What to Look For in a DUI Defense Attorney
Being charged with a DUI can be a scary thing. Especially if you don’t know the first thing about hiring a DUI attorney.
If you or someone you know is in need of an experienced DUI defense firm such as Romano Law, P.C., keep reading to find out the key things you should look for when choosing an attorney to represent you in court.
What Makes a Good DUI Defense Attorney?
1. Local Experience
Hiring an attorney that is located in the region you were arrested will ensure that your defense team is well-versed in the state and local laws regarding DUI charges and convictions. This is especially true if you find a DUI attorney that has experience in the courthouse you are set to attend for your hearings. Familiarity with specific courtrooms, and their judges, can give you an edge.
2. Good Communication
You need to be fully aware of everything that goes on with your DUI case. And, while it can sometimes take a long time to move through the court system, one small slip up, such as a missed deadline, can ruin your entire defense.
Make sure the attorney you hire is available through multiple channels (such as phone and email), has quick response times, and provides regular status updates.
3. Attorneys’ Fees
Unless you have been appointed an attorney by the state, you will have to pay an attorney to handle your DUI case. And, it is no exaggeration to say that lawyers are expensive.
Make sure to ask your attorney many questions during the initial consultation, including their fee schedule. Some attorneys require retainers, some charge by the hour, and some even require you pay for paralegal fees as well. Knowing beforehand whether you can afford the attorney you want to work with helps to prevent future disputes.
4. Legal Staff
It is normal for successful DUI attorneys to have a large staff on hand. During your consultation, make sure to clarify who will be working on your case along with the head attorney. This way you know who to contact at all times, and who will be accessing your files.
After all, confidentiality laws surrounding your legal case bind every attorney. This means your attorney cannot share information regarding your case with anyone other than those qualified or approved by you. This even means family members that inquire about your case cannot receive updates unless approved by you.
5. Areas of Practice
Many times a DUI attorney is listed as a criminal defense attorney. And, while most defense attorneys are capable of defending those charged with DUIs, it is crucial you find an attorney with direct experience with DUI cases.
Here are the different types of defense attorneys and their specialties:
- State Criminal Defense Attorney. These lawyers specialize in state law. They typically take on cases like murders, family disputes, robberies, property crimes, and serious traffic violations like a DUI. This is the best type of attorney to hire when facing DUI charges.
- Federal Criminal Defense Attorney. These attorneys have experience with cases such as U.S. Constitution violations, patent cases, bankruptcies, embezzlement charges, and serious drug crimes. Though they have the skill set to defend DUI offenders, this is not where their specialties lie.
- Public Defender. If you cannot afford to hire an attorney to represent you in court, the state appoints a public defender to defend you as part of your constitutional rights. These lawyers are paid for by the general public and are only granted to those who meet specific low-income thresholds.
In the end, appointing the right DUI attorney is important if you want to receive the best defense possible and the lightest sentence available should you be convicted. Do your research before hiring a DUI lawyer and make sure you feel confident in their ability to represent you.