The Penalties of DUI Accidents: Driving under the influence can mean driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or both types of substances. No matter what type of substance is used in an offense, driving under the influence can cause serious injuries and property damage. In most states, DUI (or DWI as it is called in some states) is a misdemeanor charge. But, this can change if aggravating factors are present or if you’ve had multiple convictions within a specific time period. Aggravating factors can include injuries or property damage caused by DUI accidents, having a child in the vehicle while the offense is being committed, or having a blood alcohol level that is considered extremely high. Being knowledgeable about the consequences of DUI accidents can help you to better understand DUI law and perhaps help you avoid serious criminal charges.
How to choose a DUI Attorney?Before you hire a DUI lawyer, or any other type of lawyer, meet with him or her first. Most lawyers will not charge you to meet with them while you’re looking for someone to handle your case. Having a face to face meeting with your lawyer before hiring him or her is good for both the client and the attorney. You’ll want to hire someone you feel comfortable working with. A face to face meeting helps you determine whether or not you feel comfortable. It also helps the lawyer decide if he or she feels comfortable working with you and wants to take on your case. Before going to any consultations with lawyers (and you should consult with at least two lawyers before making a decision) do some research. The yellow pages is a good place to look for a lawyer but remember that the DUI lawyer with the biggest ad is not necessarily the best lawyer for you to hire. He or she is just the person with the biggest ad. You want a lawyer with DUI expertise and experience. The library is another good place to do research. Your local library should have a copy of the Martindale Hubbell law directory. The directory does its best to list every lawyer in the United States along with his or her area(s) of speciality. You can search the directory by either location or area of law each lawyer deals with. The directory is also available online. People you know can also be a good source of information regarding a good lawyer. Create a list of questions you want to ask each lawyer during the consultation so you can compare each lawyer equally before deciding who you would like to hire to represent you. A few questions you may want to have on the list you make are:
1) What percent of the cases you handle are DUI or impaired driver? (Remember that you want someone who is very familiar with the current laws in your state.)
2) What do you charge and what is your fee structure? (You’ll want to know the most you’ll have to pay as well as how much you have to pay upfront. Many DUI lawyers charge a flat fee, which is a set amount for your case whether or not it goes to trial. Some lawyers charge an hourly fee. Others have staggered fee structures that break things into phases. They may charge a flat fee up until trial. If the case goes to trial then there’s another fee to pay. If the entire fee is required upfront but you are financially unable to pay it all upfront ask if a payment arrangement can be worked out. It can’t hurt to ask. The worst answer you can get is “no.”)
3) What costs besides attorney fees will I be responsible for? (In addition to lawyer fees you may be responsible for things like court costs and filing fees).
4) Will you be the lawyer handling my case or will someone else in the firm be the primary lawyer on my case? (This question is especially important if you are consulting at a firm with several lawyers. Some people have been very frustrated when they found out the lawyer they consulted with wasn’t the lawyer who handled the majority of their case.)
These are just a few of the questions you’ll likely want to ask before deciding which DUI lawyer you want to hire.