A charge of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a very serious matter. In many states, an arrest alone means your driving privileges are at the risk of suspension during the time your case is being prosecuted. You can count on substantial fines and fees, exorbitant insurance rates, and possible jail time to follow a conviction.
You could expect to be contacted by an attorney or legal firm in the days immediately following a DUI arrest. The attorneys solicit your business with a common message: You must move quickly to preserve your driving privileges before they are suspended, and you should choose their firm to represent you against the charges.
The stress of a DUI charge and the serious ramifications of a conviction can push people to retain the first lawyer that contacts them. You should be prepared to ask questions before hiring the services of a DUI lawyer. Here are four things to know.
It is likely that you will hire a local law firm to handle your case. It is also likely that the firm you retain for your case may be a large one with many attorneys, assistants, paralegals, and other staff. The attorney you meet with may not be the same one who represents you in court.
One of the first questions to ask in your initial consultation is whether the lawyer you are consulting with is the one who will handle your case. You’ll want someone who will represent you from start to finish, even if they assign others to evidence gathering and other aspects of your case. Make it clear that you want someone prepared to stand with you, especially if you plan to fight the charge, and that you don’t want a lawyer passing your case on to another colleague who is less familiar with your situation. You may want to consider another attorney if this firm cannot give you a definitive answer.
The cost of hiring the services of an attorney to represent you in a DUI case is not cheap. Many attorneys let potential clients know how much they charge for a DUI case as part of their pitch for your services.
You will want to ask the legal firm how much it charges and whether it will accept installment payments. The attorney may request an initial payment from you to work on preserving your driving license, and proceed with investigation and evidence collection once the cost for legal services is paid in full.
A ruling against you in a DUI case will be life-changing, so you would want the firm that represents you to have experience with DUI clients in a courtroom. Not all of them do. Inquiring a DUI attorney about its defense record in court will give you an idea of what to expect when it comes to your case, especially if you are determined to challenge the charge. Ask if they are familiar with the judge and prosecutor involved in the case and if they have experience in negotiating the best possible resolution in a DUI case. It helps to know how many DUI cases the attorney or legal firm won in court, and how many were settled with a plea deal.
You should know everything about your attorney before the consultation and signing an agreement to retain their services. The last thing you want is a lawyer to represent you who has faced his or her share of disciplinary actions or complaints. The state bar association will have that information, so do your research when looking for an attorney. For the best DUI lawyer in Anne Arundel County, MD, contact Ortega Law, LLC.
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