If you have been charged with a DUI in the Miami area, the first thing you should do is consider hiring a defense attorney to represent you. While it’s not mandatory that you have a lawyer, you should at least talk to a few attorneys in your area to find out what they can do to help you avoid the most serious penalties. When you talk to a DUI defense attorney, you should be prepared with questions, and he or she should be more than willing to answer them.
Questions to Ask a Potential DUI Defense Attorney
One reason for taking the time to meet with several potential lawyers is to get a feel for their personality and whether you think you can work with them. You might be feeling scared and desperate, but it’s important that you find the right match. A good attorney will be more than happy to answer the following questions:
What is your experience with DUI cases?
DUI is actually a highly specialized area of criminal defense law. There are possible defenses that only experienced DUI lawyers are familiar with. You want an attorney who takes these cases as a regular part of their practice, not one who has handled a few and is willing to take yours on.
What penalties am I facing?
DUI penalties in Florida depend on a number of factors, including your blood alcohol content and your history of DUI. Given this information, a DUI attorney should be able to tell you without hesitation what penalties you face and where you are likely to fall in the range of possible fines and jail time.
Will you be handling my case yourself?
Be wary of firms that advertise a “team approach.” You don’t want to talk to a different person every time you contact the firm. With many high-profile firms that advertise on TV and billboards, you never even meet the lawyer who is the face of the firm. You want a commitment that the lawyer you meet in your consultation is the lawyer who will be with you every step of the way.
Will I be able to get in touch with you throughout the case?
You will have questions and concerns throughout the legal process, and your lawyer should be available to help you whenever you call. Find out upfront about the best way to get in touch with your attorney and how long you should expect to wait for a response. Avoid law firms that take on more cases than they can handle.
How much will it cost to defend a DUI?
Defense attorneys charge fees in different ways, so you want to find out how fees will be charged and whether there will be additional costs on top of the attorney fees. At the Izquierdo Law Firm, for example, we charge a flat fee for DUI cases. Once I hear the details of your case, I will quote you a fee, and that will not change, even if we go to trial. I will also let you know if you can expect extra costs, such as investigators, transcripts, experts, filing fees, and other charges. It’s important to understand, however, that a qualified, experienced DUI attorney will not be cheap.
Will you be able to get my charges dropped?
This is kind of a trick question. If you ask an attorney this question and he promises you an acquittal, he is not being honest with you. Defense lawyers should never promise a particular outcome because there is no way to predict what will happen. You don’t want an overconfident lawyer who tells you what you want to hear. You want full disclosure and a reasonable assessment of your chances.
What challenges do you see in my case?
This is a great question to get a feel for how prepared the attorney is to handle your case. This is also another opportunity to test their honesty. An experienced attorney should have an excellent idea of the legal hurdles you face and what those could mean to the outcome of your case.
Anything else you want to know!
The point is, an initial meeting with an attorney is your chance to get all the information you need to find the best attorney for your case. There are no stupid questions, and the attorney should encourage you to ask as many questions as you want.
Do You Need A Miami DUI Defense Laywer?
If you find yourself charged with DUI in Miami you need to speak with an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible. Please contact me online or call my Coral Gables office directly at 305.707.7345. You should also download my free book "A Six Pack Of Questions That Can Cause A Hangover After A DUI Arrest". This free download provides valuable information and answers to questions about DUI charges that can give you the best chance at winning your case.