Hiring a DUI attorney is never an easy decision. You’ve probably seen numerous advertisements from attorneys today alone or at least throughout the week. If you’re reading this blog, you’re on the Internet, where you can find countless attorneys that practice in the same areas. Once you’ve narrowed your search down, you’re probably wondering “Can this attorney help me and how?”
Thus, we’ve made a list of the top 4 questions you should ask an attorney you’re looking to hire for DUI charges and added some bonus ones at the bottom.
1. How many DUI-related trials have you had in the last year?
This is a pretty easy one. If your lawyer is not actively trying cases, they are not going to get the best deal for you or be able to handle a complex trial as well as attorneys who are actively trying DUI charges. It’s only when the prosecution realizes they are going up against a trained adversary with a winning record, that the good deals get thrown on the table.
If you lawyer is not able to negotiate for you from a position of strength, then don’t expect any reductions, plea deals or even dismissals.
2. How many similar cases have you handled?
Just because an attorney had not had a case exactly like yours before, it doesn’t mean they aren’t qualified to handle your specific situation. A good attorney has mastered everything they need to know to get great results, regardless of the circumstances.
Your attorney should be familiar with the type of case with which you are charged. If you’ve been charged with a DUI and blood was drawn, your attorney must know all about Gas Chromatography and the science used to test your blood.
This means that your attorney should be certified in the fundamentals of Gas Chromatography, Enzymatic Blood Testing, Standardized Field Sobriety Testing, Pharmacology, and Human Performance. They must have also attended training in a lab and be able to handle the complexities of these cases.
So be sure that your attorney has experience in the general type of case and make sure that he or she has the training necessary to deal with any science related to it before hiring them. You especially want an attorney who has actually used the machines that your blood is tested on, as they are intimately familiar with their faults.
3. What additional certifications do you have?
Is your prospective attorney trained in Standardized Field Sobriety Tests? Does he or she have certification in Chromatography? Do they attend training at local, state, and even national seminars? Have they actually taught at any seminars? Do they have a history of being a national speaker?
While checking with an attorney for additional certifications (a Jurist Doctorate isn’t always enough!), also be sure to check their ratings on trustworthy sites such as www.avvo.com. Avvo rates attorneys on a variety of factors, including their years of experience, engagement in the law community, and quality of client testomonials. Click here for Brian Manchester’s Avvo profile, where he is given a 5/5 rating.
4. What national, prestigious organizations do you belong to?
Does your attorney belong to any national organizations? Are any of the organizations by invitation-only? Does he or she teach at any of these organizations?
Attorneys who attend national organizations are the most likely to keep track of new developments in DUI defense. While the law is always changing, so to are defense practices. Attorneys who attend invitation-only events and even are asked to teach at events, are those who are recognized by their peers for their exceptional knowledge and history of trying cases.
Other Questions to Ask Your Attorney
1. Do you regularly take cases to trial across the state?
2. Have you ever operated the testing equipment used by the state and private labs?
3. Do you have the practitioner’s certification in Standardized Field Sobriety Testing?
4. Are you recognized locally and nationally?
5. Do other attorneys refer DUI cases to you?
6. Does you belong to any non-defense related scientific organizations?
7. Have you ever gotten any court decisions with a state-wide impact?
8. Does you have documentation (proof) of any of this?