Local DUI Attorney - Choosing The Best One
If you’re searching for the best local DUI attorney, we’ll assume that you were arrested and have a case pending. A significant part of your future may now depend on the outcome of that case, so you will need to choose your attorney with the greatest care.
Some Tough Love
It’s true that mistakes are sometimes made even by the police, and not everyone who gets arrested for DUI is actually guilty. However, if you were indeed driving under the influence of alcohol, you should face the fact that you committed an act that was not only illegal, but irresponsible. You messed up.
Much as you might like to, you can’t take it back now. But what you can do is take some responsibility not only for your future driving decisions, but for the choices you make about who is going to handle your case. Let’s take a look at how you can do that like a full-grown responsible adult.
What Not To Do When Choosing Your Local DUI Attorney
An immature person thinks that saying “sorry” or “my bad” is all he has to do. Regardless of how clearly he knows that was in the wrong and how much he might regret it, he still expects to dump his troubles on someone with authority and have them handle all the details of getting the situation straightened out. It’s a situation similar to that of a kid who throws a baseball through the neighbor’s window. It was an accident and he feels terrible about it, but the biggest part of his problem is informing Mom and Dad. There might be a punishment for him, but he knows the responsibility for rectifying the whole situation will fall on his parents. Paying for the replacement window, dealing with the insurance company, and trying to maintain a good relationship with the neighbor will all be on their shoulders.
As a responsible adult, you cannot take this same immature approach to your DUI case. If you expect to have any chance of a good outcome, you can’t just randomly pick a local DUI attorney, tell him you got arrested, and expect him to take it from there. The attorney is not your parent, and has many other cases besides yours. If you were drinking and driving, you’ve already made one mistake. Don’t compound it by expecting a random attorney to work a miracle while you sit back and watch.
Local DUI Attorney - Check Out This Video Example
First, Screen Carefully
Your first job is to take a proactive role in choosing an attorney. There may not be anybody in your immediate circle of friends who has ever had a DUI; or maybe they have and you just don’t know it. Unless you fear immense damage to your person life if your arrest becomes known, it’s highly recommended that you ask around. See if any of your friends, or their friends, can recommend a local DUI attorney such as our featured attorney in Rochester, NY; one who did a fine job on their case.
If you don’t know anyone who has ever used a local DUI attorney or if you can’t confide your situation to anyone, you might consider asking your bail bondsman for a referral. You should be cautious, since some bail bondsmen have kickback agreements with seedy attorneys. But if your bail bondsman is well-established and reputable, he might be more knowledgeable than most people about good DUI attorneys in your area.
Once You Have a Local DUI Attorney Candidate
However you happen to get it, sooner or later you’ll have the name of an attorney you want to check out. Here is where you can begin helping him to help you, from the moment of the initial phone call you make to his office. Remember, you are not going to just dump your problems in his lap. So before you even pick up the phone, take a few minutes to prepare what you need to say. Even if you’re talking to the attorney’s receptionist or secretary, hemming and hawing and shuffling papers is just an annoying waste of everyone’s time. Get clear on what you plan to say before you dial. Regardless of who answers the phone, tell them that you were arrested and are in the process of choosing an attorney to represent you. If you have received any paperwork pertaining to your arrest or upcoming court date, read it first, so you’ll have some idea of what it says, and then have it in your hand when you place the call, in order to answer any questions the attorney or his staff may ask you.
Remember, a sleazy, fly-by-night attorney will probably take any business he can get. If you want the best local DUI attorney to represent you, be aware that his excellent skills probably mean he has plenty of business, and he will only accept your case if he feels you are taking it seriously. When you initially contact him, behave as though you have some sense of the gravity of your situation, and that you are prepared to help him help you. Also, in your initial conversation with your potential attorney, make sure you get quickly to the point. For example, if you were drinking because of a breakup, the attorney doesn’t need to hear the whole story of your passionate romance to understand exactly why you were upset enough to drink and drive. It’s not relevant. State the simple facts: how much did you drink and what happened after that? This is what he needs to hear, to decide whether he can be of assistance to your case.
There are some people who may be openly contemptuous of lawyers, and may not even try to hide it very well. Other folks from more humble backgrounds may be intimidated by the idea of dealing with dealing one-on-one with an educated professional, someone they may regard as a “big shot.” Neither of these is the right approach to take when hiring an attorney. You may not interview lawyers every day, but when it comes right down to it, hiring a lawyer is no different than hiring someone to paint your house. He is in business offering a service as a skilled professional. You are a person in need of that service. You have every right to interview him and expect him to do quality work. On the other hand, don’t treat him with suspicion as though you think he makes a living by swindling people. Expect your local DUI attorney to treat you with respect and courtesy, and treat him with the same. You need not have similar backgrounds in order to work well together on your case.
The First Meeting
If the initial phone call goes well, you can proceed to make an appointment with the local DUI attorney you’ve chosen. The consultation will usually be free, and you should take it as a good sign if the attorney speaks to you personally rather than having an assistant or a paralegal handle the task. A good attorney will welcome your questions, knowing that a prepared and responsible client will give him a better chance of winning the case.
Consider asking some of the following questions:
- How many years have you been in practice? Have you been a DUI attorney all of those years?
- What makes you especially qualified to handle DUI cases? (In addition to experience, most DUI attorneys have specialized training and knowledge about many areas of DUI cases. They should know all about DUI testing methods and the laws for administering tests properly, the science of how the human body processes alcohol, etc.)
- How many cases have you taken to trial? Just in case you should wind up going to trial, you don’t want to be the client your attorney “learns the ropes” on.
- Are you covered by malpractice insurance? No gray areas here; if the answer is no, say thanks and goodbye.
- Have you ever been disciplined by the bar association? Everyone makes occasional mistakes, and your attorney might have made one at some point, just as you may have been “written up” or disciplined for an error at your job. However, a long history of problems is a red flag.
- How will you keep me up to date about what’s going on with my case? The attorney should not leave you wondering whether anything is happening. He should contact you by your preferred method. For example, if you cannot accept phone calls during the day at your job, he should be prepared to email you instead, or call you after hours.
- Who in your office will be handling my case? It’s not unusual or wrong for a staffer to handle some of the work, but you should know the plan before you sign on.
- How much will this cost me? There won’t, or at least there shouldn’t, be a concrete answer to this question, so don’t be fooled by promises of bargain basement flat rates. However, your attorney should have some ballpark idea of what your case might cost.
- Can you get me off? Again, the attorney should not promise you a specific outcome to your case. He should be able to tell you what he thinks the strengths or weaknesses of the case are, and help you understand the likely outcome.
If you feel pretty confident you have settled on the attorney you want to represent your case, you can delve into some more extensive discussion with him about your particular case. You will want to ask him whether he’d recommend a guilty plea for your circumstances, or whether a plea agreement might be an option. Discuss which factors in your case work in your favor and which ones tend to work against you. A good attorney such as our featured attorney in Rochester, NY should be willing to help you know what you might expect at the various stages of the process, from arraignment all the way through to a possible trial.
The Final Decision
If you’ve met with more than one equally qualified local DUI attorney and are still undecided about which way to go, your “gut” is as good a judge as anything else. Which one made you feel more comfortable? Which one gives you more confidence about a positive outcome for your case? Listen to your intuition and select a local DUI attorney with whom you can form a good working relationship and you’ll have the best chance for a positive result.
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Our featured attorney may be a certified specialist in their DUI field. If so, the organization providing the certification is not affiliated with any governmental authority. Certification is not a requirement for the practice of law in the State of New York and does not necessarily indicate greater competence than other attorneys experienced in this field of law.