Questions to Ask When Hiring a DUI Attorney
Traffic stops and tickets are never fun, especially when you are stopped and charged with a DUI. The most important thing you can do when you find yourself charged with a DUI is call an attorney. With so many DUI attorneys in the phone book, it can be a challenge to find the right one for you. Always take attorneys up on the free initial consultation, as this will give you a chance to get to know them and learn if they are the right attorney for you and your current situation. Take a look at some of the top questions to ask a DUI attorney before they represent you in court.
How long have you been practicing law?
Experience in the law is important, especially when it comes to attorneys that specialize in drunk driving. Rather than pay for your new attorney to learn the laws surrounding drunk driving defense, find someone who has already done the research and is up to date on the current law regarding DUI offenses. Those who have practiced law for some time will also be more familiar with the process and will be able to provide a track record and client references. Columbus, Ohio has plenty of attorneys, but finding one who has the experience you need is important.
Have you handled cases like this before?
You want to hire an attorney with experience. Not just experience practicing law, but experience defending those who have been charged with a DUI. Attorneys without experience in DUI defense may not understand some of the finer points of the process, and the specific objections that should be raised. The process of a DUI hearing can present unique challenges and attorneys with specific DUI defense experience can best address those challenges.
If you are sitting down for your initial consultation with an attorney you can ask the attorney to tell you how many years he or she has focused on drunk driving defense. Some have experience in other matters but have not yet amassed experience in drunk driving defense. Work with an attorney who has defended multiple DUI charges and understands the DUI hearing process.
What are the possible outcomes of the case?
Every client should have a full and detailed understanding of the possible outcomes of their case. This is especially true with DUI charges. A Columbus Ohio DUI attorney with experience will be able to help you manage your expectations for the outcome of your case. Each client is different, as each situation is unique. Only an experienced attorney will be able to tell you the possible outcomes that you may face. This is why working with a DUI lawyer with a focus on drunk driving defense is so important.
What are your fees?
All Columbus, Ohio DUI attorneys will tell you the fees that they will charge before you can become a client. It is important to examine what they charge and what they offer. It may seem like some attorneys are a better rate than others, but examine what their fees include. The fees you pay to attorneys will not include the costs paid for court appearances and filing fees, so it is important to go into your meeting with the attorney with an understanding of what money will be paid directly to the court. You want to select an attorney who will do all that is necessary to provide you with a solid defense for your DUI charge. Drunk driving convictions can have a serious impact in your life, so it is important to find an attorney who will be upfront about fees and the services that he or she is willing and able to provide.
Can I see a copy of your written agreement for representation?
Asking for a written agreement is no burden to the attorney. They actually welcome the chance to be transparent and share with you the ways in which you will be billed and the limits (if any) to the attorney’s representation. Your basic written agreement for representation will spell out the firm’s responsibilities, the charges for which you require a defense, and how the attorney fees shall be paid. Some attorneys have a limited scope of representation and don’t provide full services to all clients. This should be spelled out in the agreement.
The agreement will also highlight the methods of communication the attorney will use to stay in touch. This is important, as attorneys often must communicate new deadlines and court dates to their client before proceeding with the case. When dealing with DUI charges, attorneys will often entertain plea deals from the prosecuting attorneys and will need to communicate the terms with their client. Without a reliable method of communication, attorneys will not be able to represent you to the best of their ability.
In addition, the agreement will also clearly state the steps that will be taken should either party choose to end the attorney-client relationship. If you are not communicating with your attorney they may petition the judge to withdraw as your counsel. Likewise, if you as a client are not receiving regular communication from your attorney you can end the relationship. This is why having an open and honest discussion about the written representation agreement is so important. Read through the written agreement and make sure that the terms look good before you sign up for a drunk driving defense with a lawyer in Columbus, Ohio.
Will you handle my case, or will another attorney/ paralegal handle the case?
This is important, especially when you deal with larger firms. If you have your initial consultation with a partner and get the feeling he or she won’t be handling our case, you are well within your rights to ask if they will hand off the matter to someone else. Working with an attorney is very personal, and you want to make sure you feel comfortable with your representation. If you don’t feel comfortable allowing others in the firm to handle your case, then speak up. Working with one attorney from start to finish can help give you peace of mind. Find a firm with representation you can trust when addressing a matter that may bring jail time and fines.
If you were recently arrested or have questions regarding your specific situation and your rights, contact us today. Our initial consultations offer the chance for you to better understand how we can provide a solid defense to your current charges. The Maher Law Firm has worked hard to provide representation to those facing DUI charges throughout Central Ohio. When you are in a tight spot, you want a DUI lawyer in Central Ohio who will advocate for your rights. Call us at 614-205-2208, or contact us online for your free consultation.