminal legal system without one. There are definitely some instances where it’s possible to get along without one. For example, if you’re caught going 10-15 miles per hour over the speed limit or failing to yield, then you’re probably fine without a lawyer.
When it comes to navigating state DUI law, however, you should always have a lawyer on your side, like those at www.tprentisslaw.com. Depending on the state in which you live, there are a number of different consequences that come with a DUI conviction. You’re facing fines, losing your license, and even jail time.
While an experienced DUI lawyer doesn’t necessarily mean that you can beat your arrest, they can help increase the likelihood that your arrest doesn’t mean the end of life as you know it.
Ask for Recommendations
The best way to explore your options for lawyers is to start by asking for recommendations. Understandably, asking for a DUI lawyer recommendations is a bit more sensitive of a topic than when you’re looking for a plumber. It can still be done, however.
The most ideal situation for recommendations would be if you have a close friend or family member who has gone through the DUI legal process in the past. They may be able to steer you in the right direction in terms of finding an attorney.
If you are attending any kind of alcoholism recovery group, like Alcoholics Anonymous, you might ask around to see if any members have had any experience with DUI lawyers. Chances are, several people at those meetings have had experience dealing with the legal consequences of their alcoholism.
The success of a lawyer has just as much to do with their legal skills as it does with their personal connections. For that reason, it’s important for you to center your search around lawyers that regularly work in your jurisdiction.
Lawyers who have spent a significant amount of their career in a single jurisdiction know the judges and the prosecutors well, which means they know how to work with them to influence the outcome of your case. It also means that they know how to properly file the right paperwork in order to make your case run smoothly.
Make sure to ask your prospective attorneys how long they have worked in the area and how well they know the other people handling your case.
Do They Have DUI Case Experience?
Criminal law is a pretty broad area of law. It can mean anything from DUI arrests to domestic violence to theft. It’s entirely possible to hire a criminal defense lawyer whose experience does not include defending people against DUI arrests.
When meeting with potential lawyers, don’t hesitate to ask them about how much DUI case experience they have had in their career. How many cases have they won? What kind of strategy would they like to employ in your case?
The more questions you prepare about their experience, the easier it’ll be to decide which attorney to choose.
Explore References and Reviews
Attorneys are very convincing, in fact, it’s their job to be convincing. Before signing on the dotted line or putting down cash for a retainer, take some time to explore their references and reviews.
This can be as simple as conducting a standard Google search on your potential lawyer, and checking sites like Yelp! and Google Reviews to see what other people have to say. Look for trends in the reviews to get a good idea of how they work and their success rates. You can also check your local state bar page to see if they’ve ever had any complaints or reprimands.
Comparing Lawyer Fees
One of the biggest factors that comes into play when choosing a lawyer is how much the lawyer costs them.
For DUI defense, there are a few different ways in which they might charge you for your case. Some will ask for a retainer and then bill you hourly for their services. Others might charge a flat rate for DUI defense, depending on the circumstances of your case. It’s important to ask questions about their fees upfront so you can make an informed decision when retaining counsel.
What If You Cannot Afford a Lawyer?
Lawyers are expensive, but they’re a necessary expense when it comes to criminal cases. Many people don’t have the ability to pay their own private defense attorney, but it’s important to know that, no matter where you live, you are entitled to an attorney after you’re arrested.
All you need to do to invoke this right is to tell the police that you want an attorney when they’re questioning you. The court will assign a public defender to you from a local PD office or from a list of attorneys who volunteer as public defenders.
Remember that right to counsel only applies to criminal cases. If you injure someone while driving under the influence, you will have to secure your own attorney if they sue you in a civil case.
Do You Need to Choose a DUI Lawyer?
Getting a DUI is easily one of the most stressful things that can happen in life. If you want to minimize the impact that it has on your future, then it’s important to follow these steps in order to choose a DUI lawyer to represent you. While it’s not always possible to win your case, a good lawyer can help reduce your sentence, and that’s worth its weight in gold.
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