Imagine one night you are out at a bar with your friends. You have a good time, catching up on old stories, and start drinking one alcoholic beverage after another until you lose track of what you are doing. Then, you attempt to drive home and are noticeably drunk on the road. A police officer pulls you over and arrests you. Before you know it, you are facing a DUI charge.
In this situation, you would need to contact a DUI lawyer immediately. However, if you have never been in this situation before, you might not know how to choose a DUI lawyer.
Georgia had over 19,000 DUI cases in 2019, so it is possible that this can happen to you.
What should you be asking prospective lawyers? How do you know you found the right one?
This is your guide.
One of the first things that you should be looking for in a lawyer is DUI case experience. If a lawyer is going to take on your case and get you the best result possible, it is ideal to have some peace of mind that they have successfully done this before.
However, the experience should not just be about how long a lawyer has been in practice. If possible, you should ask to see some proof of successful cases and see if your lawyer has won a good percentage of them.
A lawyer with the right amount of experience increases your chances of not only getting the lightest DUI penalty possible but also the possibility that your case gets dismissed.
The next thing that you should factor in is where your lawyer practices from. Generally, you want a lawyer that works in the location where your DUI took place.
Why is this important? The first reason is that that lawyer will have more knowledge of the physical area as well as the local laws that an outside lawyer may not have.
Also, there is the fact that a lawyer in a certain area will tend to know every judge and prosecutor better than somebody from out of town would. That means that the lawyer can prepare your defense strategy around those tendencies and better understand how to negotiate your potential plea deal.
Also, it can save you money having a lawyer in the local area because you are likely to have to pay for less of their time than you would for somebody who has to come in from another town or state.
Unfortunately, not everybody has the money to hire the best lawyer possible for their case. Sometimes, people may find that they can get the same quality in a lawyer for less money somewhere else.
It is essential to ask a lawyer about potential fees for your case because you should be prepared in advance for how much you are going to have to end up paying. If you are a little tight on cash, this can give you time to think about whether you want to accept their services or come up with the money.
The average fee for a DUI lawyer tends to be around $1,900 if you accept a plea deal. However, if your case goes to trial, you could be looking at costs of about $4,000.
Everyone is going to have a different price range that they feel comfortable paying a lawyer for this situation, so make sure you know what yours is and what you are willing to pay an attorney.
Trust and Confidence
Sometimes, people rely on gut feelings about a person when choosing to accept certain services from them, and a lawyer is certainly no exception.
The first question you need to ask yourself here is if you trust your lawyer? Do you think they will try their hardest to win you the case, or do you think that they are just trying to get as much money as they can?
Another thing you can question is the skills of your lawyer to make you feel confident to represent them. You can wonder if they will be a good negotiator for a plea deal or a lighter sentence. Do they actually have the proper knowledge of this field and a good head on their shoulders?
Evaluate this carefully and make sure you are comfortable with the personality and mindset of your lawyer before hiring them.
Most attorneys are willing to give prospective clients a free consultation before being hired for the case. As someone that is accused of a DUI, take advantage of this opportunity to get to know your lawyer better.
Some people will hire a lawyer with urgency and not take the time to sit down with them before agreeing to do so. Others sometimes hire the first person to speak with them.
Consultations are your friend, and with most attorneys providing them, that does give you options to explore the local area and sit down with multiple attorneys to get the best feel for who is suited to represent you in this situation.
Reviews and References
One of the best ways that businesses tend to get new clients is by word of mouth and testimonials. See if you can find any reviews about the lawyer you are considering hiring online.
If there are none out there, perhaps think twice. If there are a lot of positive reviews from past clients saying that the lawyer came through for them, it increases the odds of this attorney being right for you.
Also, you may know someone in your social circle or in your family that has been charged with a DUI. This charge may not be the most comfortable thing to talk about with people, but if you ask around, you might be able to find somebody you know that has had a good experience with a DUI lawyer.
Choose a DUI Lawyer
With these five tips in mind, it should give you a much better guideline on how to choose a DUI lawyer. If you follow this, you will tremendously increase the odds of having a good experience.
Do you need representation? Contact us today.
Jarrett Maillet J.D., P.C.
210 E 31st St
Savannah, GA 31401