If you were arrested for DUI (Driving Under the Influence), or any other alcohol related driving offense, you should try and find a good DUI lawyer. If you’ve been arrested for DUI you are facing jail time, having your driver’s license suspended, paying big fines, dealing with work and school problems, future career prospect issues, and personal relationship problems, psychological stress, and the list goes on and on. In Georgia, a DUI cannot be expunged. It’s on your record for life. A good DUI attorney can help reduce the penalties you face with DUI.
It’s no secret. DUI is serious. DUI law is very complex and constantly changing. DUI cases are more complex than murder trials. Your lawyer must know exactly what to expect and how to protect you from any potential pitfalls. This kind of knowledge can only be gained from defending hundreds of DUI cases AND ongoing advanced level education. Having three years of law school isn’t enough. When your attorney specializes in DUI defense, you’ll enjoy countless advantages in your legal battle.
In my experience judges and prosecutors treat you differently when you are charged with DUI than any other crime. If you have a DUI history then the laws punish you more severely. Avoiding the worst possible outcomes requires a dedicated DUI lawyer focused on DUI defense.
Below is important information you need to know about why and how to hire a DUI lawyer.
Why You Need a DUI Lawyer
There are many ways to beat a DUI charge. Your DUI attorney knows this, but you don’t. Your DUI lawyer will know the procedures in a DUI case and can pinpoint when the police have not followed their trained procedures. This can cause a DUI charge to be dismissed.
A DUI arrest requires a qualified DUI attorney who knows all the intricacies of DUI law in your area. Not just any criminal attorney will do. Because DUI laws are very complex, DUI cases are best handled by experienced DUI attorneys with specialized knowledge of traffic laws, breathalyzers, blood tests, chemical testing procedures, and ignition interlock devices, for example. An experienced and qualified DUI defense lawyer will be able to review your case carefully, gather evidence in your favor, recommend and work a DUI defense expert to work on your defense. Your DUI attorney will know the prosecutor’s style and can help you a lot more.
You want a DUI trial specialist because he can beat the DUI or he can probably work you a better plea deal. A good DUI attorney may challenge certain aspects of your DUI charge based on his special knowledge. Therefore, you need to find a skilled DUI attorney who knows the ropes.
An experienced DUI lawyer may help:
- reduce or eliminate jail time;
- eliminate a revoked license;
- reduce your DUI charge to a lesser offense;
- avoid trial with a plea bargain
What to Look for in a DUI Lawyer
You want the most aggressive lawyer who tries cases rather than pleads you guilty. Someone with a reputation for fighting and winning. Find someone who practices DUI defense exclusively. Research the lawyer’s reputation by talking to friends, family or others who have worked with the lawyer.
The following considerations may be helpful:
- Does the attorney specialize in DUI cases exclusively? See the article on Lawrence Taylor’s website about DUI specialization in the “American Bar Association Journal”.
- No guarantees. No ethical attorney will make promises as to a result in your case. If you hear this, then run away: “I know the judge,” “I know the prosecutor,” “I know the police officer,” “I am a judge,” “I used to be a judge,” or “I used to be a prosecutor.” So what? Find out how many cases they won for the people they helped. “I guarantee this case will be dismissed.” Run far off. “I’ve won every case I’ve handled.” This is not true and if it is, then he hasn’t handled much. Find a lawyer with ethics.
- Get it in writing. Insist on a written contract setting forth all costs and covered services. Know what it will cost you to have a full blown out jury trial on your DUI case. Will it cost $5,000 or $10,000 to take your case to trial? Make sure the quoted fee covers everything, including jury trial. Make sure there are no other possible costs. I am not pleased with lawyers who say they’ll handle the case for $5,000, and then later after they are paid say “That will be another $5,000 to go to trial.” Does the quoted fee include the Administrative License Suspension hearing, expert fees, breath test rules and regulations discovery, and blood reanalysis, trial, etc?
- Interview several lawyers. This is serious. Don’t hire the first lawyer you talk to. Interview three lawyers, at least. Be prepared to see six lawyers, even. Only hire a DUI attorney you are comfortable with.
- Ask a police officer whom he would retain if arrested for DUI.
- Never Plead Guilty Without A Fight. Never give up without a fight. This is enormous. Virtually every DUI case is possibly winnable. The dumbest thing you can do is to plead guilty to your DUI before you have fully investigated the case. Find a lawyer who shows you he wants to fight your DUI.
- Does the lawyer have experience in the city or county where you were arrested for DUI?
- Is the attorney the one who actually does most of the work in your case?
Questions to Ask a DUI Lawyer
Before deciding on a DUI lawyer, get comfortable with him by speaking to him about your DUI charge. Get clear answers to all of your questions. Understand your answers. If you can’t understand what the lawyer said, then how is he going to convince a jury anything? Below are some of the questions you should ask before you hire a DUI attorney.
- How will you try and keep the DUI charge off my record? The most important thing about a DUI charge is to keep it off your record. If they can’t tell you any strategies, you better move on.
- How much of your criminal practice is devoted to DUI cases?
- How many DUI cases have you defended?
- Are you familiar with the Intoxilyzer 5000 and of Georgia’s requirements and/or loopholes? Tell me about that.
- What are your fees and how are they calculated?
- How many of your DUI cases plead guilty?
- Are you skilled in the proper administration of Standardized Field Sobriety Tests?
Resources to Find DUI Lawyers
Prestigious professional and educational organization of about 300 attorneys specializing in drunk driving defense, with listings/bios by state. The College holds an intensive 3-day seminar at Harvard Law School every July.
A list of attorneys in California and across the U.S. recommended by Mr. Taylor (Note: Mr. Taylor receives no referral fees for these recommendations).