Wednesday, November 2, 2016, AM | Leave Comment
Now that you have been arrested for driving under the influence by the police, you need to quickly find yourself a competent lawyer so that a proper defense can be made.
You need to meet and interview the lawyers that you have shortlisted so that you are assured that you have made the best choice possible.
The objective of the meeting should be to get to know the attorney’s credentials, determine if you are comfortable with him, and also to discuss what options you have and chalk out your possible strategies.
To make your meeting productive it is advisable to bring along all the documentation that you have relating to the charge. This should preferably include papers relating to your bail and the police report, including any paperwork given to you by the police, and most importantly a list of the critical questions that you need to ask.
If you have fixed an appointment with a large legal firm, it is more than likely that your meeting will take place with the office staff rather the lawyer himself, as he will be too busy.
The main questions that you should ask are regarding:
Background & Experience
When you first meet the DUI lawyer, you should try and learn about his educational and professional background as well as experience in handling DUI / DWI charges.
You can quiz him about where he acquired his law degree from, what professional associations he is affiliated to, how long has he been practicing criminal law, what is his experience of DUI or DWI cases, how familiar is he with the courthouse where your case will be heard, any experience with the prosecutor concerned, etc.
You can ask him about his take on negotiating plea agreements, and also how frequently does he take DUI cases to trial.
It is best to engage a lawyer who is an expert in DUI cases and who is familiar with the prosecutor office attorneys. Ensure that the attorney you hire has a very good reputation, as it is more likely that he will be able to negotiate for you significantly better terms.
Often this can mean the difference between spending time in jail and doing community service, according to the Houston DWI lawyer website.
After giving the lawyer opportunity to understand the case, you can ask him if he would recommend pleading guilty, whether there is a possibility of a plea agreement, or whether he recommends going for a trial.
Ask specifically about what is in your favor and what is not and what to expect at the various steps of the process; arraignment, motion filing, and hearing, as well as disposition and trial.
Case management refers to the description of the logistics for handling the case. You can ask who exactly will be representing you and whether there will be others who will also be involved in the case. Find out whom to call or meet if you have any questions, their preferred mode of contact, and what is the response time you can expect.
Ask if the lawyer will give you regular updates and what the updates will typically contain.
It can end up being really expensive if you are arrested for a DUI offense. Apart from potentially losing your driving license, more costly insurance, DUI School, jail time, and fines, you will also spend a fair amount on hiring a lawyer.
Ask whether you will be billed by the hour or on a flat basis, and what is included in the rate and what is specifically excluded. Ask if you can get an estimate of the probable expenses, and how they like to get paid.
Also find out how much money will be refunded if the agreement is terminated, and whether they provide an extended payment plan.
After having met and interviewed a number of lawyers, you should compare your notes and get ready to hire the one that you have established to be the best possible choice.
However, before you actually signed on the dotted line, it is best to ask for some references that you can get in touch with and ask about their overall experience of working with the lawyer. Be sure to ask them about the strengths and weaknesses so that you can prepare yourself accordingly.
James Miles is the chief legal correspondent of a reputed auto journal. He is also associated with the Houston DWI lawyer website that ranks the best among customers for five years in succession, according to a popular poll.