9 Questions to Ask DUI Lawyers Before You Hire Them
You’ve been charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in Virginia. Now you are faced with securing legal representation to help you fight these serious DUI charges. How do you know which attorney will best serve your needs?
Here are 9 questions to ask any potential Virginia DUI lawyer to help you determine if their experience and competency is right for your case.
How long have you been practicing?
You should not be satisfied with “X years” as an answer. You don’t just need to know how long they have been a “lawyer,” you need to know exactly how long they’ve worked as a Virginia DUI lawyer. Virginia’s DUI laws are different from other states and your lawyer should have ample experience with DUI in Virginia courts.
What is your experience with DUI cases?
Many lawyers focus on a number of criminal areas. You need to know if your attorney has extensive DUI case experience – not that they just “dabble” in it.
Which lawyer in your office will be handling my case?
Don’t assume that the person you are talking to will actually represent you in court. Some law firms “share” cases, which means they may appoint anyone in their office to handle your case. Find out who will be actually sitting beside you in the courtroom. You don’t want a kid fresh out of law school defending you in court.
When and where have you been a prosecutor before?
A DUI defense lawyer with prosecutorial experience can be a great asset because they know how the state will formulate its DUI case against you. However, be sure to ask the attorney where they have prosecuted cases – in a small, quiet county or a larger jurisdiction where DUI cases may be more commonplace.
How many jury trials have you argued?
You may need to go to trial in order to successfully fight a Virginia DUI charge. If a lawyer has spent most of their time at a desk instead of in a courtroom, this does not reflect well on their experience.
Has the State Bar ever disciplined you?
Like with the medical field, the state maintains a body that oversees those who practice law and handles any appropriate disciplinary action. If a lawyer has been punished by the state bar, it speaks poorly about their competence and integrity.
What legal costs might I incur in addition to your fees?
Your case may require expert witnesses, investigators, and other outside assistance. You need to know what these costs are up front instead of being surprised when you see the final bill.
What are the challenges in my case?
A good Virginia DUI defense lawyer will be able to spell out the weaknesses as well as the strengths in your case. Nonspecific answers to this question may be an indicator that the lawyer does not know what they are doing.
How will my case turn out?
This is a logical question to ask. But you should know that no lawyer can promise a positive outcome in any DUI case. So be wary of anyone who guarantees a positive verdict or favorable plea bargain.
Your Virginia DUI defense lawyer is the biggest thing standing between you and jail time, a hefty fine, and/or a driver’s license suspension. So be sure you have hired the right lawyer to represent you as this decision can change your life.