In 2016 alone, police arrested and charged more than one million drivers in the United States with driving under the influence. That number fluctuates from year to year, but one thing is for sure: thousands of drivers end up making mistakes that can cost them their license and force them to endure a complicated legal process.
If you’re one of them, you know that finding the right DWI attorney is the best thing you can do for your case and your future. Unfortunately, finding a trustworthy and reliable attorney isn’t always simple.
You need to make sure they have your best interests in mind every step of the way. So, what should you look for when scheduling consultations with legal professionals? Here are a few qualities that your attorney needs to possess.
- Experience With DWI Cases
Before you schedule a consultation with any attorney, you need to make sure they’re familiar with cases like yours. Look for professional that have proven history working with DWI cases in your area.
This way, you’ll have confidence in their ability to represent your interests properly. Even better, they’ll know which arguments to make and can argue on your behalf based on the state’s laws.
If you choose an attorney that’s familiar with other areas of law, you may not get the type of representation you need or deserve. They won’t understand the ins and outs of the law as it relates to DWI and DUI cases. This puts the success of your case in jeopardy and increases the likelihood of you suffering a more severe punishment.
Reputable and experienced attorneys advertise their areas of expertise both online and in print ads. When you call to schedule a consultation, let them know what type of situation you’re in. Ask if they have experience as a DWI defense attorney.
If they do, schedule a consultation. If they don’t, keep looking. You can even ask them for a referral for a more qualified attorney in your area.
- Wonderful Communication Skills
It’s an attorney’s responsibility to argue your case in front of the court. This means they need to be able to communicate your side of the story clearly.
Pay attention to the attorney’s communication skills as you start your search. They should be responsive to your questions and concerns. They should take the time to get you the information you need to better understand your position.
The best attorneys will communicate with you quickly anytime you reach out to them.
Pay attention to the way the support staff and the attorney act when you schedule a consultation. The best attorneys will take the time to ask you questions and learn about your case before they decide if they can help you.
If you feel that the attorney or their legal support staff isn’t communicating with you or doesn’t show interest in your case, keep looking. If you work with a non-communicative firm, the chances are good that they won’t argue your case effectively.
- Affordable Rates
No matter what type of legal problem you’re having, you’ll need to pay your attorney for their services. Different criminal defense attorneys charge different rates. Those rates can depend on the complexity of your case, the attorney’s experience working on cases like yours, and what’s normal in the area.
Before you make a decision, ask each attorney you’re considering how they bill for their work and what their average rates are like.
They should explain these in detail. Some attorneys may charge a flat hourly fee for their work while others may operate with a sliding scale based on your income and your financial wellbeing.
Keep in mind that you’ll want to compare the rates offered by several attorneys. Though you’ll pay more for a more experienced DWI defense attorney, you need to choose an expert that you can afford in the first place.
- A Local Office and Law Practice
There are many attorneys that operate on a statewide or national basis. While these services are convenient and allow you to secure often cheaper legal representation, they’re not ideal.
Remember, the law varies from state to state. You need to choose an expert that’s familiar with the laws in your area. By picking an attorney with a local office and law practice, you’ll know that your legal team will be able to represent your case more effectively.
Even better, local offices are easier for you to get to while juggling your other commitments. If you’re having to drive out of town to attend in-person meetings with your attorney, the further away their office is, the less time you’ll have to take care of your daily responsibilities.
If you can, choose a legal professional that’s local to your city or county. This way, your commute to their office will be short and you’ll be able to swing by easily as needed.
- Willingness to Answer Questions
The best DWI attorney will take the time to answer your questions as patiently and thoroughly as possible. They know that you’re new to dealing with lawsuits and court cases and it’s their responsibility to make sure you understand your rights.
If an attorney dismisses your questions or refuses to take the time to respond, you’ll need to keep looking. Remember, questions are normal and asking them is something your DWI lawyer should encourage.
The better you understand your situation, the easier it will be for you to navigate the legal process. Even better, most attorneys find that making sure clients know what’s going on every step of the way makes it easier for those clients to provide the information they need.
Pay attention to the way each attorney you meet with responds during your consultation. If you find that you’re driving the conversation and are receiving only vague answers, keep looking.
- Curiosity About Your Case From the Beginning
Attorneys do far more than just answer your questions. They need to take the time to understand your case in detail before they agree to represent you.
Listen to the types of questions the attorney asks you during the consultation. They should try to get as much information about your case and your personal history as they can.
If the criminal law attorney doesn’t ask questions or lets you control the flow of the entire conversation, keep looking.
Every case is different. When your lawyer doesn’t show an interest in your case and doesn’t ask you questions, they won’t be able to represent you in court as well as you deserve. However, if the attorney takes the time to get to know you and asks detailed questions, they’ll likely do a better job.
- A Detailed and Successful Track Record in Court
If you think your case will go to court, you need to hire an attorney that has proven experience arguing in front of a judge. Believe it or not, some attorneys—even ones with decades of experience—have never argued a case in court.
Choosing one that’s not familiar with the process puts you at a disadvantage. Ask each attorney you’re considering about their courtroom experience. If they represent cases in court, find out what their success rate is like.
While no attorney will have a history of winning every case, the more successful their arguments are, the better.
- A Stellar Reputation
One of the most important things to look for when choosing a DWI attorney is their reputation both in the legal field and in the community at large. Do research before you agree to work with them.
Read up on reviews online and see what others have to say about their work and their knowledge of the law. If most of the reviews are positive, you’ll likely have a good experience working with them. However, if most of the reviews mention the same types of issues, you’ll end up experiencing them yourself.
It’s also a good idea to ask for references from each attorney. These references are former clients who can provide you with insight into the attorney’s work.
Follow up with those references. If most of them would hire the attorney again, consider working with them. If most are dissatisfied, keep looking.
- A Personality You Mesh With
A large part of a successful client-attorney relationship is the ability of the attorney to get along with the client. You don’t have to choose a professional that you could be friends with. You just have to choose someone you’re comfortable working with.
Think about how each attorney makes you feel during the consultation. If one puts you more at ease than another and they have similar experience, choose the attorney you like most.
Look for These Key Qualities When Searching for a DWI Attorney
If you’re in need of legal assistance to help you get through a DUI or DWI charge, start looking for an experienced DWI attorney as soon as possible. The sooner you do, the easier it will be to mount a case in your defense.
Just make sure to look for these important qualities when speaking with legal professionals. When you find an attorney that has them all, you’ll know that you’re in the best hands possible.
If you’re worried about an upcoming court date or just want to learn more about the law, check out our latest posts for more guidance.