If you’re accused of a DUI offense, you need an attorney to help you ASAP! But how do you pick the right one?
You need an attorney with experience & reputation. You DO NOT want an attorney who practices all types of law, only one of which is DUI law. DUI is a very complicated specialty that requires daily focus and continuing education and training.
There is a huge difference between a premier DUI defense attorney who focuses most of their practice on DUI cases, and an imposter who practices general law and doesn’t know very much about DUI issues.
Premier DUI defense specific experience will help you and your lawyer to achieve the best possible outcome in your case. But how do you know if the lawyer you are talking to has that? Here are 5 key things to look for when interviewing an attorney to represent you in a DUI case:
1. NHTSA Experience
The attorney must have significant experience with the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (or NHTSA) training manuals on law enforcement DUI investigation. These manuals are what all police officers in the United States are trained on to perform correct DUI investigations.
There are several manuals with “student” and “instructor” versions. Make sure the attorney you hire….
- Has the actual manuals
- Knows what’s in them
- Has an answer for how they implement the manuals in trial
If they have a good answer for the last point, it’s a telltale sign that they’re an experienced attorney and not an imposter.
2. Online reviews
What message do you get from the attorney’s online reviews? By now everyone knows that some people just leave nothing but bad reviews. However, if an attorney has a good reputation in the community, positive reviews will far outnumber the odd bad review.
Take some time and read all of an attorney’s reviews to see what other people have actually experienced with them.
3. Legal fees
What does the attorney charge to accept your case? Are they offering you a bargain basement deal to handle your case, or is the attorney charging a significant amount of money in exchange for doing a significant amount of work?
Think about it: Do you want your attorney to actually work hard on your case and spend hours reviewing the evidence and explore legal issues, or just show up occasionally, take your money on a flat fee and plead you out at the first opportunity?
Top level defense costs significant money because it takes time to do all the things you have to do to properly defend a case. Bargain basement quotes, or low flat rates for a complete defense means the attorney cannot afford to spend significant time on your case and has no incentive to spend real time on your case because there is no money in it for them. They’ll simply lose money otherwise. This is a red flag that the attorney is not an expert in DUI Defense and does not know how to properly defend your case. You won’t get the attention a case needs and deserves to be successful. If a bargain attorney isn’t going to do anything on your case anyway, why are you hiring them?
Key Question: Ask the attorney for a list and itemization of all the things they do when they defend a case. If they show you a significant list it’s a good sign.
Ignore them if they can’t think of basic things such as…
- Interviewing the officer
- Viewing videos
- Checking officer training
- Checking calibration records
- Verifying the officer’s investigation against the NHTSA protocols
- Conducting legal research and knowing most DUI legal issues
4. Certifications and awards
Does the attorney have any DUI specific certifications or awards? Premier DUI defense requires an attorney to constantly take intense and expensive classes to learn several aspects of blood and breath science, evidence issues, and DUI investigation techniques. Make sure any certifications or awards are for attending actual trainings or classes for DUI specifically and not just a generic award they just paid money to get.
The best DUI defense attorneys have several DUI specific attorney accomplishments under their belts and have attended many trainings by such recognized DUI defense schools such as the National College for DUI Defense.
5. Recent experience
How many DUI trials has the attorney completed in the last 3 years? If an attorney is good, or even great, then they have gone to trial lately, and usually several times. A lawyer that hasn’t gone to trial on a DUI case in a long time is a sign that they don’t fight and just plead people out.
If you’re looking for someone to defend you, they need to be ready to fight. Fighting for your rights sometimes means going to trial.
Contact the DUI Defense lawyers at Judnich Law to receive the representation you deserve
At Judnich Law, we have the experience to help you put your best foot forward in a court of law. Please contact the Judnich Law Office for a FREE DUI consultation with an experienced attorney to discuss your case.
Marty is a former criminal prosecutor in the Cascade County Attorney’s Office and now uses that experience to defend those accused of crimes. A University of Montana School of Law graduate, Marty focuses his practice on personal injury and criminal defense and is a premier DUI defense attorney. He is also well versed in the insurance claims industry and has negotiated significant settlements with nearly every major insurance company.