If you have never been through the DWI process before, you are probably wondering how to choose a quality DWI lawyer that will truly fight to protect your rights. Additionally, not knowing what to look for in a defense lawyer makes the task of finding the right lawyer extremely difficult. Here’s what you should look for when shopping around for a defense attorney.
- Extensive Training & Certifications
- Experience Handling DWI Cases
- Confidence & Commanding Presence
You need a professional who can evaluate both factual and legal defenses to your DWI, compel the government to produce any reports, videos, or other evidence, and know how to attack the government’s case.
Hiring a quality criminal defense lawyer is probably the single most important decision you can make. What attorney you hire to defend you can be the difference in winning and losing your case. When your life, liberty, and job are at stake, you need the best defense lawyer fighting for your rights.
Regardless of which criminal defense lawyer you hire, you should feel comfortable with your attorney. Start your search by insuring that your lawyer is a DWI specialist – someone that devotes the vast majority of his/her practice to defense. Their constant experience with DWI cases makes tailored to your specific needs. You certainly don’t want a lawyer that is unfamiliar with how to defend a DWI because he or she only handles a case like yours.
Find an attorney who focuses exclusively on defending DWI and DUI cases.
Additionally, you should look at the experience your lawyer has both in and out of the courtroom. Make sure your attorney spends a great deal of time in the court where your case is pending and that he or she has handled many cases in front of the judge in your court – you want an attorney familiar with where your case’s outcome is to be decided.
DWI law is one of the most complex areas of law. The laws are constantly evolving and changing with each opinion of our appellate courts. Your lawyer needs to be familiar with the current state of the laws pertaining to your case. A quality lawyer has to use the law, science, and careful examination of the government’s witnesses to protect your Constitutional rights.
Just as importantly, get references. For example, the defense attorneys at Johnson, Johnson & Baer, P.C. have represented clients referred by judges, other criminal and civil lawyers, police officers and former clients. These referrals speak for themselves – let a successful defense lawyer assist you through your experience.
Always meet your lawyer face to face to discuss your case. Do not hire an attorney over the phone. If an attorney promises you a result in your case or seems too good to be true, be cautious – have them put the guarantee in writing. You should never feel pressured or bullied into hiring a lawyer to defend your case. Any attorney that demands that you hire him or her on the spot should be avoided.
Finally, hire the defense lawyer you feel has the best credentials and who provides you with the most information about your case. Ask a lot of questions and demand answers – don’t let the lawyer side-step around what you need to know. Your attorney should be able to provide you with extensive information and demonstrate his expertise in the field.
Don’t hesitate to ask lawyers about their credentials – remember this is your license, your future, and your freedom.
List of Questions You Should Ask Your Defense Attorney
- How many cases have you handled?
- How many Jury Trials have you had in the past 12 months?
- What percentage of your practice is dedicated to defense?
- Are you Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization?
- Do you belong to the National College for DUI Defense?
- How long have you dedicated your practice to defense?
- Do you have a reputation for going to trial or pleading cases guilty?
- Do you have experience in investigating and litigating a case?
- Do you handle the ALR and Driver’s License Hearing yourself?
- Who will be in court with me – a partner or an associate?
- Am I eligible to receive an occupational license if my license is suspended?
- What are the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests in a case?
- Have you received training in the proper administration of the Field Sobriety Tests?
- Are you trained and qualified on the proper use of the CMI Intoxilyzer 5000?
- Do you own an Intoxilyzer 5000?
- What Continuing Legal Education (CLE) courses have you attended in the past year?
- Do you attend updates for the Intoxilyzer 5000?
- How many officers have you cross-examined in a jury trial?
- What will the cost be for a quality defense lawyer?
Your lawyer should be able to readily answer any and all questions about yours. If you sense hesitation on the part of the attorney you are interviewing, that attorney probably does not devote the majority of his/her practice to defending DWI / DUI cases.