A DUI arrest is a serious legal matter that can have both immediate and long-lasting negative consequences. As a result of a DUI conviction, a person can lose his or her license, become incarcerated and have a permanent criminal record. For all of these reasons, it is important for a person with a DUI charge to choose the right criminal defense lawyer. There are a number of different things that a person should consider when choosing a DUI lawyer.
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Though all attorneys are legally allowed to defend a person charged with DUI, not all of them have the experience needed to present a proper defense. For example, an attorney who focuses on real estate transactions may not be well informed on the latest DUI related court decisions, the newest testing technology and proper field sobriety test procedures. This lack of experience could result in a client being wrongly convicted or being given a heavier sentence than normal.
Local Court Familiarity
Attorneys are licensed by state and can work anywhere with-in that state. However, having an attorney that is familiar with the judges and court system in a specific area is an asset to his or her clients. When choosing an attorney, a person should find one that has extensive experience working in the specific court where the charges will be heard as the attorney will likely be better able to negotiate a settlement or argue the case.
Like anyone engaged in business, it shouldn’t be surprising if an attorney has a past client or two that is unhappy with their work as it simply isn’t possible to please everyone. However, numerous complaints with the state bar about an attorney may be an indication of a problem. A client should check with the bar in his or her state to find about any complaints against a prospective attorney.
As with any other professional relationship, a person should choose an attorney that he or she is comfortable working with on a regular basis. An attorney and client who clash personally are unlikely to work well together and obtain a favorable ruling for the client. An attorney should be open to discussing the case, should listen to the client’s story and take the time to answer any questions that the client may have about the case.
Almost all DUI convictions will result in a suspended driver’s license. However, a competent lawyer will be able to assist a client in recovering his or her license. To do this, a person convicted of a drunk driving offense will likely need to obtain SR-22 insurance before getting a new license. This insurance is a form of auto insurance for high risk drivers that includes a direct reporting to the state about the validity of the insurance. An experienced lawyer will be able to help a client obtain the proper SR-22 coverage and assist the client through the licensing process.
By carefully considering the choice of lawyer to represent a person’s interests who has been charged with a DUI, a person will be able to minimize the impact the arrest will have on his or her life. This will help him or her to learn from the mistake of drunk driving without being unduly punished as a result of not having an effective legal defense to protect his or her rights.