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Top 10 Questions to Ask Your DUI Attorney

If you’ve been charged with a DUI, finding a good DUI attorney is the most important decision you’ll make during this stressful time. Most DUI attorneys will offer a free initial consultation. Make the most of this opportunity by coming prepared with all the details of your case, and a list of questions.

Here are the top 10 questions to ask your DUI attorney:

1. What Training as a DUI Specialist Do You Have? Ask if the lawyer is certified by any organizations such as the NCDD (National College for DUI Defense). Does the attorney have training from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in administering Standardized Field Sobriety Tests? An important part of your case may hinge on whether the police officer conducted your roadside tests correctly. Has the lawyer received training on using the breathalyzer machine? At your meeting, look for certificates for these and other DUI-related training, which should be hanging on the lawyer’s office wall.

2. What is Your Experience in Representing DUI clients? How many years has the attorney been practicing DUI law and on how many cases in a typical year? What is the lawyer’s trial experience? Ask what percentage of the lawyer’s caseload is focused on DUIs—it should be close to 100%. A lawyer who specializes in DUI cases will be up to date on anything that has changed in DUI laws.

3. What is Your Success Rate? How many cases has the attorney been able to plea bargain down to reckless driving, or to actually have the charges dismissed?

4. What Other DUI-related Experience Do You Have? Has the attorney ever worked on DUI cases as a prosecutor, police officer, or public defender? Ask if the lawyer has ever gone with a police officer on a DUI ride-along.

5. Are You Familiar With the Local Court System? Make sure the lawyer practices in your county and knows the prosecutors who could be handling your case. Knowing what kinds of plea deals a prosecutor normally offers, for instance, could make a big difference in your case.

6. Can You Tell Me About the Last DUI Case You Won, and How? Your lawyer should have a very recent local case that was successful. Ask when the attorney’s next case will be. DUI lawyers whose practice is devoted to DUI cases should be expected to have one or more DUI trials on their schedule within a week or so of your interview. Ask how often the lawyer takes cases to trial.

7. What are Your Fees? Ask if the lawyer charges a flat fee or an hourly rate—a flat fee is more common for DUI lawyers. Will there be extra costs, such as expert witness fees? Ask for the details on how you will be billed.

8. Will You Represent Me at the DMV? When you are charged with a DUI, you also have a separate procedure with the DMV regarding the suspension of your driver’s license. You may want the same lawyer to handle your DMV and criminal cases. Ask your lawyer how this is handled in their fees.

9. What May Happen In My Case? Ask the lawyer, based on the facts of your case, how it will most likely be handled. Would your case be expected to go to trial, or is a plea agreement possible? Could there be any evidence in your case that should be suppressed?

10. Who Will Handle My Case? You want to be sure that your case gets the attention it needs. Find out who will do the work on your case and represent you in court, especially if the lawyer works for a large firm.

Get as much information as you can in the initial meetings. This will help your case to move ahead smoothly with the DUI lawyer you choose, and you’ll be closer to a successful ending to this unfortunate chapter of your life.

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