Are you facing DUI charges? If so, then you are going to need the best DUI lawyer available. After all, a DUI conviction can be life-altering, and you would want to be spared the consequences that come with it. A competent DUI attorney representing you is your best chance of avoiding a conviction, and you have to find one as soon as charges are filed against you.
Finding a good DUI lawyer, however, could take some work on your part, and you can’t just depend on the yellow pages to help you find one. There are certain qualities that your DUI attorney must have to improve your chances of getting acquitted, or at least getting lighter sentences should you get convicted. Here are some of the qualities that you need to look for in a DUI lawyer.
Extensive DUI experience and training
Technically, you can hire anyone with a license to practice law to defend you, but you would do well to hire a lawyer who specializes in DUI cases, and who’s had years of experience handling them. With his or her deeper knowledge of DUI laws, you stand a better chance of avoiding a DUI conviction than you would with a regular criminal lawyer.
A good track record in court
Having an experienced DUI lawyer by your side would be a relief, but you will still need to know how he or she has been faring in court over the years. Good for you if your prospective DUI lawyer has a reputation for winning, but if you find out that the lawyer you’re thinking about hiring rarely wins DUI cases, you might want to look elsewhere.
A spotless ethical record
Your DUI attorney may be the best one in town or even the state, but if he or she has a history of malpractice or has been sanctioned by the State Bar, your DUI case could hang in the balance. Judges tend to look not too kindly upon lawyers with spotty ethical records.
Fortunately for you, the disciplinary records of attorneys are available to the public. Just visit the website of your State Bar, and you will readily find out whether or not he’s in good standing.
Excellent communication skills
A good DUI lawyer—or any lawyer for that matter—must be more than just knowledgeable about the law. He or she must also be a great communicator. In any legal case, presentation is essential. With first-rate communication skills, your lawyer will be able to present and argue your case in the clearest way possible.
It’s hard to place your trust in a DUI lawyer who doesn’t appear confident in any way at all. Your DUI attorney must possess a confidence that will give you some strength and peace of mind all throughout your case. Avoid the ones who swagger with too much confidence though.
Charges fees you can afford
By nature, legal services are expensive, and powerhouse attorneys typically charge higher-than-usual fees. If you can afford those fees, then go on ahead and hire the priciest lawyers in town. If you can’t, then you must find a DUI lawyer who will take your case for a lower fee. The rule of thumb here is that you must only hire a DUI lawyer that you can afford.
Must be local
There are lawyers from other cities or states that may be more skilled than the one you’re eyeing. A local attorney, however, will be more familiar with the court that will hear your DUI case. He or she would likely know the judges and district attorneys, and those relationships could play a crucial role in your case, especially if your DUI lawyer enjoys a stellar reputation among them.
These are just some of the qualities that you must look for in a DUI lawyer. So go do your research, and leave no stone unturned in your effort to receive the best defense possible for your DUI case.
Kevin Crowley is an experienced DUI lawyer at Lane, Hupp & Crowley PLC, a team of criminal defense lawyers in Phoenix, Arizona. He enjoys writing about law and helping his clients handle their legal needs.