How To Choose The Right DUI Attorney
A conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) in Virginia can have consequences that follow you for years. This is true even when it’s your first conviction for DUI. Some of the potential legal penalties that you face include jail time, fines, suspension of your driver’s license, mandatory drug and alcohol education classes, and installation of an ignition interlock. A conviction can also keep you from getting a job or securing a place to live.
With so much on the line, you can’t afford to work with the first DUI attorney who comes along. You must do your homework and interview several potential lawyers to ensure you choose the one who can best defend you against this serious charge.
Prepare Interview Questions Before Your Legal Consultation
It’s understandable that you feel anxious to obtain a defense attorney as soon as possible. However, don’t allow this to force you to make a poor choice. You should take the time to interview at least three DUI attorney candidates before you even consider choosing one. Most law firms providing legal defense services, including Pack Law Group, offer this initial session at no charge.
After scheduling your appointment but before attending it, put together several questions that will assist you in determining which attorney has the best qualifications to meet your needs. Here are several questions that we recommend asking:
- What is your experience handling DUI cases? Even if you’re interviewing a criminal defense attorney, that isn’t a guarantee that he or she has experience defending clients against charges of drinking or using drugs and then driving. The attorney should tell you approximately how many cases he or she has handled as well as describe a typical defense strategy in DUI cases. The person you choose should understand that good people sometimes make poor choices. You should never feel judged for needing his or her help. If you feel that you’re innocent of the charges, it’s important to feel like your lawyer believes you.
- What specific defense strategies would you recommend in a case like mine? Every DUI case is different, and the last thing you want is a lawyer who takes the same approach to all of them. Explain the circumstances that led up to your arrest and see how the prospective lawyer responds. Look for someone who can respond quickly to the specifics of your situation while still demonstrating enough flexibility to take a different approach if necessary. It’s also a good idea to inquire about challenges in your case from the attorney’s perspective and what he or she would do to address them.
- Please describe your education and experience up to this point. Some DUI lawyers will have prepared a resume and other valuable information ahead of your meeting. While you don’t want to take a lot of time here if the information is in print, ask the attorney where he or she received an undergraduate degree and went to law school. You can also ask about any bar admissions or legal associations he or she belongs to along with the qualifications necessary to join or gain admittance.
- How will you communicate with me throughout my case? It’s important to know if the lawyer will be the one answering most of your questions or if you will usually go through a legal assistant. Additionally, try to establish a timeline of when you can expect return phone calls as well as periodic updates about your case.
- Do you have legal malpractice insurance? Have you ever received discipline from the State Bar? The answer to the first question should be yes, since this protects both parties in a legal case. If an attorney has received discipline, he or she needs to be honest about that so you can decide if you want to proceed.
We’re Open to These Questions and More
Matthew Pack and Christopher Dolen each have many years of experience providing criminal defense to clients in Lynchburg, Virginia and the surrounding areas. We are happy to meet with you to learn more about your case and to answer any questions that you have for us. Please contact Pack Law Group at 540-586-7225 to request your free consultation. If there’s ever been a time that experience matters, it’s now.