10 Tough Questions To Ask Before You Give Any Lawyer A Dime
1. What kind of cases do you handle?
Many attorneys handle many different types of cases such as divorce, personal injury, contracts, wills, as well as criminal defense. With the complexity of the law and its rapid changes, it would be difficult for any attorney to master all of these fields. Some attorneys specialize in a particular type of case such as criminal defense or even DUI defense. It’s very important to choose an attorney whose main practice of law is DUI if you are charge with a DUI. Think about this: you don’t go to a dentist to fix a broken arm. Both are doctors, but one knows how to fix teeth and another specialized in fixing broken arms.
2. How long have you been practicing in the specific field of DUI law?
Attorneys obviously get better with practice. The more strolls down the path, the more familiar it becomes. To be safe, choose an attorney with 8 or more years of experience.
3. How many DUI cases have you handled?
This is probably the most obvious question to ask. Choosing an attorney who has handled hundreds of cases like yours is important. Since many attorneys handle several different kinds of cases, they may not have the opportunity to be in court every week or every day on DUI cases. The best results can come from an attorney who handles DUI cases daily.
4. Do you always return phone calls?
Make sure he or she does. The most common complaint of clients is that the attorney stops communicating. You deserve answers when you want to know.
5. Do you offer a 24-hour telephone answer-line for people and what are the hours you are available to answer my questions?
Some attorneys answer their telephone during normal business hours and other after hours. It’s important do find an attorney who is willing to speak to you when it’s convenient for you. Also, should you get arrested, you need to be able to get a hold of your attorney to try and get you out of jail in the middle of the night or over a weekend.
6. What does your retainer cover?
Most retainers on drunk driving offenses cover the administrative hearing and representation in the criminal courts. It generally does not cover the cost of any appeals that might be advisable. Most attorneys charge in two very different ways. Some offer a flat rate retainer, which will cover all costs of basic representation. Others charge an hourly fee. You will be charged for all time the attorney spends on your case whether it be phone calls, filing motions, researching case law or appearing in court. In any case, get a written estimate from the attorney, or if you hire him or her, make sure you have a signed retainer agreement outlining the terms of your agreement.
7. Which judges are better for this type of case?
The attorney you chose should have a clear answer on his choice for certain judges handling certain kinds of cases. There are often vast differences on how a judge conducts a trial and typically handles sentencing. This probably the most telling question; if the attorney stumbles over this one, he probably doesn’t have enough experience to find out.
8. Do you always appear in court or do you have associates who may appear?
Many attorneys employ younger associate attorneys. Quite a few also send those associates to appear for you when you are expecting the attorney you hired. Set the ground rules for this type of conduct at the very beginning. It’s my opinion that if you hire an attorney, that attorney should personally appear in court to represent you.
9. Do you have expert witnesses available may testify on my behalf?
Attorneys who practice regularly in DUI defense use expert witnesses to support their client’s cause. If an attorney doesn’t know any expert witnesses, it’s likely that he have not gone to a jury trial on many (or any) DUI cases.
10. Will you come see me in jail?
If you are in jail and have hired an attorney, your attorney should be more than happy to see you in jail. If not, this may not be the kind of attention that your matter needs. Find an attorney who you are comfortable with, who treats you with respect and makes your matter a priority.