It may have been the same old weekend, where you’re having fun with your friends over a couple of beers. It all seems harmless since you aren’t hurting yourself or anyone else.
However, during the drive home, you realize that you may have had one too many drinks after recovering from swerving on the road. To compound the issue, a police officer saw what happened and pulls you over.
Next, they ask to see your license and car registration. Additionally, they may also search your car and conduct roadside tests if they see signs of impairment. If they’re positive that you’re drinking while intoxicated (DWI), you may land yourself a case against the state.
With this, you must hire a reliable DWI attorney. Here are some questions you need to ask:
Will You Be Handling My Case?
If you approached a law firm, you need to talk to a representative of their DWI team. Ask them if they will be the one to handle the case or if the task will be delegated to someone else.
You should ensure that the person you’re consulting will be the one to process your case to save you time from having to answer case-related questions again. Moreover, you may have established rapport with the representative already, so it makes sense that they will support you throughout the legal proceedings.
Do You Specialize in DWI Cases?
Aside from asking if they will be handling your case, you should also question them about their background and experience. Law is a broad field, with many subcategories. It’s impossible even for the best lawyer to master all aspects of the law.
While all legal professionals are equipped with soft skills, such as organization and analysis, a personal injury attorney may not be the best person to approach for DWI cases. This is because they may not have gone through extensive training about this particular branch of the law.
Sometimes, a lawyer may also have specialized training or additional certification in DWI law. One accreditation is from The National College for DUI Defense (NCDD), while other states like Arizona developed a program for attorneys to become a DUI or DWI specialist.
Have You Appeared in My Jurisdiction’s Court?
States and cities have their own set of rules and policies for processing DWI cases. These jurisdictions also have multiple judges, who may have different preferences for their court proceedings.
Asking this question gives you an idea if a potential lawyer is familiar with the policies of your jurisdiction. Knowing the right people and their strengths can help your attorney land the best outcome for your case.
What is Your Assessment of My Case?
The initial consultation must clarify the legalities of your case. You’ll be asked to provide them with the necessary documents on the charges and evidence against you. This information allows them to give you feedback on your options.
Ask a potential lawyer whether it would be better for you to plead guilty, get a plea agreement, or go to trial. You can also inquire about the aspects of your case that work for you and against you so that both of you can brainstorm solutions.
What are Your Fees and Preferred Payment Arrangement?
Lawyers charge different fees. They also have diverse payment methods and preferences. You have to find an attorney that provides quality services at an affordable rate.
These are the typical fee arrangements used by lawyers:
- Flat Fees – In this setup, the attorney names a fixed price for their services. The payment would reimburse them for all the work that they need to do for your case.
- Hourly Rates – Most lawyers use this payment arrangement. With this, they charge clients for each hour that they spend on your case. Aside from knowing their hourly rate, you should also ask for a time estimate so that you can anticipate the overall legal cost.
- Contingency Payment – Some attorneys opt for contingency fees, where they ask for a percentage of the amount awarded if you win the case. However, this arrangement isn’t typically used for DWI cases.
If you find yourself with a DWI case, you should immediately contact a lawyer who specializes in this branch of law. Before hiring them, though, you have to ask questions to determine their background, experience, and specialization. You can also consult them about their assessment of the case. Lastly, you have to know their preferred fees and payment arrangement so that you can estimate the total cost of their legal services.