You’ve been busted for driving under the influence, and it feels like the end of the world. A combination of hefty fines, jail time, and license suspension is on the table. And you need a good DUI attorney who can negotiate reduced punishment or even make the charges go away. But finding one is not so easy. Great law firms with experienced DUI lawyers like The Hogle Law Firm in Mesa are hard to come by.
However, this post will help you get the best attorney your money can get. Here are some questions to ask your potential DUI lawyer before signing that dotted line.
Question #1: What Experience Do You Have Taking DUI Cases to Trial?
With DUI penalties becoming increasingly severe, you want an experienced lawyer on your case. Ask how many DUI trials the attorney has handled in the past year and the average outcome. An honest lawyer will share accurate details, leaving out any information that may identify the victims.
The best lawyer for the job is the one with proven criminal and DUI experience. That’s because DUI cases are criminal offenses and are usually followed by other criminal charges such as possession of dangerous drugs, criminal property damage, and more. So, hiring a DUI lawyer with criminal defense experience is a huge plus.
Question #2: Who Will Be Working on My Case?
Law firms tend to hire graduate lawyers and place them in a team of experienced attorneys. So, the super-experienced guy who talks to you on the first day might not be the lawyer who represents you in court.
To avoid this trap, ask to talk to the person who will handle your case. This is the guy you should ask question #1, before deciding to go forward with the firm. You can also request to talk to another lawyer within the firm if the first one doesn’t fit the bill.
Question #3: What Defense Strategy Do You Have for My Case?
Usually, a DUI lawyer will ask to see all documentation related to the case. That includes the police report, witness statements, and alcohol blood test results. With this information, the attorney can try to find and explore weaknesses in the case leveled against you by the state. This can end in reduced penalties or dropped charges.
Still, it’s worth noting that your lawyer might not have straight answers to your issues on the first appointment. They might need to take a closer look before finding any loopholes that are worth pursuing. And, the results of this investigation might not always be positive. The attorney may advise you to plead guilty or no contest if the odds are stacked against you.
Question #4: What Is the Most Likely Outcome of My DUI Case?
Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer to this question. But an experienced lawyer should know what to expect from the prosecutor and judge on your case. They will also consider the evidence and possible civil suit that might follow the DUI charge to predict the outcome of your case.
However, a good attorney will advise you to voluntarily fit your car with an ignition interlock device and prove you have a family. That will send a strong message that incarceration is not the best option, as your dependents will suffer unnecessarily. However, this does not always work.
Question #5: Will I Automatically Lose My Driving Privilege?
No, but that depends on what you do after the arrest. Most states use an administrative driver’s license that gets suspended automatically after a DUI charge is leveled against you. But they also allow a small window for people to appeal or seek a hearing for the suspension. That’s why it’s super important to contact a DUI lawyer shortly after the arrest.
If you miss the opportunity to appeal, your driving license is automatically suspended for a certain period. And there’s little you can do about it. Still, appealing the suspension does not guarantee success. At best, you might get a restricted driving license that allows you to drive to school or work then back home. Nothing more.
If the court decides you are a threat to the community when driving, you might get a 3-year suspension on your driving license. Getting caught driving with a restriction can land you jail time, a fine, or both. But things can be much worse if you get busted driving under the influence on an active license suspension.