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Should I Hire a Lawyer?

If you have been arrested and charged with any of the following offenses, it’s a good idea to hire a local lawyer who specializes in criminal defense or drunk driving cases:

  • driving while intoxicated (DWI)
  • driving under the influence (DUI)
  • operating while intoxicated (OWI)
  • operating a vehicle impaired (OVI)
  • driving while ability impaired (DWAI)

A criminal defense attorney who is experienced with drunk driving cases will try to minimize the consequences of a DUI offense. Their knowledge and skills can mean the difference between getting a plea bargain or going to jail, between a finding of not guilty or losing your driver’s license. To minimize your chances of facing serious legal jeopardy, you should consider hiring a top rated DUI lawyer near you.

What Happens in a Police Officer Suspects You of DUI?

If a police officer suspects you of impaired driving, they have probable cause to pull you over and have you undergo a series of tests, including a breathalyzer and field sobriety test. These types of situations often arise from the sight of the car swerving or speeding on the road, the smell of alcohol or drugs, or even just a routine traffic stop like a broken tail light or illegal u-turn.

When an officer performs a breathalyzer test, they attempt to measure an individual’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC), and whether its within the legal limit. Although the consumption of substances affects everyone differently, the law assumes a person cannot drive if their BAC is at least 0.08 percent. The field sobriety test, which is used to observe a driver’s balance, physical ability and attention level, will also be performed. It consists of three different tests – the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test, the Walk-and-Turn Test and the One-Leg-Stand Test. If you fail the breathalyzer or field sobriety test, then the police officer has the grounds to arrest you.


Will I Be Charged with a Misdemeanor or Felony?

While the defendant is typically charged with a misdemeanor for their first offense, you may be charged with a felony if you’ve already been convicted of drunk driving or you got into an accident that lead to someone getting hurt and/or property getting damaged.

How Can an Experienced DWI Lawyer Help Me?

Operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol is against the law in all 50 states. If you operate a vehicle while intoxicated, it’s treated as a serious offense and is punished accordingly. A DUI conviction can come with harsh consequences, including future hardship that may affect your personal and professional life. You may lose your drivers license, pay large fines, or spend time in jail. An experienced DWI lawyer can help you challenge aspects of your arrest (such as breathalyzer results, blood tests, and chemical testing procedures) to avoid conviction or reduce fines and jail time.

It is especially important to contact an attorney if you are charged with a felony. Because you need someone who can handle the specific issues of your case in an efficient manner, a general criminal defense firm may not suffice for a felony charge, unless one of the lawyers specializes in DUI law. An attorney who specializes will give you the best chance of avoiding the most serious sentences.

How to Hire the Best DUI Attorney Possible

No matter what area you live in, you’re likely to find numerous attorneys who specialize in DUI related cases. With so many options near you, how do you know if you’re choosing the right lawyer? In order to be sure you are getting the best legal representation possible, you’ll want to consider the following tips:

  • Hire a local attorney who is familiar with the courts, judges, and prosecutors that will be handling your case.
  • Make sure the attorney has a clean record and is in good standing with the State Bar Association.
  • Make sure the attorney is licensed. To check whether they are licensed to practice law in your state, visit your State Bar website.
  • Find an attorney who specializes in DUI and traffic law. The duration of a lawyer’s career isn’t necessarily the deciding factor here – instead, look at their experience representing clients with similar criminal charges. An attorney with highly relevant experience may already have information on how to beat the charge or at the very least, mitigate the consequences. If the situation is complex, they’ll be able to provide expert legal advice and can recommend the best way to move forward.
  • Seek personal recommendations and referrals from people you trust. A recommendation from someone you trust, like a friend or family member, can often be the best way to go. Since they’ve used the attorney previously, they’ll be able to tell you about the overall process, how the attorney performed, and what the outcome was.
  • Find out how successful the attorney has been at defending his or her clients in the past. To uncover this information, try searching for ratings and reviews online. There are several websites that allow clients to provide feedback on the performance of the lawyer.
  • View the lawyer’s LinkedIn profile. Their professional LinkedIn profile may display additional client reviews, work history and credentials.
  • Meet the attorney in-person. Meeting a lawyer face-to-face will help you get a better sense of their professionalism and overall demeanor, which in turn will make you feel more comfortable and confident in your decision.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Attorney?

A criminal defense attorney tends to bill differently than a personal injury attorney. While it’s common for personal injury attorneys to accept a contingency payment, criminal defense attorneys generally require an up-front deposit. What is a reasonable cost for you will depend on several variables, including the type of fee structure used by the law firm, the type of legal resolution you are seeking, how complex your situation, and whether or not you want to go to trial.

There two types of fee structures used by DUI attorneys – hourly and flat rate. If a lawyer bills by hourly rates, then you are being billed on an hourly basis for their legal services. This type of billing is advantageous to those who don’t want to end up overpaying for legal work if their matter is resolved quickly. If the lawyer charges by a flat rate, then you pay a single fee for their representation, no matter how complex your representation becomes. Flat rate fees are often the best and lowest cost option, as attorneys will frequently offer discounts for paying larger fees up front. If you’re interested in determining which option is more affordable for you, set up a free consultation today.

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