The last two posts of this blog have addressed two frequently asked questions: (1) should I contest my D.U.I. charge? and (2) should I represent myself in a D.U.I.? This post discusses a common follow-up question: if I have decided to contest my D.U.I. charge and I’m not going to represent myself, how do I choose a D.U.I. attorney?
Choose an attorney that focuses on D.U.I. The last post compared choosing an attorney to choosing a doctor. If you are choosing a doctor for a problem with your big toe, you want a doctor that only treats feet, and preferably a foot doctor that focuses on big toes. If you are seeking a lawyer for a D.U.I. you want a lawyer that practices criminal defense and focuses on D.U.I. defense.
Choose an attorney that has education and training in D.U.I. issues. Look for an attorney that has completed courses in field sobriety testing, breath testing, and testing of blood and urine. Also look for a lawyer that is a member of the National College for DUI Defense and regularly attends continuing legal education seminars for D.U.I. law.
Choose an attorney that has experience in D.U.I. cases. You would not want a foot doctor that has been educated in foot medicine but has little experience actually treating feet. Look for a lawyer that regularly contests D.U.I. cases and has taken many cases through contested motion hearings and trials. It may also be helpful to find an attorney that practices regularly in the court where your D.U.I. case is being held.
Choose an attorney that has good communication skills. The lawyer needs to clearly communicate with you, the prosecutor and the judge. The lawyer should be able to educate you on the law and the process for your case. Communication also involves listening, so the attorney should listen to your situation and concerns, and answer all of your questions.
Choose an attorney that charges appropriate fees. The fee for contesting your D.U.I. charge is naturally going to be higher than the fee for walking you through the process of pleading guilty. The fee for a lawyer that focuses on D.U.I. is likely going to be higher than the fee for a lawyer that practices several areas of the law. If the fee is too low, the lawyer probably doesn’t value his or her time highly or does not plan to put a lot of work into the case.
There are many attorneys that handle D.U.I. (O.V.I.) cases in central Ohio. Hopefully, the criteria discussed here will help you evaluate which attorney is the best one for your case.