A DUI can come out of nowhere. One minute you’re enjoying dinner and a few glasses of wine, and the next you’re in the drunk tank.
In the United States, around 1.5 million people get arrested for DUI annually. That means a lot of work for criminal defense attorneys across the country.
Driving under the influence is a serious offense that has a damaging impact on your life. Aside from fines and probation, you now have a stain on your criminal record. It’s important you hire a successful DUI attorney to protect your rights and help get your life back on track.
However, finding the right lawyer is easier said than done. Where should you turn and what should you be looking for?
Let’s go over some tips for finding the right representation after a DUI arrest.
Seek Out Personal Referrals
If you know someone who has gone through a DUI arrest, ask who they used and what the outcome was. When it comes to attorney services, a personal referral gives you an insightful glimpse into the type of representation you’ll receive.
You’ll get a detailed account of the attorney’s manner and the amount of diligence they brought to a case similar to yours. Of course, every case is a little different, but gaining an understanding of the process will help ease your anxiety.
You’ll also be able to get an idea of how much you’ll spend with a particular attorney.
If you know any other lawyers, you can ask them for a referral as well. It doesn’t matter if they practice a different type of law. Attorneys have a tight network of professional relationships.
This is a great resource, as an attorney can look at your situation and know exactly what type of attorney to refer you to.
Utilize Online Resources
Maybe you want to keep a DUI arrest as quiet as possible. In this case, there are a number of online resources you can use for finding a good criminal defense attorney in your area.
You should start with your state and local bar association websites. Many attorneys advertise there, and you can get an online referral pretty easily. These websites also connect you with other lawyer resources and directories, so use them as a starting point.
You can also try the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Here you can learn about local attorneys and get other useful information about DUIs and criminal defense.
It’s very important to work with an attorney who practices law in the city you were charged. They know the local laws and have relationships with other local attorneys and judges.
That said, you may want to go directly to local attorney websites. When searching, always look for signs that they have experience with criminal law and DUI cases. Birocco Law in Virginia is a great example of what you’re looking for.
Look at Online Reviews
While you’re doing research online after a DUI arrest, you want to look at online reviews of any attorney you’re considering. Reviews give you a little more insight into the quality of work and success rate of a lawyer.
When people have a good experience, they like to tell others. Online reviews are now a big player in the decision-making process of consumers looking for services.
Keep in mind that every legal case is different. Some people may post a negative review simply because they didn’t get the legal outcome they wanted. The main thing you want to pay attention to is if an attorney has frequent negative reviews directly related to their professionalism or customer service.
Reviews also give you a better idea of the process you’ll be going through with an attorney. Knowing this information provides some peace of mind when starting your legal case.
Consider Their Experience
This is one of the most important things to consider when finding an attorney after a DUI arrest. It’s essential you work with someone who’s trained and experienced in DUI-related cases.
Your attorney should be licensed and have plenty of experience taking DUI cases to court. Remember, there are many areas of criminal law and they all differ quite a bit. The attorney you hire should specialize in traffic and drunk driving crimes.
DUI laws vary from state to state. Your attorney needs to have an intimate knowledge of your state’s laws. Experience is key because the knowledge gained from navigating the DUI process over and over gives an attorney insight beyond simply understanding the general laws.
If a lawyer has extensive experience with DUI, they’ll want to advertise this. This is something you should look for right away when looking at an attorney’s credentials.
Schedule a Consultation
Once you’ve narrowed down your candidates, it’s time to go talk to them. Most criminal law attorneys offer a free consultation. These are typically about 30 minutes to an hour long, so you need to have a list of questions prepared beforehand.
When you meet an attorney face to face, you’ll get a sense of whether they’re a good fit for you. Pay attention to how their office operates and if they seem overwhelmed with work. The last thing you want is to hire an attorney who barely has the time to devote to your case.
You should also ask the following questions:
- What’s your background and track record?
- How much do you charge?
- What will your approach be for my case?
- How long will the process take?
- Will I be working directly with you or another attorney in your office?
When consulting with an attorney, make sure you tell them all the details of your DUI arrest. Every aspect is important, so don’t leave anything out. Even the tiniest detail may change your attorney’s approach.
Getting the Best Representation After a DUI Arrest
After the consultation, hopefully you’ll hire a great attorney for your case. If you don’t feel good about your meeting, try someone else. There are probably many criminal attorneys in your city, so you have options.
Finding the right legal representation has an enormous impact on the outcome of your case, so use the tips above and narrow down your options.
If you want to start your search now, use our database to find lawyers in your area.