The process of selecting a criminal or DUI lawyer to work with can be a difficult task. Although it may seem easy to simply call any one of the countless lawyers to choose from in the yellow pages or on the Internet, it is important to take the time and effort to find the best possible attorney to represent you.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The most qualified lawyers will welcome your questions and answer them patiently, and will even take it as a sign that you’ve done your homework. The best way to find a good attorney is to meet with them in person and to ask the right questions before hiring one.
Background and Experience
Always ask lawyer about their background and experience. Ask them about how many years they have been in practice, how much experience they have with criminal and DUI cases, and if they have any experience with cases similar to yours. You should be able to work with someone who has real experience and expertise in DUI and criminal law.
See what potential lawyers have to say about your case. Ask about what factors work against you and which factors work in your favor, as well as what course of action they recommend you take. If you have any questions about the different phases of the legal process, ask them and see if they are able to explain things clearly and knowledgeably.
Get an idea of how your case will be handled should you decide to go with a particular attorney. Will the attorney be the one handling your case or will he or she be handing it over to somebody else? Who will be representing you in court? Who can you contact if you have questions, and how soon can you expect a response? Also ask about status updates and how often you can expect to receive them.
A lawyer should be upfront with you about how much your case might cost. Ask potential lawyers about their billing methods, what their rates include, payment plans, and what other legal expenses you will still need to pay. If possible, ask for an estimate. Be wary, however, if a lawyer quotes legal fees over without first getting to know you and the facts of your case.
Reviews & References
When you’ve narrowed your search down to two or three attorneys, research review on sites like AVVO.com, FindLaw.com and LegalReach.com and/or ask them to give you references. Call these references to get a better idea of their trustworthiness and legal skills.
After meeting with potential attorneys, use your instincts and common sense to evaluate the remaining lawyers on your shortlist. You want to be comfortable with your attorney, and be confident in his or her skills. Finally, choose the lawyer you feel will do the best job for you.