When it comes to the law, you will always want the best representative on your side – especially in the case of a drunk-driving charge. There are many DUI attorneys in Tampa, but not every one can achieve great results for you. A great DUI lawyer should have impeccable credentials and relative experience, but should also be a good fit for your personality.
Here are 10 things to consider as you hire a great DUI lawyer in Tampa:
1. Criminal defense lawyers should have criminal law experience. It’s unlikely that the same lawyer who drew up your will could defend a drunk-driving charge. A great DUI lawyer works on cases like yours every day. That’s who you want to defend you.
2. Your lawyer should explain your options thoroughly. What are the benefits of the plea bargain? Why might you want to go to trial? A good lawyer will examine all aspects of your case. For example, can you assume the breath test rules were followed? It can be expensive to go to trial, but there are consequences to pleading guilty, too. Your lawyer should share this information with you.
3. Courtroom experience is important. The lawyer you choose should have experience defending cases just like yours in court. He or she should know the best strategies. For example, some expert DUI attorneys believe clients shouldn’t be put on the stand because it shifts the jury’s focus from determining reasonable doubt to the determining the defendant’s credibility. Ask about your lawyer’s strategies.
4. Hire locally. If you are facing a charge in Tampa, hire a defense attorney in Tampa. This person will best understand the specifics of the jurisdiction where you have been charged.
5. Your lawyer should not make any guarantees. Period. There is no way to promise you a certain outcome. However, a great DUI lawyer will put his or her best effort into your case. If your lawyer is making lofty guarantees, walk away.
6. Be sure the fee is comparable. If not, you may have reason to be suspicious. A quality lawyer with top experience will charge more than a newcomer, but the fee should be in the ballpark with similar attorneys.
7. A great lawyer isn’t a one-man-show. Meet the other professional staff in your lawyer’s office, such as the administrative team, paralegals, and other lawyers who might work on your case.
8. A good criminal lawyer should make you feel comfortable. If you feel pressured one way or another, this lawyer may not be a good fit for you. A great lawyer will be investigative. He or she will ask questions about your case – not simply tell you what to do.
9. Ask around for references. A great DUI lawyer also has a great reputation. Because a lawyer can’t win every case, you may run into disgruntled clients when asking around. But a great attorney will receive more positive feedback than negative.
10. Look for someone who loves what they do. It will be obvious when you first meet with a prospective lawyer whether they are good at what they do by how they act. If they are short with you, appear not to care, or aren’t listening to your story, they likely won’t work for you. Hire someone with passion for their work.
Remember that defending a DUI charge isn’t simple. You may be tempted to represent yourself, but you are considerably minimizing your options if you do. In this case, what you don’t know will hurt you. A great defense lawyer in the Tampa area can help.
Have you ever had to hire a lawyer to defend a drunk-driving charge? What characteristics did you look for when finding a lawyer?