A DWI charge is scary and can cause a lot of consequences, including fines, jail time, and loss of your license. Having a lawyer to walk you through the process can help protect your interests and minimize the effects of a DWI. Choosing a lawyer for DWIs is an important decision that can affect the outcome of your case.
Check out these seven things to consider when choosing your DWI lawyer.
1. Experience With DWIs
Many lawyers handle a variety of case types without having a lot of experience in all areas. When looking for local DWI lawyers, find out how much experience they have in these types of cases. If they only handle one or two DWI cases per year, they might not have the experience you need to get a favorable outcome.
Experienced DWI lawyers understand the state laws regarding DWI arrests. You can learn more about your lawyer’s experience by asking them about the number of cases they’ve handled and how much knowledge they have about state laws. The legal limits and repercussions for DWIs vary by state, so you want someone with local knowledge.
It’s also a good idea to find out how many of the DWI cases the firm has handled have gone to trial versus ending with a plea bargain. You want a lawyer with experience in both outcomes since you don’t know which way yours will go. A DWI lawyer without much court experience defending a DWI case might not have the experience you need should your case go to trial.
2. References and Reviews
You can tell a lot about a firm by the reputation it holds in the community. If you know someone who’s had a DWI recently, ask them about their lawyer and whether or not they recommend them. You can also ask lawyers you interview for references from past clients to ask them questions about their experiences.
Another option is to look at online reviews and ratings. Keep in mind that disgruntled clients might leave inaccurate information to get back at a lawyer. Instead of letting one bad review turn you away, look at the overall sentiment of reviews to see if any major red flags keep showing up in comments from past clients.
3. Law Firm Size
You can find exceptional legal representation from firms of all sizes, but small, local firms are more likely to offer you personalized services. If you choose a massive firm with hundreds of employees, you’ll likely talk to different people every time. Your case might be passed off to other people.
With a smaller law firm, you typically deal with one attorney and the same support staff each time. Ask who will actually handle your case when you contact the firm to see if it’s the original attorney you ask about or if someone else will do the work.
Local firms also provide the advantage of knowing the local court systems and prosecutors who might handle your case. Different judges might have slightly different customs or ways of handling cases. A lawyer who understands those things knows how to approach your case appropriately.
Local lawyers might also have connections with local investigators and specialists who can help gather evidence to support your case.
4. Approach to Your Case
Many law firms offer a free consultation to review your case and determine if it’s a good fit. Check with multiple attorneys to ask questions and get a sense of how they might fit with your personality and your case.
During your initial consultation, discuss the possible outcomes of your case. An experienced attorney should fully understand the possible repercussions should you lose your case.
Find out what the attorney thinks about your case and what the best approach is to handling the case. No attorney can tell you for sure how a case will turn out, and if an attorney guarantees you’ll win, it could be a red flag.
However, you want an attorney who is confident in being able to defend your case. If your attorney isn’t fully committed and confident in their ability to help you, keep looking for someone who is.
5. Financial Aspects
Before you commit to an attorney, make sure you understand how the fees work and what you can expect to pay. You’ll likely pay more if your case goes to trial, for example. Ask for all of the fees in writing along with the payment policies so you understand what’s expected of you financially.
Find out when you have to pay your fees and how much you have to pay upfront. Some law firms might offer a payment plan for your fees to help spread out the costs.
6. Accessibility and Communication
Regular communication with your attorney is crucial to building your case. Your attorney needs information from you, and you need to be kept in the loop on how the case is going.
Find out how the firm handles communications and keeps you updated on your case. Determine the available methods of contacting your lawyer and how accessible your lawyer is. You don’t want an attorney who is never available and doesn’t keep you informed on what’s happening in the case.
7. Customer Service
Pay attention to how you’re treated any time you interact with the law firm. Do they treat you kindly, or are they rude and dismissive? Do you feel like they answer your questions thoroughly?
Consider how professional the staff is. You want someone who is compassionate toward your situation, but you also want someone who is professional and can represent you well.
Look for a law firm that treats you with respect. If they don’t offer good customer service to prospective clients, they won’t likely treat you any better if you hire them. Choose a firm that gives you answers and treats you the way you want to be treated.
Choose a Lawyer for DWIs
Finding the right lawyer for DWIs takes a little research to find someone with experience who is also prepared to fight for you. Taking time to choose the right lawyer can pay off by improving your chances for a favorable outcome.
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