Three Important Considerations.
It shouldn’t be a coin toss…
1. Criminal and DUI Courtroom Experience
The legal market is flooded nowadays. The job market is tough for young, new lawyers. Some are forced to take on cases they don’t have much experience in. I can’t say that I blame them, and, the rules of professional responsibility allow them to do so. You have to start somewhere.
But you, as a prospective client, a person who has been charged with DUI or another criminal offense, don’t have to just start somewhere. And you shouldn’t simply flip a coin.
Your case is important to you. It should be. Most of my DUI clients have never received more than a traffic ticket.
Regardless of who you choose, you should lean towards lawyers who have experience in this area. Several do. Many don’t.
I have been practicing for over thirty years. I have prosecuted DUI cases as the Charleston City Prosecutor, Since 1986, I have defended thousands of DUI cases and several felony DUI cases.
I have lectured on DUI defense topics all over the country to other lawyers at seminars. More information is on our website.
2. DUI, Criminal Defense, Toxic Torts and Neurosurgery?
Some lawyers are “jacks of all trades” and do well at it. Early in my practice, I realized that my experiences as an FBI agent and prosecutor were of great use in criminal defense. So I began to focus on that area of the law. In 1999, I was Board Certified in Criminal Trial Advocacy by the National Board of Legal Speciality Certification and remain one of four South Carolina lawyers who are allowed to hold themselves out as “specialists” in this area.
Focusing on DUI and criminal defense has proved me experience I could not have otherwise obtained. This experience assists me in seeking the best results for my clients accused of a DUI or some other crime. A criminal lawyer best gets experience by trying cases-and I have tried many. From capital murder to DUI first offense.
3. Meet the Lawyer and Interview Him or Her
I have always believed that if a lawyer doesn’t take the time to meet with a client, instead of just quoting a fee over the phone, an important relationship cannot begin properly. I find that when meeting with a client, in my office, without being rushed, I have the chance to decide if I will take a case, and the prospective client has the opportunity to decide if they want me to represent them. The lawyer-client relationship is critical to achieving success for the client.
There are also three other aspects you should consider when choosing a lawyer for a DUI or other criminal case.
1. A lawyer should expect you to ask him or her about his experience and knowledge of DUI and Criminal Defense and be happy to answer those questions
2. This is the internet age. Marketing in all professions and industries has changed drastically. Point is, anyone can buy their way to Google’s first search page these days through the Google Adwords program. Or, they can pay thousands of dollars to website experts to ensure that they land on the first page of Google or other search engines. Or, they can pursue marketing efforts to place high on your internet search for a DUI or Criminal Defense lawyer.
But you need to ask yourself, do I want a lawyer who “markets” well, or one who has years and years of experience and specializes in this area?
While there may be lawyers who have extensive experience and who do market themselves well, landing on the first search page alone does not have anything to do with experience.
3. A lawyer should not lure you in by making suggestions that he or she can get your DUI or criminal charge “dismissed” or “reduced.” DUI and Criminal defense is hard work. Every client and every case is different as are jurisdictions where your case might be prosecuted. No lawyer can or should suggest that they know how your case will conclude until he or she has fully discovered and investigated your case within the context of the personalities involved, the particular court and the law that applies.
Lastly, choosing a lawyer is an important decision-potentially life-changing. Take your time. Ask questions. Demand clear, informative answers. Choose well.