A DUI is one of the most common criminal charges in Los Angeles. The State of California treats DUI very seriously, and the penalties are steep, but that doesn’t mean you can’t fight your DUI charge and seek a better outcome.
To do so, you’ll want to choose one of the best Los Angeles DUI attorneys to represent you as soon as possible. Here’s what you need to know about picking a good DUI attorney in the City of Angels.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer for a DUI Case?
The law is unforgiving, even for first-time DUI offenders. You can face a substantial amount of legal and financial penalties if you face DUI charges. To fight your DUI case, you’ll need a strong lawyer to help you do so, especially if you don’t have any legal knowledge or experience yourself.
Even though the odds are stacked against you, a lawyer can be a great equalizer that can prevent any penalties from negatively impacting your life. Not only are there legal ramifications to a DUI conviction, but you can also face points on the Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS), which can increase the amount you pay on your insurance premiums.
Overall, getting convicted of a DUI is costly, both socially, legally, and financially. Don’t find yourself in a tough situation just because of one mistake. You should always invest in finding a good DUI attorney to represent you both in and out of court.
Basic Tips for Choosing a Los Angeles DUI Attorney
Hiring a DUI attorney can help take the stress away from the DUI process. They’ll be able to look at your situation and advise you on the best course of action. You’ll likely face pressure from the prosecutor to plead guilty and be told it’s your best option. But a DUI attorney may have a different outlook.
Most of the time, an attorney will advise against you pleading guilty and recommend fighting your charge instead. This is why choosing the right attorney is so vital. Some essential tips when searching for a DUI lawyer in Los Angeles are:
- Always do your research before choosing a law firm to help you.
- Never believe in a lawyer that promises you a 100% guaranteed win or outcome in your case. Chances are, they’re dishonest and untruthful about your chances.
- You can always walk away if you don’t feel like the lawyer is a fit.
- Never get pressured into doing something you’re not comfortable with.
You want a professional who knows how to give you the best chance of ending this complex legal process with an excellent favorable outcome.
Always Start with a Free Consultation
Any lawyer will meet with you for a consultation, but not all offer it for free. You’re likely already stressed about the price of hiring legal help.
An attorney who provides consultation for free means no risk to you. You can meet with them and ask questions before deciding where to spend your money. Here are some tips for navigating the consultation:
- An in-person consultation is best. That way, you can get to know the attorney face-to-face.
- Bring all documents related to your case, including the police report and letters from the DMV.
- Be upfront and honest about your situation – the attorney is there to help you, not judge what you’ve done. Provide them with all the facts you can so they can give you their opinion on your case.
- Bring a pen and paper. Even if you don’t end up working with the attorney, they may provide important facts or advice you’ll want to remember.
This is also your chance to ask the attorney questions about their own experience and qualifications handling your unique case.
Make Sure Your Lawyer Is Qualified to Handle Your Case
Before you even schedule the consultation, it’s a good idea to check out the attorney’s website, online reviews, and overall reputation. Then, when you consult with them in person, you can ask specific questions like:
- What is your experience with DUI cases?
- How many cases have you handled, brought to trial, and gotten dismissed?
- What is your success rate?
- Will you be personally handling my case? (In some larger firms, a younger associate might handle your case. It may be okay, but you should be able to meet with the actual person handling your case too)
- What will be your strategy for my case?
Note that no attorney can absolutely guarantee a certain outcome for your case. They can certainly increase your chances of success, but nothing is for sure – and an experienced lawyer will understand this.
Check the Lawyer’s Background and History
You’ll also want to find out the attorney’s specific qualifications and background information. There are many important things to review, such as their licenses, their experience representing DUI clients, and their case history.
Only a licensed attorney can represent you in court. Make sure any attorney you choose is licensed to practice law in the State of California. It’s usually best to hire a local attorney since they will be more familiar with the local courts, prosecutors, and judges.
If the judge who sees your case actually knows the attorney and respects their reputation, they can potentially lead to a less harsh sentence (or chance of case dismissal) for you.
Training and Experience in DUI Cases
Always ask any attorney you consult with about their experience with DUI cases. Criminal defense attorneys will sometimes take on a variety of criminal cases.
While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s often more advantageous to work with a lawyer who focuses mostly on DUI cases. They will likely have a greater knowledge of the complexity surrounding these types of cases.
You want to be sure your attorney has your best interests in mind always. Look up their disciplinary records and make sure they’re in good standing with the California State Bar.
You don’t want to be represented by a lawyer with low ethical standards or no sense of morality. Choose honest, upstanding, dedicated, and intelligent attorneys to assist you.
Where They Went to Law School
The best law schools have accreditation by the American Bar Association (ABA). However, many great lawyers have attended less-recognized law schools.
Ultimately, the best evidence of their skill and ability is their track record in practice. However, you should always take into account the quality of their education as well.
Be Sure You Understand Their Fees and Pricing
The price of a DUI lawyer can vary depending on a variety of factors. It’s best to have a good understanding of the average DUI attorney costs for your area. Although a lower-cost attorney is tempting, it likely means they are less experienced or haven’t yet built up a strong reputation, and those are details that matter in the DUI case.
A lawyer’s total fee is determined by factors like:
- Their experience level (experienced lawyers will charge more)
- How complex your case is and your chances of winning
- Included costs, such as fees for subpoenaing evidence or re-doing chemical tests
- Their hourly fee
There’s no one “right” way to handle these details, but you’ll want to ask about them upfront, so there aren’t any surprises. You can also ask about options like payment plans or additional perks they offer. From there, you can make a more informed decision about hiring them or not.
Choose Someone You Trust
You should always feel good about talking to and contacting your attorney. They should make you feel confident about taking on your case, and you should sense a true interest in helping you.
Look at online reviews, talk to friends and family for recommendations, and make sure you feel good about the first consultation with any DUI lawyer. You should feel comfortable working with them, as you’ll need to be completely honest and open with each other throughout your case. You’ll also want someone who can explain legal information in a way you understand.
Ensure Your Lawyer Can Fight Hard on Your Behalf
Don’t settle for anything less than the best. Your lawyer should be able to:
- Help you gather evidence, review medical records, and review police reports.
- Help you get supporting testimony from experts and witnesses.
- Challenge the results of chemical tests.
- Examine the context of your case to see if any of your rights were violated.
- Request a split blood test.
- Examine all plea bargains to ensure they’re fair on your end.
- Handle all of your communications with other parties.
- Ensure all legal documents and requests get completed and properly filed.
Remember, an attorney does more than just represent you in court. You should get the full package of services or benefits or nothing at all. So always strive for the best quality attorneys when it comes to fighting against DUI charges.
Want a Free Consultation with a Los Angeles DUI Attorney?
As you can see, there are many factors to consider when looking for a DUI attorney. If you are facing a DUI, the time to look for a lawyer is now. Our Los Angeles DUI attorneys are here to help.
We’ll match you with the best person for your case. For your free consultation, call us or complete the form on this page today.