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5 Things to Consider Before Hiring a DUI Lawyer

Feb 15, 2022

If you were recently arrested for driving under the influence, it's important to have an experienced lawyer at your side. Not every attorney will have the experience and expertise you need, though.

Here are five factors to consider before choosing a DUI lawyer. With these tips, you can build a stronger DUI defense strategy. Your lawyer could help you avoid jail time or a serious fine.

Trying to defend yourself, on the other hand, could lead to life-altering charges.

Get help to reduce your sentence! Start your search for the best DUI defense attorney with these tips today.

1. Credentials

First, visit your local bar association website or the Martindale-Hubbel directory. Then, start making a list of the best DUI defense lawyers in the area.

Make sure each lawyer on your list is licensed to practice law in your state. You can use the local bar association website to make sure their license is up-to-date. If it's not, scratch them off your list.

Some laws and procedures can vary based on where you're charged. Make sure the DUI lawyer you hire has experience practicing law in the area. Otherwise, they might not know which laws and procedures are relevant to your case. For example, the DUI diversion programs vary from county to county. Make sure you hire a lawyer familar with the RIDR program in Hillsborough County, the DROP Program in Pinellas County and the DETER program in Sarasota/Manatee County.

Learn more about each lawyer's credentials, too.

A prosecutor might argue your BAC levels were beyond the legal limit at the time of your arrest. Consider the officer that conducted the breathalyzer test. Did they follow the right procedures?

If not, your DUI defense attorney could argue the test wasn't administered using the proper protocols. They might argue the test was inaccurate as a result. Your lawyer could get that piece of evidence thrown out completely.

If the prosecutor's entire case depended on the breathalyzer test results, your lawyer could get the whole case thrown out.

Before choosing a DUI defense attorney, ask about their training. Find someone with credentials that are relevant to your defense.

2. Experience and Expertise

It's not enough to find a lawyer with credentials you can count on. If you want to build the best defense for a DUI, consider the lawyer's experience. 

First, look for a lawyer who has practiced law for years. They've likely learned a lot within that time. They can leverage what they learned when building your DUI defense.

Ask how often they handle DUI defenses, too. You might find a lawyer who only occasionally handles DUIs. They might not have enough hands-on experience to handle your case.

Instead, choose a lawyer who primarily focuses in DUI defenses.

Ask how many DUI cases they've handled overall. Consider how many cases they've handled in the past year, too. You don't want a lawyer who took a break for a decade.

Make sure your lawyer is up-to-date with the latest laws, cases, and procedures that are relevant to your case. Their up-to-date expertise could benefit your defense. 

Finding someone with years of experience will give you peace of mind. 

3. Trial-Ready

Some lawyers are apprehensive about entering a courtroom. Before choosing a DUI defense attorney, schedule a consultation appointment with a few options. Then, pay attention to how the DUI lawyer speaks.

Do they sound confident? Do they hold themselves up with ease?

If they seem nervous or struggle to communicate, scratch that lawyer off your list. The best DUI defense lawyer will sound confident and convincing. If they're not confident alone in a room with you, they'll struggle in front of a judge and jury.

Some lawyers will even settle a case out of court just to avoid a trial.

Make sure the DUI lawyer you choose has your best interests in mind, not their own.

This requires a careful balance on your part. You want a lawyer who tries a few cases a year.  Trying none is a sign they are rolling over and not aggressive enough. Trying a lot of cases may be a sign they do not get any deals from the State or are too aggressive.

4. Their Track Record

About two in three people will get involved in a drunk driving crash in their lifetime. Chances are, your DUI defense attorney has handled a similar case before. Ask them how many DUI defense cases they've handled.

Then, ask them about the outcome for each case. Were they able to help their client avoid jail time? If not, were they able to get the initial charges reduced?

Were they able to get the charges dismissed completely?

Ask about their most recent cases, too.

It's important to find a lawyer who can prove their abilities. If they don't have a strong track record, scratch them off your list.

5. A Strong Reputation

You can learn more about each DUI lawyer on your list by speaking with people who were once in your shoes. Ask if you can speak with some of their recent clients. Then, ask each client about their experience with the lawyer.

Was the lawyer able to get their charges cleared? If not, what was the outcome of that client's case?

Ask each client how the lawyer held themselves, too. Were they able to build a strong DUI defense strategy? Ask about the DUI process to learn what to expect.

You can also read reviews online. Check the lawyer's Better Business Bureau and Google My Business listings. One or two negative reviews are normal.

If you find an abundance of negative reviews, however, scratch that lawyer off your list.

Choose a lawyer who already has a strong professional reputation. They'll strive to maintain that reputation by building a strong defense on your behalf. 

Build Your Defense: 5 Factors to Consider Before Hiring a DUI Lawyer

You don't have to hire the first DUI lawyer you find online. Instead, keep these factors in mind. By prioritizing these tips, you can find the best defense for your DUI case.

Finding the right lawyer could make or break your case.

Want to put your DUI behind you? We're here to help. 

Contact our team today to get started.

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