How To Pick a DUI Attorney—Know What Questions to Ask
When looking for a DUI/DWI attorney, you will want to speak with a number of different attorneys who might represent you. This kind of consultation is usually free. The most important thing to remember when speaking with a potential lawyer is not to be afraid to ask questions. The best and most qualified lawyers will welcome your questions and they will take it as a sign that you have done your homework. Remember that when you are interviewing an attorney, the attorney is also interviewing you to see if he or she wants to take your case. A good lawyer would rather represent a truly prepared client, a client who is committed to getting the best legal representation available.
Here are a few questions you should ask in order to make an informed choice of who will represent you.
• “How many years have you been in practice?”
This will tell you much about the attorney’s potential experience. But, also ask what they have done all those years.
• “How much experience do you have representing persons who are charged with DUI?”
You should leave the attorney’s office confident that you have spoken to someone who has real expertise and experience in DUI law.
• “Do you have real experience handling a case like mine?”
You do not want a lawyer who sees your case as a new experience that he or she would like to try. You want someone with the experience necessary to do the job for you.
• “How many cases have you taken to jury trial?”
Your case might need to go to trial in order to get the outcome you deserve and it is imperative that your attorney have trial experience if it is required.
• “Who in the office will actually be handling the case and what are their qualifications?”
Most attorneys work with a team. The lawyer that you might be speaking with might not actually be the person who does the bulk of the work.
• “Are you covered by a legal malpractice insurance policy?”
There is really no two ways about this. Your attorney should have malpractice insurance. Malpractice insurance is just as much insurance for you as it is for your lawyer.
• “Have you ever been disciplined by the State Bar?”
You do not want a lawyer with a long disciplinary rap sheet and you deserve to know if your lawyer has been disciplined in the past.
• “What are all the potential legal costs, including investigators, experts and the like?”
The lawyer should be honest with you about what your case might cost. You want to be secure that the lawyer is not luring you in with promises of unrealistically low fees and costs.
•”What challenges do you see in my case?”
The lawyer should be able to explain to you what he or she sees as the challenges you face and what they could mean for the ultimate result.
• “How will you keep me informed about my case?”
You must feel comfortable with the attorney’s commitment to communicate with you. You should know if you would really be kept informed of developments in your case.
• “What will be the final outcome of my case?”
A good attorney will not promise you a specific result, because it is always impossible to be certain how a case will turn out. Any other answer is dishonest and unethical. A good attorney can only promise to do his or her best job in defending you.
When you look for a potential defense attorney, tell him or her everything that you think is relevant, and then some. Something that you dismissed as a minor detail might make all the difference in your case. Most importantly, be honest. You have nothing to fear. Except in rare cases, if you are talking to an attorney face to face, even before he or she has decided to take your case, you already enjoy attorney-client privilege. This means that nothing you say could ever be used against you. If you ever have any doubt that your communication with the attorney is “privileged,” you should simply ask.