1.6 million people across the United States are disciplined for a DUI every year.
While the circumstances surrounding each of those cases vary, the consequences people face are similarly grave. Steep fines, license suspension, community service time, lengthy jail sentences...
Given those repercussions, which seemingly get more serious every year, being on the wrong side of a DUI is the last place you want to be.
But what if you're already there? What can you do to get yourself a favorable outcome?
The absolute best thing you can do is to hire DUI lawyers, pick the best one, and fight your case.
There are a lot of DUI lawyers out there and not all of them will handle your case with the same care. To get the best possible defense, we share with you 10 questions you should ask your prospective attorney to determine if they're the right fit.
1. How Many Years Have You Been a Practicing Attorney?
There's no denying the value of experience when it comes to picking DUI lawyers. An experienced lawyer will know how to navigate the legal system, how to work out favorable deals, and will know a number of prosecutors and judges who may be working your case.
While every lawyer needs to get their start somewhere, you don't want their start to be on your DUI case.
The stakes are too high.
2. How Much Experience Do You Have With DUI Cases?
Just because a lawyer has been working for a long time doesn't mean that they know their way around a DUI case. The legal field is a complex one and each discipline it encompasses requires a unique set of skills you'll want your attorney to have practice with.
That's why it's important to determine whether or not your attorney regularly defends DUI cases or if your case is more of a stretch assignment for their legal expertise.
3. Is There Anything About My Case That Feels Unique?
DUI lawyers you engage might have impressive track records defending their clients. That's a good thing.
But is there something about your case that might make your results vary?
If there is, chances are your attorney will let you know since the unique factors surrounding your case will likely weigh into their decision on whether or not to take you on as a client. If they make no mention of your case being out of the ordinary, it's worth asking the question anyway.
4. How Often Do Your Cases Go to Trial?
Many DUI cases are settled outside of court. This is almost always a favorable occurrence for all parties involved.
Understanding what percentage of your prospective lawyer's cases settle can give you insight into the kinds of deals they're capable of generating.
5. Would You Be Willing to Take My Case to Trial?
Just because most cases settle with favorable deals doesn't mean that all cases do. If your case isn't going right during negotiations, will your lawyer be willing to defend you in court?
What about if you disagree on an offer being presented? Will your lawyer defer to your wishes and defend you during a trial?
These questions are an important part of getting your expectations in the right place.
6. Have You Been Disciplined By The State Bar?
Attorney's must be accredited by their state's bar in order to practice. When your attorney commits act's that are considered out of line with legal standards, they may end up getting disciplined (suspended from practicing, for example) or disbarred by the state altogether.
Ask your attorney if they've ever been disciplined by their state. If they have, ask them for what.
Understanding what kind of unprofessional acts your lawyer has committed in the past can help you form a more complete opinion on whether or not to work with them.
7. Who Will Actually Be Handling My Case?
Just because you talk to the head of a law firm during a consultation doesn't mean that they're going to get involved in handling your case.
Find out if your case is going to get delegated to a more junior lawyer and, if so, ask about their qualifications and if you can meet them.
8. How Will We Stay in Touch During My Case?
Battling a DUI can be a scary time. That's why it's important that you feel comfortable contacting your lawyer and that your lawyer be proactive in keeping you updated on your case.
Try and get a feel for how open the lines of communication will be between you and your lawyer. If they seem open to answering your questions whenever you have some to ask, that's a good thing.
If they don't, you'll want to keep looking.
9. What Should I Expect for Costs?
There's no doubting the fact that money is a deciding factor when hiring DUI lawyers.
In addition to their rate, DUI lawyers might engage private investigators and other 3rd party help to assist with your case. Those engagements may lead to your legal services tab running up, which could cause financial hardship.
Try to paint as clear a picture of what you can afford for your attorney and have them do the same as far as what they charge.
Neither party should be surprised when it comes to money.
10. What Do You Foresee As the Outcome of My Case?
This is perhaps the most important question you can ask your attorney.
Because if your attorney's vision for your case doesn't align with your expectations, then you know whether or not they're worth working with.
While you may need to adjust your expectations to the reality of the situation. When you first start interviewing attorneys, see if you can find a credible one that believes in your case.
There's no point in paying someone to get you a bad result.
Wrapping Up: 10 Questions to Ask DUI Lawyers
If you're involved in a DUI and are looking for perspective DUI lawyers to interview in South Carolina, look no further than our team at De Bruin Law Firm.
At De Bruin, our team of legal experts has been getting our clients favorable results for their DUI offenses for years.
Let us do the same for you.