If you have been charged with a DUI, choosing the right DUI lawyer to provide you with legal representation can make all the difference between getting severe punishments and reaching the best outcome possible for your case. It is important that you act quickly to find an attorney quickly, but you should also take the time to research the different DUI lawyers in your area to find the best fit for you. In this article, we will discuss some of the most important steps you should take when looking for the right criminal defense attorney.
Our legal team at DUI Lawyers 24/7 is ready to provide you with legal advice for your case. Our law firm has a track record of getting the best possible result for our clients in DUI cases both simple and complex. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation.
Why You Should Hire a DUI Lawyer
DUI charges are serious and need to be handled appropriately. You will face harsh penalties for DUI including license suspension, high fines and court costs, and even jail time. You might also find yourself having to deal with difficulties at work, pursuing future employment opportunities, and in your personal relationships. If you are tried and convicted you will have a permanent entry on your criminal record and a mark against you on your driving record as well.
You may not need an experienced attorney for certain legal matters, but for a DUI charge, the stakes are too high to go without one. The law surrounding criminal DUI charges can be complex, and a lawyer will know the best way to approach your case while saving you from wasting time pursuing the wrong opportunities.
A talented DUI attorney will know which aspects of your charge they are most likely to successfully challenge, such as issues with the initial stop, misuse of breathalyzer equipment, or improper arrest procedure. They will also be able to tell you if the case against you is stacked in the favor of the prosecution after your arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol, and can negotiate a plea bargain that is beneficial for you.
Look For An Attorney in the County You Are Being Charged in
When you start your search for a private attorney to work your case, make sure that you stay local. DUI laws may be the same statewide, but an attorney in your area will have a deeper knowledge of the local criminal court system. This can be particularly important as different judges may interpret the same laws in different ways, and you will be able to build your case around the tendencies of the judge overseeing your trial.
Having extensive knowledge of the legal scene in your county is one of the greatest tools at your disposal when fighting your DUI charges. Be sure to ask your lawyer if they have worked with the judge assigned to your case before, and find out what they know that can help you.
Questions to Ask a DUI Attorney
Most DUI attorneys will offer a free, in-person consultation to look over your case before you hire them. Use this as an opportunity to ask them questions to help you decide if they are the right lawyer for you.
Ask About Their Experience and Background
This is your chance to get to know the attorney before you commit to working with them, so make sure you ask about their background. You will want to cover the basics, such as how long they have practiced law and how many cases they have managed as well as their current caseload.
You should also ask about any further training they have received that is specific to DUI law or memberships in groups that certify DUI knowledge such as the National College for DUI Defense. This is also a good time to ask about specifics including whether they typically negotiate plea deals or tend to go to trial, what experience they have in investigating cases they defend, and the number of trials they have defended in court recently.
Ask About Your Legal Options and Potential Defense Strategies
Remember that this meeting isn't just an interview for your attorney, it is a case consultation to look over your DUI charges. After reviewing the facts surrounding your arrest you should be sure to ask what their recommended defense strategy is. They may identify specific points of your case that they feel can be argued in your favor, such as improper arrest procedures or misused breathalyzer equipment. In these cases, you should ask them about their familiarity with the equipment used and what their experience is in fighting against the evidence they provide.
Ask About Your License Suspension
When you are charged with a DUI, you will also be handed a license suspension before you even make it into court. Many DUI attorneys will help you handle the administrative side of getting your suspension rescinded in addition to fighting your criminal charges. Ask the attorney what they will do for your license suspension if they will manage your license hearing and if you are eligible for a permit or occupational license during your suspension period.
Ask About Their Pricing
Different lawyers will charge differently for their services. You should leave your consultation with a clear understanding of the cost breakdown for their services. If they don't volunteer this information to you, be sure to ask. Be sure you know exactly what you will be paying for if you choose to work with them.
It can be very common to meet with a member of the office staff rather than the attorney during an initial consultation, as most good lawyers are very busy. Don't be worried about this and treat this meeting just the same, but ask who will be handling your case if you choose to work with the law firm.
There is a lot of information to go over during your case consultation, so you should ensure you are fully prepared for the meeting. This will include bringing any documentation regarding your case such as court documents, bail papers, your arrest report, and anything else you have been given that relates to your charges.
You should also be sure to down your list of questions before heading into your meeting. You will be presented with a significant amount of information, much of it new to you, and you can be certain the lawyer will have questions for you as well. It is easy in such situations to get distracted and forget something, and writing it down will help you leave with all of the information you wanted.
Remember that this is your chance to determine if this particular lawyer is the right one to represent you in your case. Be sure you are comfortable working with them going forward. If they don't answer questions to your satisfaction, try to dodge anything you ask, or seem hesitant in supplying you with answers, it may be in your best interest to walk away and find another.
Discuss How Strong They Think Your Case Is
DUI attorneys need to fully understand your case, including the charges you face and the evidence being brought against you, in order to give you proper feedback on your legal options. This may seem obvious, but lying to your attorney is always a bad idea.
Once you have given them the information they need, you can ask for advice on whether they think you should plea guilty, negotiate a plea bargain, or go to trial. Take the time to pinpoint what factors of your case are beneficial to you versus which work against you.
Learn More: What Can a DUI Lawyer Do For Your Case?
How Much Does a DUI Lawyer Cost?
Hiring a DUI lawyer often seems like an expensive choice, but weighed against the financial burden you might take on from losing your driver's license, more expensive insurance premiums, heavy fines, and possible time in jail, it may actually be the cheaper option.
The majority of Kane County DUI attorneys will bill with either a standard fee or an hourly rate. This is fairly self-explanatory: they either charge you for every hour they spend on your case, or they charge a flat fee to cover the work they will put in.
These attorney fees may not cover every expense related to your case, however, so make sure you ask for what specifically is included in their rates, if they can provide an estimate for any additional expenses, and what type of payment options they offer. You should also be sure to see if they are willing to offer payment plans to lessen the upfront financial burden. When you leave your meeting with the attorney you should have a complete understanding of the costs associated with hiring them.
Work with an Experienced DUI Attorney at DUI Lawyers 24/7
DUI cases carry high stakes, and choosing the right DUI defense lawyer in Illinois to work with can make all the difference in the outcome. By following the above advice, you should be well equipped to make the best decision for your particular needs.
At DUI Lawyers 24/7, our drunk driving defense attorneys are ready to provide you with a range of legal services to get you the best possible result in your case. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation to find out how we can help you!