Hiring a criminal defense lawyer is like buying a car. It’s an investment. When you make the decision to hire someone to defend your rights, you want to make sure you’re getting a professional that will do the job right and protect your interests. By taking a few steps, you can be sure that your case is in good hands.
Check credentials: Obtaining a list of attorneys that represent possible criminals is the first step. Contact these professionals. Ask them how many years they’ve been practicing law. How many cases have they won and lost? If the lawyer can’t give you this information for your specific situation, then find another one.
Make sure the lawyer has plenty of experience with the type of DUI you’re facing. A lawyer that specializes in drug crimes or prostitution cases may not be able to help you. If you have no choice but to hire a lawyer that specializes in a specific field, ask about the experience level of their past clients. The better-experienced lawyer will have proven results and you’ll know you’re in good hands.
Ask if the lawyer has tried your case before, especially if it’s an extremely complicated DUI. Some lawyers will try to lower your charges or run up the cost of the defense, but a serious defense lawyer will help you find out if this is a realistic option and weigh the pros and cons for your particular situation.
Another tip: If you are being represented by a public defender, you can still hire a DUI defense attorney, especially if the case involves a serious charge such as assault, kidnapping, or other violent crimes. By talking with your court-appointed lawyer about your case, you’ll be able to share your story in a way that protects your right to an attorney and is meaningful for the outcome of your case.
Make sure you are on a winning track: DUI charges are incredibly difficult to fight because they involve so many moving parts and have a high burden of proof. When you are facing an alcohol or drug offense, the police have to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. They need a great deal of evidence to do this, and it’s not always easy to obtain this evidence in court. In fact, many crimes that involve a small amount of alcohol and/or drugs, such as housebreaking, usually don’t require a more in-depth case than what you would expect at your local precinct.
Even if you think you’re ready to move forward with a DUI defense lawyer, be sure to talk with the officer handling your case. The officer will have access to all the paperwork and have the most current records available. Knowing this information will allow you to ask questions and make necessary changes to your defense in the event that you do wind up in court.
You should also be aware that the prosecution and defense have different sets of policies and practices when it comes to calling witnesses and using phone calls. Be sure that this is an area of your case that the lawyer is aware of and is willing to explore.
Seek out the best representation: You should also look at how much money the lawyer is charging and how long they’ve been practicing. Make sure that the firm you choose is up to date on all rules and regulations, that they’re very experienced, and that they have a solid reputation.
If the court hearing date approaches, ask to see and talk to people in the office who work on DUI cases. Even if they are not representing you in person, they can be helpful sources of advice.
A huge blow to the reputation of any criminal defense attorney is if you are not able to afford their services, said Winfield Law, Los Angeles. If you are sure that you can afford the lawyer, and he can’t get you bail or meet your immediate financial needs, it’s best to try another firm. While you might want to represent yourself at the first hearing, you don’t want to take a chance that the judge will decide your case incorrectly.