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“Do I Need a Lawyer for a DUI?” Yes! 4 Reasons Why

Did you just get arrested for a DUI? You’re probably getting a lot of unsolicited advice. Well-intentioned friends and relatives may be telling you how to plead and whether to hire a lawyer. You’re probably hearing about someone’s cousin’s friend, who is a bankruptcy lawyer, or how someone else’s lawyer did something amazing to keep a DUI off her record.

Some of these people may have great advice! But unless they’re actually a Montana DUI lawyer, I suggest you also talk to one of us. Even if you don’t end up hiring a DUI attorney, getting a free consultation — which we offer — can help you figure out your options. Here’s why you should talk to a Montana DUI defense lawyer:

1. Your Police Record and Future Are at Stake

Getting a DUI is scary on multiple levels. It can be an unpleasant awakening to a drinking problem, or it can be frightening because you’re innocent. It’s mostly intimidating because it has such long-term effects. In Montana, a DUI is on your record forever and cannot be taken off.


Having a misdemeanor or felony on your record can affect your chances of getting the job and apartment you want. A DUI can be expensive in terms of legal fees and car insurance if your carrier drops you. If you lose your driver’s license for a year, are you ready to get groceries by bike or public transit? Can someone give you a ride to work? It’s inconvenient to say the least. I’m not trying to beat a dead horse — you probably already feel guilty and ashamed. The best thing you can do for your future is to get treatment if you need it, and hire a good DUI lawyer.

2. You Probably Don’t Know Legal Particulars

Sure, it’s called “the legal system,” but a more accurate name is “a complex labyrinth designed to make you weep from confusion.” The ins and outs of DUI law are not something you can pick up from watching The Good Wife. (You’re more likely to get misinformation and dramatization.) If this is your first arrest, you’re even more likely to be confused and overwhelmed. Either work with a public defender or hire a DUI attorney, but don’t represent yourself in a trial. Without a good lawyer, you may have to pay higher bails and be subject to pre-trial supervision and alcohol monitoring, or several other conditions that an experienced attorney may get waived for you.

Photo: FunGi Trading

A good DUI lawyer knows Montana DUI law in and out. At Judnich Law Office, we know how to handle every single step of the process from your arraignment, interpret the police report, and assess and fight any blood, urine, or breath test results. We know how you should plead, and whether we should contest how the cops followed (or didn’t follow) procedure. We’ve seen hundreds of Montana DUI cases with great results. Plus, we stay on top of the latest changes in the law and new cases that could affect the outcome of yours.

That doesn’t mean that every DUI lawyer is great — far from it. Talk to several and ask how many DUI cases they have defended and won. (Avvo has more good questions, like how they would keep the DUI off your record, and what percent of their practice is DUI defenses.) You need experience and an attorney that knows the judges, the prosecutors and the officers to get results. If you feel like the person is talking circles around you, politely turn them down. The best DUI lawyers will actually answer your questions (and do so honestly).

3. Public Defenders Are Too Busy

I like and respect many public defenders; we work alongside them everyday. But the sad reality is that a lot of them are overloaded. Their caseload may be too heavy for them to invest the time and energy into your case. Some extra research and investigating can make all the difference in your situation if it uncovers a helpful detail. There are definitely some excellent, hardworking public defenders out there. But given the serious nature of a DUI conviction, would you prefer to have an attorney who does not have time for you, or invest in one that you are paying to devote time to your case and your case only?  Unfortunately, unlike DUI lawyers, if you aren’t happy with your public defender, you don’t get to pick a new one or the one of your choice.

courtroom trial DUI case

4. The DMV Complicates Things

With a DUI, you aren’t just dealing with the court; you’re also dealing with the DMV. DUI cases typically involve suspending your license. The public defender’s office cannot handle this type of issue for you, only a private attorney can help you with civil license suspension issues. If you want to contest the DMV license suspension, you have a limited time to act or you lose your opportunity. We can file a petition on your behalf to attempt to un-suspend your license and get it back for you and actually explain the process to you.


Arrested for a DUI and want to know your options?

I can tell you about my experience winning DUI defense cases. For a free, no-pressure consultation, call the Judnich Law Office at 406-721-3354 or email me:


How Much Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Cost If You Are in a Car Accident?

neck injury car accident manHere’s the scenario: Someone ran a red light and crashed into your car. You’re hurt and angry. The last thing you want to do is shell out thousands of dollars for medical bills and legal fees when it wasn’t even your fault.

Good news: A Missoula personal injury lawyer can get you the compensation you deserve without a huge payment up front.

That’s because most personal injury lawyers work on contingency. Or as we say, “No win, no fee.” You don’t pay us a retainer or hourly fees. We only get paid if we win your case!

Contingency Fees

So how do contingency fees work? Well, usually personal injury lawyers get a set percentage of your settlement (33% to 40%). So if you win a $60,000 settlement for your injuries, your attorneys keep about $20,000 of that.

Contingency fees for personal injury lawyers vary based on when you settle. If we send a demand letter to the at-fault party, asking for a certain amount of money, and they agree to pay it (or something in the ballpark), we can settle outside of court. In that case, lawyer fees are generally locked in at 33%.

personal injury claim statement lawyerBut it doesn’t always happen that way. Sometimes the driver, his/her insurance company, or the company at fault ignores our demand letter or refuses to pay what you deserve. In that case, we may decide to file a lawsuit, although a lawsuit does not mean you will see the inside of a courtroom, it is part of the process of resolution.

This takes more research and work on our part to build you an even stronger case for court, so the contingency fee increases to 40%. Then again, you might get a higher settlement from going to court. It just depends on the details of your case and what your attorney thinks would be wise.

Personal Injury Lawyer Expenses

Fighting for your case will involve various expenses. We might need to order your medical records or a police report.

Going to court is more expensive than settling beforehand. If we take your case to trial, we’ll have to pay for expert witnesses and various deposition fees. A personal injury lawyer will either ask you to pay for these expenses as they arise, or subtract them from your settlement.

Benefits to Contingency Fees

signing-contract-personal-injury-lawyerThe appeal of paying a lawyer in contingency fees rather than a flat and/or hourly fee is obvious. If we lose your case and you don’t get a settlement, you don’t owe us anything. A side benefit of this is that we probably won’t take your case unless we think we can get you a settlement — which means you aren’t wasting your time. Plus, as your personal injury attorney gets paid at the end of the case, we’re incentivized to be efficient and not drag your case out. We are both out to obtain the most money we can for you. The more we obtain for you, the more we make for our firm.

So Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?

I’ve written a longer post about when to hire a personal injury lawyer, but here are the highlights. If it looks like the guilty party’s insurance company isn’t going to give you an adequate settlement, or they won’t compensate you at all, you definitely need a Missoula personal injury attorney. If your injuries are minor, then probably not. Another sign is if you talk to a lot of personal injury lawyers and they won’t take your case. That might mean your settlement will be too small for the contingency fee to cover the lawyer’s actual work. (With a $1,000 settlement, about $333 would go to your lawyer, which can’t cover the time it takes to resolve a case.)

Want a free consultation about your personal injury case? We’ll help you figure out whether it’s worth hiring a lawyer and how to get the settlement you deserve.

Call or email Judnich Law today:

406-721-3354 / 855-853-1482 (toll free) /

When To Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer

Wondering if you need a personal injury lawyer? If you were hurt and it was someone else’s fault — or a company’s fault — you could be due monetary compensation.

Unfortunately, you can’t rely on insurance companies to be fair with you. Insurance companies are in the business of making money, not giving it to you. They make a profit by low-balling you. Be careful when you give them a statement, because part of their motivation is to keep you from filing a lawsuit later. It’s like the cops say when they read your Miranda rights: “Everything you say can and will be used against you.” (Don’t sign anything either — you may be signing away your rights.) Female doctor with senior patient

Insurance company adjusters are trained to frustrate you. They want you to feel like your claim is hopeless so that you will take less money from them. They will initially treat you like gold, but then they will not return your calls, tell you they will not cover your bills, or try to imply you have done something wrong. This frustration is a strategic move on their part to see if you will simply go away.

That’s where a personal injury lawyer comes in. We know how to obtain top dollar from the insurance companies because we deal with them every single day. Whether you were in a car wreck that wasn’t your fault or you were just hurt by someone else, we know the law and how to make insurance companies pay. We will help you obtain the most possible money for your claim settlement or we take your case to court.

Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?

Real talk: A tiny claim with low to no injuries isn’t worth hiring a personal injury attorney. You don’t want to waste your time or money. But, here are examples of when you should hire a Missoula personal injury lawyer:

  • You or someone else in your car is seriously injured (whiplash, back pain, burns, brain or spinal injuries, broken bones, severe animal bite, etc.)Patient with a cast on arm
  • A death resulted from the negligence of another
  • The insurance company is frustrating you or not being fair
  • The other driver didn’t have insurance (or enough insurance)
  • A physician made a mistake (medical malpractice)
  • Nursing home staff neglected or abused you or a loved one
  • You were hurt at work and the workers’ compensation doesn’t seem fair
  • You slipped and fell on someone else’s property and you’ll miss work or need expensive medical care

Although minor injuries usually aren’t worth hiring an attorney for, you should still have your doctor examine you after an accident. You may have sustained damage that will only get worse (and more costly) over time. Get any injuries assessed, whether you decide to work with a personal injury attorney or not. If you aren’t sure, you can always get a free consultation with us at the Judnich Law Office about your case. We’d be happy to talk you through your options.

What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Do?

Personal injury lawyers specialize in what’s called “tort law.” Tort law involves negligence, carelessness, and accidents. If someone intentionally hurts you, that’s typically covered under criminal law, not tort law. You don’t have to be physically hurt, either — a personal injury lawyer will defend you if someone infringed on your rights or damaged your reputation.

We personal injury lawyClose up Wooden Law Gavel on the Tableers give you advice about your case, thoroughly investigate it, research case law, file complaints, negotiate a settlement, and/or argue your case in court. We work with expert witnesses, obtain medical records, examine police reports, and prepare you for the deposition. Our goal is to get you justice. Our experience with claims helps us achieve top dollar settlements with the insurance companies.

Most personal injury lawyers work on contingency, which means we don’t get paid unless we win your case. Personal injury attorneys usually charge 33% to 40% of your total award. So you don’t pay an hourly rate up front for an attorney — we both work hard to get the most possible money for your claim. We’re often able to get you a much higher award than you could by yourself.

What’s the Time Frame for Working With a Personal Injury Lawyer?

Talk to a personal injury lawyer as soon as you’re hurt. That way we can start investigating right away and prevent you from saying anything to your insurance company that they could use against you. There is something called a statute of limitations for personal injury cases, so if you wait too long, it could hurt your chances at getting fairly compensated.

Personal injury cases aren’t settled overnight. Typically it takes several months or more for a settlement, and longer if we decide to go to trial. Don’t let your insurance company discourage you from talking to a personal injury lawyer by saying the process will be long and drawn out. You deserve the medical care you need to get better and be fully and fairly compensated for all of your losses.

Talk To a Missoula Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or a loved one were hurt, first know that we’re sorry. You shouldn’t have to suffer because someone else was careless. Call or email us for a free, no-obligation consultation with our Missoula personal injury attorney. We’ll explain if you have grounds for a personal injury case and what your choices are. You will get through this.

Call now: 406-721-3354 or toll-free: 855-853-1482

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Judnich Law Office | 2419 Mullan Road Missoula, MT 59808 | Phone: (406) 721-3354

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