Choosing a Drunk Driving Lawyer
Whether you live in LA, Long Beach, Glendale or any nearby city, hiring the right drunk driving lawyer is critical to a good outcome. In the state of California, being charged with DUI (driving under the influence) can leave you facing serious consequences if convicted. Even a first offense can impact various aspects of your life more than you could imagine. You will have a criminal record, which may affect auto insurance premiums and make it difficult to secure employment. This is why it is important to weigh your options and not automatically choose the first attorney you come to in the Yellow Pages, or online.
While it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible, consider contacting a handful of lawyers to ensure you have the best possible legal guidance and representation. Within 10 days of being charged with DUI, you must request a hearing regarding the status of your driver's license. You can do this on your own, however having a highly experienced attorney by your side can dramatically improve the outcome. Ask family, friends, or co-workers who may have been in the same situation you are in at one time or another for their opinions. Search the Internet and pay particular attention to website pages regarding experience, how long the DUI lawyer has been in practice, what his/her credentials are, and more. You can often get an idea of a lawyer's skill and qualification simply by performing thorough research.Compile a List of DUI Attorneys
You won't have time to contact a dozen lawyers, but make a list that includes four or five you are most impressed with after researching and asking around. Most DUI lawyers in the Los Angeles area offer a free consultation, so give each attorney on your list a call for a brief conversation about your case. Talking to someone in person often makes it possible to "get a feel" as to whether that individual is right for you. After speaking with each lawyer on your list, narrow it down to one or two your felt most comfortable with, those that seem to have the most experience and proven track records when it comes to cases involving drunk driving. You can then set up an appointment with these attorneys for a more in-depth conversation regarding your case. What you are looking for is a lawyer who you feel you can trust, and who is honest and upfront - not an attorney who promises you the moon before even being thoroughly familiar with your case. Because you will likely spend considerable time talking to your attorney, a good rapport (someone you feel you can easily talk to) is important.Should You Interview Potential Lawyers, and What Questions Should You ask?
Interviewing or questioning a lawyer you are considering for your DUI case is the only way you will truly know how effective he or she may be. Ask questions such as:
- How many DUI cases do you typically handle over a one-year period?
- How many years have you been in criminal law practice?
- Have you worked with the prosecutor in my case on previous occasions?
- How often do the DUI cases you take go to trial?
- Which professional organizations or bar associations do you belong to?
- Is a large portion of your criminal defense practice devoted to representing DUI clients?
You may also want to ask the attorney about where he/she attended law school, what year the lawyer graduated, even whether it is standard practice to negotiate plea agreements with prosecutors or how often the attorney appears at the courthouse where your case will be heard. Having an attorney who knows and is familiar with lawyers in the prosecutor's office may also be beneficial to your case.
Ultimately, you want to learn as much about a potential DUI lawyer as possible, so that you know you are getting the best possible legal representation.
If you have been arrested for drunk driving, contact The Justice Firm immediately for a free consultation at 310-914-2444.