A DUI (driving under the influence) charge is a really serious thing to face, and a conviction has both short and long term effects. So, long after your driving license is pulled for a set period of time, you’ve paid out for all related fees and fines, and taken the punishment (which could be anything from community service to a jail sentence), be prepared for lots of DUI related problems for many years to come.
The long term influence of a DUI conviction
There are lots, and they include:
• High insurance premiums – these are likely to be applied to any vehicles you purchase or rent post-conviction. They can easily be three or four times higher than they would be without a DUI.
• Possible loss of your driving license – for at least a couple of years. This could easily lead to you losing your job if you cannot get there without personal transport, and/or social isolation from both family and friends.
• Problems finding employment – or changing jobs if a background check is required. Some employers may be more understanding than others, depending on the type of work involved. The same thing applies to renting a property if the landlord does background checks on applicants.
• Difficulties finding a job – especially if it involves driving. So that rules out the obvious roles like cab or truck work, and sales or delivery jobs, and there are lots more which are less obvious, but still need a sober and responsible person on board.
• Awkward relationships with people you know – It’s natural to feel ashamed of a DUI, to believe you have let people down, and to avoid seeing them which can easily mean you drift away from support networks. Then there are your colleagues and boss –who may be less than understanding or forgiving than you would like. In some cases simply having the conviction is enough to allow termination of employment contract.
• Being passed over for scholarships – a DUI conviction can be a huge problem if you decide at any point to apply for a scholarship.
So considering that there is so much at stake with a DUI charge, doing all you can to avoid a conviction is extremely important; and for that you need a top-flight DUI Lawyer.
Tips on how to find an outstanding criminal defence lawyer to fight your DUI charge
Tip #1 – Where possible choose a criminal not a civil attorney
Unless you live in an extremely small or isolated location where the one lawyer around does practice both, you’ll find most specialize in either civil or criminal law. Civil attorneys often work in large forms, housed in a building with many colleagues, while a private criminal defence attorney will usually be found working solo or in a small company, and focus their workload on the county/state they are based in. A criminal defence lawyer has the experience you need.
Tip #2 – Hire local
Preferably choosing an attorney who has worked cases in the same courthouse your case will be heard in. This has the huge advantage of your attorney being familiar with how things work there, how the local prosecutors approach their cases, and lots of other useful insights which could give you an advantage when your case comes to trial.
Tip #3 – Choose an attorney with DUI case experience
Don’t assume that all criminal defence lawyers have practical experience with DUIs, as they do tend to specialize in a handful of areas which they can then do really well. No one lawyer could ever get a huge amount of experience in every single possible criminal law charge.
Don’t be afraid to ask a potential attorney for your case about their specialist experience, and (if relevant), if they have studied for any related license.
Tip #4 – Pick a criminal defence attorney you feel comfortable with
You need to be able to trust them, to be open, and feel able to share everything you need to, that the attorney involves you in the case, and really listens to what you have to say. The best outcomes tend to come from cases where the attorney was genuinely invested in their client.
Tip #5 – Work with someone who explains everything
An outstanding criminal defence attorney will happily guide you through the process ahead and explain all the options; from plea bargaining to understanding the possible outcomes – and all in a language you can understand.
Tip #6 – Look for transparent fee formulas
Any decent criminal defence attorney will have a fee scale which is always transparent, and both fair and affordable. You should never be subjected to vague agreements or open-ended charge plans without at least some form of ceiling officially in place.
Where are these amazing lawyers?
They are out there, you just need to do some legwork to find them. Beginning your search with extremely local companies is a great idea, and if you feel able to explain why you could easily ask friends and family in the area for recommendations. Even if they have no direct experience of using a criminal defence lawyer for themselves they may have contacts who know of someone.
There are official directories of lawyers, The General Bar Law Directory, which can be accessed to check on someone’s background, education, training and experience if you have a few names to research. There are also several lawyer review sites which may be useful.
Choosing an outstanding criminal defence lawyer to defend you on a DUI charge could be one of the most important decisions you ever made in your life – so give this search the priority, time and effort that it deserves. Don’t settle for someone who doesn’t make you feel confident about the outcome, or doesn’t take the time to explain everything at all stages so you are always genuinely involved. Remember the attorney you choose should be: local, certified, experienced, approachable, and of course, successful.