You or someone close to you has been arrested for drunk driving. Innocent or not, you know you’re a lot better off with an experienced DUI lawyer. So how do you find one? The suggestions provided below will help you find competent and ethical representation — and avoiding the alternatives. The best source for finding a good DUI lawyer, of course, is a referral — a recommendation from someone you trust. This may be a family member or friend who has faced DUI charges before, or it may be your family or business lawyer who can make educated inquiries. Perhaps the best source of referral is to ask a police officer, or go to a courthouse and ask a bailiff of court clerk: Who is the best you’ve seen? Who would you retain if you were arrested? One possibility that may come to mind is a referral service of the local Bar Association. This is generally not a good idea, as you will usually be referred to the next attorney on a list of members; the only requirement for inclusion on the list is the request to be placed on it. Failing a recommendation from a trusted source, the best approach is research on the internet. A lot can be discovered about DUI laws, evidence, procedures, penalties — and about lawyers who practice in this technical and complex field. There will, of course, be unending advertisements, self-promoting websites and, least useful, endless “directories” of DUI attorneys who have simply paid a lot of money to be included. One excellent resource is the membership list on the website of the National College for DUI Defense. This is a professional organization of over 800 attorneys nationwide who emphasize drunk driving defense in their practices. Although membership is no guarantee of competence and/or ethics, it is usually a good indication the lawyer is serious about this field. The College emphasizes the education of the Bar through seminars, most notably an intensive annual 3-day seminar at Harvard Law School, and has been recognized by the American Bar Association as the only organization authorized to Board-certify attorneys as “DUI Defense Specialists”, a process that is extremely demanding. In making the important decision of which attorney to have defend you, the following should be considered: a) DUI defense is a technical and highly specialized field: Does the lawyer handle drinking and driving cases only – or does he accept other types of criminal or civil cases as well? (This would be like a family doctor attempting brain surgery, cancer research and heart transplants.) What percentage of the attorney’s caseload consists of DUI Cases? b) Does the lawyer have access to technical expert witnesses in police procedures and blood/breath analysis? Will blood samples be reanalyzed by a lab? c) Does the attorney make promises as to the results he can get in the case? This is something no ethical attorney would do, as specific results are unpredictable. d) Are fees fully explained and set forth in a written contract? Is the fee simply an initial retainer, or is it all-inclusive? Do the fees cover such “extras” as the license suspension hearing, expert testimony, blood reanalysis, trial, subpoena costs, etc.? e) What is the lawyer’s rating with the Martindale-Hubbell International Directory of Attorneys? (The highest rating for competence and ethics is “A-V.”) f) Did the lawyer attend a reputable law school? Is he a member of the National College for DUI Defense? Is he Board-certified by the College? g) Have there been any State Bar complaints against the attorney? (Most State Bar Associations maintain disciplinary records online.)
When you have been arrested on criminal charges there need to be adequate evidence that a crime has been committed. When officers respond to an automobile accident they must perform a complete investigation in order to find someone criminally liable of charges. If you have been charged on quality traffic related charges these can result in major implications which is why you will require a criminal defense attorney who has considerable understanding of the law as it connects to the criminal charges against you and one who will aggressively battle to ensure your rights are secured. After you have been detained for a crime, there is a legal process you have to follow that usually includes the bail hearing. This determines if an individual is eligible for release and the arraignment where an offender finds out if there suffices evidence for the case to be expected over for trial. It is important to work with a criminal defense legal representative to ensure all the rights you are entitled to be secured. An expert legal representative will stay with you and direct you through the entire process if you call a criminal defense lawyer as quickly as possible. The objective an excellent legal representative will have throughout a bail hearing is to get their customer released, and your attorney will battle aggressively for you during the bail hearing on concerns such as- Do you present a flight threat- Indicating if you have strong ties to your community, task, and house- Speaking on your behalf that you do not position a threat to yourself or others- Has other relative talk on your behalf when jurisdiction allows During an arraignment hearing, the focus will be on identifying if there is sufficient proof to proceed onto a trial and this is where the offender is provided a kind that describes their legal rights. Often times an individual may not under stand the charges placed versus them and an experienced criminal defense lawyer can be there to clarify the charges for clear understanding. In addition, the judge will ask the offender to enter a plea throughout this time, and a criminal defense lawyer must encourage their client about the alternatives they have in locations such as entering a not guilty, guilty or no contest plea. There might be even the possibility where your lawyer and the prosecutor can work out a plea arrangement where your charges might be decreased or you can pay a fine rather of prison time. Being accused of a criminal offense can have a serious effect on your future in locations to include your career, monetary well being, domesticity, and freedom. Working with an extremely experienced criminal defense lawyer with an aggressive nature, comprehensive experience, expertise, and the determination to concentrate on leading you with the legal procedure and delivering a proper result on your behalf is what you require in a criminal defense attorney. This is the time you do not wish to feel that you are alone and having an educated criminal defense lawyer on your side will give you the peace of mind that you will have the ability to move forward in your life.
Finding the right attorney to handle your case can seem like a daunting task but if you keep in mind a few simple suggestions, finding the right professional for your case is more manageable than you think.
1. Don’t be afraid to shop around
Finding a good lawyer takes a bit more time than simply looking in the phonebook. One approach to locating an attorney is to obtain a referral from people in you community. Talking to others who have experienced the same legal problem is a good place to begin your search. Businesses who provide services in the legal area you are interested may also be able to offer you a referral. The attorney-client relationship is a unique one and it is important to remember that people will have different responses to an attorney’s working style than you might. Finding an attorney that you feel comfortable working with is your ultimate goal.
An attorney directory is another unique way of locating an attorney you might be interested in working with. Directory sites will generate a list of attorneys meeting the search criteria that you plug in. Many attorney directories exist on the web and finding a good directory is important so that you will not get overwhelmed in the beginning of your search. A good and comprehensive directory will offer you a profile that tells you a little about each attorney, their experience and where they went to school. Few directories, maintain certain criteria that an attorney must meet in order to be listed in their directory. Knowing a directory’s criteria will not only save you time in your search but will also allow you to find an attorney with the qualifications you are looking for.
Websites cannot guarantee the quality of legal representation you will receive and the decision to hire an attorney is a personal and important decision that should never be based solely on websites recommendations. However, knowing where to begin your search for an attorney and knowing a websites acceptance criteria can take a lot of the guesswork out of finding the best attorney for you. The result from an attorney search should be able to provide you with an attorney’s current position, where he/she went to law school and when he/she graduated, a short professional summary, his/her primary practice area and contact information. Lastly, You will want to utilize a directory that limits the amount of search results so that you can begin to contact some of the attorneys on their list. Do not be afraid to contact a few attorneys and to keep contacting attorneys until you find the one who is right for you and your unique situation.
2. Ask Questions
When searching for the right attorney you may have plenty of questions on your mind. Knowing which questions to ask can help finding a prospective attorney that much easier. It is important to remember most attorneys will not offer any legal advice prior to you retaining them, however that should not shy you away from asking plenty of other questions. Taking the time to make a short list of questions (think: a short interview) will certainly prove useful. The following are a few prospective questions you may want to consider asking:
– How many years of experience do you have handing cases similar to mine?
– What are the possible results from pursuing this matter?
– How do you keep clients informed of what is happening as the case proceeds?
– How long will you expect it to take to resolve this matter?
– Do you charge a flat or an hourly rate and how much?
– What’s a reasonable approximate figure for a total bill?
– Can members of your staff at a lower rate handle some of the work?
Many attorneys will be happy to answer these questions for you and may even offer to meet with you for a quick consultation. Getting a feel for the attorney’s practice is always a good idea.
3. Do your research
Once you have gathered a few names of attorneys and have even spoken to some it is important to find out a bit more information before you sign a retainer agreement.
Attorneys are held to certain standards and must maintain their licensees in good standing within their state of practice. Each state has its own agency that investigates or acts upon complaints filled against lawyers. Your state maintains current records of registration and discipline information for lawyers licensed to practice in the state and can confirm that a particular attorney is a member in good standing; at times a moderate cost is involved.
Certain websites, will not allow attorneys with a history of disciplinary action to register with their website. Finding a database of attorneys that has mandates this standard will help you as you begin your background search of prospective attorneys.
Choosing an attorney is a big task and being a smart consumer can help you get the legal representation you need. Many people feel nervous or intimidated when meeting lawyers, but you should remember that you are the one doing the hiring and it is important that you are satisfied with the representation you will receive. Starting with the above suggestions as well as paying attention to the personal chemistry between you and an attorney will start you on the right track to finding your ideal attorney.
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