Hiring a California DUI Attorney
If you’re like most drivers arrested on suspicion of DUI, you may not know where to turn after your drunk driving arrest. Many individuals arrested for DUI have never been in trouble with the law before, so navigating our complex criminal justice system may seem daunting.
There are two things you should do immediately after your drunk driving arrest:
- Request a DMV hearing
- Hire a qualified California DUI lawyer
Requesting a DMV hearing within the 10-day deadline will ensure that you have a chance to defend your driver’s license. Hiring the right DUI defense lawyer will give you your best opportunity to launch an aggressive fight to your drunk driving charge.
How to choose your California DUI Attorney
Selecting the attorney who will fight your DUI charge is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. The old saying that you get what you pay for is never truer than when it comes to DUI defense. Any general-practice attorney can underbid the competition and help you plead guilty. However, attorneys who focus on DUI defense spend years gaining the legal and scientific knowledge needed to effectively handle a drunk driving case.
Think of your DUI case as you might consider a medical problem – if you had a problem with your kidneys, you wouldn’t visit an eye doctor or an orthopedic surgeon. Similarly, DUI defense is extremely complex and technical, so you don’t want to entrust your case to a general practitioner or an attorney whose focus is in an entirely different area of law.
However, if you don’t have any experience with the criminal justice system, how will you know if your attorney is the right one for you? While there are never any guarantees in life, these are some indications that a DUI lawyer is qualified to handle your case:
- Years of experience: Obviously, you don’t want to entrust your DUI case to an amateur. The more experience your prospective DUI lawyer has, the more he or she will be prepared to handle your case.
- Memberships in professional organizations: Active membership in professional organizations dedicated to DUI defense is an excellent indication that your prospective attorney has the knowledge needed to aggressively fight your drunk driving case.
- Specialized training: Ask your prospective California DUI attorney if he or she has received advanced training in blood and breath testing protocols and field sobriety testing. Your potential DUI attorney may even own the type of breath testing machine used in your jurisdiction.
- Track record of success: Your prospective DUI attorney should be able to tell you about cases that were resolved successfully for clients. Keep in mind that a favorable resolution means different things to different clients.
- Teaching seminars to other attorneys: Ask your potential DUI attorney if he or she has been invited to teach his or her skills to peers at seminars and workshops. This is an excellent indication that the DUI attorney you’re considering is respected by his or her peers.
- Communication and response time: You’ll realize how important this is the first time you have a pressing question about your case. How long will it take your prospective DUI attorney to return your phone call or answer your email? How often will your defense lawyer update you about the status of your case? Is your new attorney willing to give you his or her cell phone number, or will you be limited to calling during office hours? These are critical issues that you should ask your prospective attorney about before signing a retainer agreement.