Hiring a DUI Defense Attorney – Questions you should ask

In previous posts to this Blog we have discussed things to consider when selection the “best” lawyer for your individual DUI or Drunk Driving case in Las Vegas.  In this post, we offer you some insights as to the types of questions you should ask your potential Nevada DUI Defense Attorney when you meet with him or her for the first time.  While this list is not meant to be all inclusive, the following can be very helpful:

What areas of law do you focus on?

Many people think that “all lawyers are the same.”  This is simply not the case.  Every lawyer has different training and experience.  More importantly, there are HUNDREDS of various areas of specialization within the law.  While a person may be the best real estate lawyer in your State, he or she may be the worst at litigating a case in Court.  There are literally 100′s of stellar civil litigators in Nevada, many of them don’t know the first thing about defending a criminal case and know NOTHING about the best way to defend a DUI charge.  Choosing a lawyer is no different than choosing a doctor – –  If you had a stomach ache, you likely wouldn’t go to dentist.  DUI charges are unique and require focused training and experience.   While an attorney may tell you when you ask “Yea, I handle DUI cases” – – make sure the lawyer you select focuses a large portion of his or her practice (at least ¼ of the cases he or she handles on a regular basis) on Drunk Driving/Driving Under the Influence/DUI and related charges.

What kind of experience do you have?

It is very important that you select an attorney who has legitimate courtroom experience in DUI cases.  Ask your potential lawyer about his or her relationship with the judges who preside over DUI cases, the prosecutors who are bringing your case against you and the court staff in the departments who will be present during your case.  Ask your lawyer if he or she appears in these courts on a regular basis and if they have tried cases in criminal courts.  If your lawyer can’t answer “yes” to these questions and cannot quickly recite examples of cases they have handled, they probably aren’t worth your time.

What kind of training do you have?

You should always ask the lawyer you are interviewing if he or she has taken it on themselves to receive specialized training in the field of DUI law.  As with most professional fields, lawyers are required to undergo ongoing professional education on a yearly basis, known as “continuing legal education”, or “CLE” for short.  While attorneys can attend whichever CLE schooling the want, a top DUI attorney will focus his or her CLE credits on education related to DUI law.  These CLE courses ensure that your lawyer has received the latest and best training in issues including, but not limited to police procedures, drug and alcohol resting and constitutional law specific to DUI investigations and arrests.

Can you guarantee me a certain outcome?

This may be the most important question to ask your DUI lawyer to determine if he or she is legitimate.  A less than ethical attorney who is just trying to get you to pay his or her fee may try and guarantee an outcome in a DUI case.  If this happens, DO NOT hire the lawyer and simply walk out of their office.  Nothing is every guaranteed in any criminal case, Driving under the Influence cases included.  More importantly, to guarantee an outcome for a client is a violation of a lawyer’s ethical obligation to their client.  It is simply impossible for a lawyer to know what the outcome of a will be, especially during an initial interview with a prospective client.  A top DUI Defense Lawyer will likely be able to inform you , based on his or her experience, training and knowledge, what you can expect in your case and what defense are available to you, but you NEVER want a lawyer to guarantee you ANYTHING other than they will do everything in their power to help you in your case.

Will I be able to talk to you personally?

While most lawyers make themselves available to you when they first meet with you, it isn’t as easy to speak to them once you have signed a retainer agreement and paid their fee.  Make no mistake, it is imperative that your lawyer employ competent and friendly staff responsible for administrative aspects of your case, but you should be able to discuss legal issues in your case directly with your lawyer.  One of the most important qualities of your lawyer is that he or she cares about you and your case.  The best DUI lawyers sincerely care about the outcomes of the cases they handle and the people they represent.  A good DUI lawyer cares about you and your case.  Make sure that the lawyer your hire has a policy to respond to emails personally and to return phone calls in a timely fashion.

If you have been arrested for a DUI, or know someone who has, we are here to help you.  At our law office, we care about our clients and their cases.  We often achieve great results for our DUI clients and know that a DUI conviction can have serious consequences and we do everything in our power to help those facing these difficult charges.