Five Tips to Hiring A Good DUI/DWI Lawyer(And Avoiding the Bad Ones)
Let's face it, nobody really wants to hire a lawyer. Usually attorneys enter the picture only when something has gone wrong. What's even worse is discovering that the lawyer you trusted (and paid your hard-earned money to) was inexperienced, dishonest, or just wasn’t qualified to do the job that needed to be done.
Of course, you probably won't realize this until it's too late - after the damage has been done. So how do you avoid this unpleasant surprise? Here are some recommendations:
Spend at least as much effort to find your lawyer as you would to find a doctor
If you moved to a new city, you would probably ask around before you chose a doctor. At the very least, you might talk to somebody who had gotten good results. Hiring a lawyer is similar in many respects. In DUI/DWI cases, the result is something that you'll be living with for years to come - possibly forever.
Do your homework. Yellow Page advertising is, at best, only a starting point. Attorneys who have the largest Yellow Pages ads also have the highest Yellow Pages bills. As you might have guessed, there is no correlation between a flashy advertisement and ultimate excellence in performance.
Talk to someone who has actually had to hire a DUI lawyer. Or go to a lawyer who practices some other area of the law, and ask him (or her) who is the best DUI lawyer in town.
If you want to find a walleye, fish in a lake
If you need a trial lawyer, go to the courthouse. Ask the people who work there: courtroom clerks, bailiffs, court reporters. They see lots of lawyers, and they know which are well-regarded and which are not. They may give you a few names.
Often, court employees will tell you that they aren't supposed to make recommendations, but be persistent. Ask about us. If you strike up a conversation and make a friend, you are likely to at least find out who to avoid.
This may surprise you, but most lawyers never try a case in their entire careers. When you talk to lawyers, ask them about their cases. Get details. How many DUI/DWI cases have they handled in their careers? How many in the last year? In the last month? Wins or losses?
You wouldn't want a heart surgeon working on your brain. And you would probably want your surgeon to have many years of experience before putting your life in his or her hands.
Many lawyers hold themselves out as "criminal attorneys" and even "DUI/DWI attorneys" and won't try DUI cases! Instead, they often try to negotiate a guilty plea on every case. Sometimes (but not always) these are attorneys that have the lowest fees and run a "volume" practice.
Don't hire a general practitioner to do a specialized job
Some types of legal cases don't demand specialized knowledge. Certain types, such as DUI/DWI cases, are very specialized.
More than any type of criminal case, DUI/DWI cases involve detailed scientific evidence. Like CSI, a complete defense requires command of principles of chemistry, biology and physics, familiarity with hundreds of scientific studies and knowledge of the inner workings of the machines that have been used to gather evidence against you.
Ask your prospective lawyer if he or she has training in breath testing or the field sobriety tests. Remember the old axiom, "you get what you pay for"? If it's worth hiring a lawyer at all, then it's worth hiring the best lawyer you can afford.
Understand the limitations of any lawyer
You are hiring a lawyer, not a magician. Beware of false promises. Any lawyer that guarantees a favorable result in your case is simply not trustworthy.
Unfortunately, some unscrupulous lawyers make worthless guarantees with the knowledge that, if things go wrong, then the client will not be in a position to do much about it. If a lawyer guarantees you anything (other than that he or she will do their absolute best in defending you) do this: Ask that this guarantee be in writing. A conscientious and competent lawyer will tell you the truth.
No one can guarantee a particular outcome. Trust your instincts.
At Our Law Office, we focus our criminal practice on one thing: the defense of DUI/DWI cases. Throughout the United States, Doug V. Hazelton has received hundreds of hours of DUI/DWI training, has instructed other lawyers in the scientific principles underlying DUI/DWI prosecutions. Few attorneys in the Twin Cities rival his training and experience to defend your DUI/DWI charge. Experience makes a difference. We can make a difference for you.
Arrested for DWI in Minnesota? Call me for a free Minnesota DWI 612-334-3342 legal consultation.
- Hire An Experienced DWI / DUI Attorney
- What to know about public defenders
- Protect Your Rights Against A DUI / DWI
- Mistakes people make after being arrested
- 53 DWI Laws & Case Tips
- Criminal/Administrative Penalties for DWI
- Minnesota Ignition Interlock Program
- Tips for Hiring a DWI/DUI Lawyer
- 14 Most Common Police Mistakes
- What Can You Do to Save Your License?
- What Happens After A DWI Arrest?
- Top 10 Mistakes Lawyers Make
- Minnesota's "Implied Consent" law
- Online Drink Wheel BrAC Calculator
- Elements of the Crime