Last week we posted a Guide to Hiring the Best DUI Lawyer in which we briefly discussed some questions you should ask the DUI Lawyers you are considering to represent you on your case. In this weeks post we will look a little deeper into 4 of some of the most important questions to ask a DUI Attorney when in the hiring process.
1. What is your office policy when it comes to returning phone calls and responding to emails from clients?
Communication and being kept in the loop concerning the status of your case is a huge priority. You already have enough to worry about when you’re charged with a DUI. One thing you should not have to worry about is having your calls returned. You should not need to “guess” about the status of your case, what’s going to happen next, or when it’s going to happen. In some cases, particularly at larger law firms, the phones are never answered directly. Calls are always screened by administrative staff. Leaving messages, playing phone tag, and guessing about when you’ll receive answers to your questions are all problems that you shouldn’t have to worry about. At a minimum, be sure that your lawyer or a well-briefed, informed paralegal is available to speak with regarding your case during normal hours. If you have an emergency after hours or if you happen to call when they’re legitimately busy, ensure that their office adheres to a strict 24 hour call or email response policy. Often times, lawyers will suggest the use of email for smaller questions because your lawyer is able to answer your question or respond with a prompt email update instantaneously.
2. Have you or has anyone in your law firm ever worked for the prosecutor’s office?
This is a unique question that you may not think to ask. However, DUI Defense is serious business and you need every additional resource and insight working on your side. Think about it, if your defense attorney has experience in the prosecutor’s office, especially experience in the same state, you’ll have someone defending you who knows what types of attacks to expect. Your attorney will also have a better understanding of the prosecution’s angle and exactly what they need to PROVE against your case. Additionally, a former prosecutor, particularly a former local prosecutor, is much more likely to hold a higher level of credibility in the eyes of the current prosecutor.
3. Who will be handling my case? Be sure to ask if the same attorney you meet with will be the same person handling your case the whole way through. If the answer is no, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Often times, a law firm utilizes a team of researchers and legal professionals to put several minds to work on your case. The main point – Be sure that your lawyer communicates the process to you and that you have a clear understanding of how your case will be handled. Be comfortable with their process, but most importantly, be comfortable with their willingness to explain to you what’s going on. The type of open, clear communication you receive initially is indicative of the type of communication you should expect from your attorney throughout the duration of your DUI proceedings.
4. If you’re charged with DUI in Florida, you’ve likely blown into the Intoxilyzer 8000 at the police station. Ask your lawyer if he/she ever tried a breath test case before, and if so, did you win? Breath test cases and their results are extremely technical in nature. It is possible that the State of Florida will produce an expert witness to testify that the Intoxilyzer 8000 was reliable and functioning properly on the day you were administered for a breath test. However, there are a number of nuances and technicalities that an experienced DUI Defense lawyer can expose in defense of your case. An experienced DUI defense lawyer who has had successful breath test defense cases is just another asset to your overall case defense likelihood of a favorable outcome or drop in charges. While this might not be a determining factor in your choice of representation, it can be a helpful item. If your lawyer answers no to this question, ask him/her which strategies have worked for their clients in the past and why they value those approaches. Alternative approaches may be well suited for you depending on the variables of your case.
Finebloom and Haenel – DUI Defense Lawyers Serving Florida
The Florida law offices of Finebloom and Haenel concentrate in the area of DUI Defense. Our attorneys possess over 20 years of experience in the Florida courts. We also possess experience working for the Florida prosecutor’s office (Remember Question #2?) This experience has proven invaluable and has helped us successfully negotiate reduced charges on the behalf of many of our DUI Defense clients. Call Finebloom and Haenel today for a free case evaluation. Let our experience work for you! 1-800-FIGHT-IT