A DUI arrest can disastrously impact your job, family life, and finances. Fortunately, a DUI lawyer offers the necessary skills to reduce penalties and may even eliminate or reduce the time your license is suspended. Here are six steps to help you find a DUI attorney.

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Step 1: Ask Around

Has a friend or family member faced DUI charges in the past? If so, ask them who they hired as their DUI defense lawyer. Sometimes, the best way to find a good lawyer is through someone you trust. DUI attorneys are no exception.

Step 2: Research DUI Lawyers Online

If you don’t know anyone who has hired a DUI lawyer, or you’re embarrassed to ask, there are several online directories for attorneys:

Once you have a list of names, do your homework. Most attorneys have detailed websites that outline their experience. Focus on criminal defense attorneys who specifically mention DUI and DWI defense. Your research may also reveal articles or online reviews that can help you decide which attorneys you want to contact. Services like Avvo give details on an attorney’s background and also allow clients to write reviews.

Finally, use your state’s bar association directory to confirm an attorney is licensed to practice law in your state. Only licensed attorneys can represent you in court. Bar associations also release disciplinary information on attorneys, which you can use to ensure you hire someone ethical. Never hire an attorney who was disbarred or suspended.

Step 3: Call DUI Attorneys

Narrow your attorney list to three or four attorneys whose qualifications fit your needs, and start reaching out with a phone call or email.

You want an attorney who returns your call or email within a few business days. Attorneys may say similar things about your case, but you should feel confident in their answers. Avoid attorneys who are vague or make embellished claims, e.g., “I win every DUI case I take!” If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Step 4: Schedule A Virtual Or In-Person Consultation

Choose an attorney and schedule a consultation with them. At the consultation, be sure to:

  • Be truthful. A DUI attorney can’t represent you well if you are not telling the truth. So, if you had 7 beers at a party before getting in the car, tell them. They can figure out what to do with the information.
  • Bring DUI documents. Don’t forget to bring copies of tickets, police reports, or DMV letters.
  • Ask about experience and strategy. Don’t be shy–ask about win rate and expertise. If you have any questions about strategy or what you should do to help your case, ask!
  • Take notes. Many attorneys give clients a to-do list at the end of a consultation. Make sure you write down this list and finish all the items.

Step 5: Ask About Fees

Depending on your case and the attorney’s experience, the fee for DUI defense may range between $5,000 and $10,000. Most defense attorneys quote the fee in advance; if they leave it open-ended, you should likely choose a different lawyer.

When you talk about fees, make sure you understand:

  • What the fee covers. Sometimes, the attorney fee doesn’t cover extra costs, like additional filing fees, expert witness fees, or ignition interlock devices.
  • Hourly or flat rate. A DUI attorney may charge a flat or hourly rate. You may not have to pay additional fees if it’s a flat rate. But hourly rates can add up and lead to you owing more money.
  • Payment plans. Always ask about payment plans. It can make your attorney fees more manageable, especially if you end up paying for rehabilitation services or safety devices as conditions of your sentence.

Step 6: Assess Your Comfort Level

The final step involves your comfort level with a lawyer. Choosing a criminal defense attorney is personal since you’re entrusting this person with your freedom. So, you want to hire someone you trust and can communicate with fully.

A DUI lawyer should show confidence. If you feel they are hesitant or avoiding questions about experience and trial records, move on to a different attorney.

Also, find someone who communicates well. Your attorney should be able to explain legal issues clearly and answer your questions. These skills also transfer to trial, and you want a lawyer who is a good advocate in court.

Need Help Finding A DUI Lawyer?

Time is of the essence when you need a DUI attorney. Here’s a resource to help you find a local attorney for a free DUI and DWI case evaluation.

Legal Disclaimer: This article contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation and should not be interpreted as creating an attorney-client relationship. If you have legal questions, you should seek the advice of an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

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