Is It Important To Shop Around As A General Rule Of Retaining Lawyers?
It is important to shop around. If someone comes into my office and is not quite sure about what they want to do yet, I always encourage them to get a second opinion and I tell them what to look for. Sometimes they will say, well I have an appointment with another attorney in an hour and I might ask them who the other attorney is; the other defense attorneys around are good people and I’ll say go talk to them. They will give you their opinion and make sure you are comfortable with them because that is important.
You have to have the ability to communicate with your lawyer and that communication involves speaking freely with them. Having a good rapport with them, being able to get them on the phone or have then willing to meet you at their office or wherever. It is really important to get someone who you think is knowledgeable, someone that can explain to you what is going on.
I have talked to people who said, “Well you are not the first lawyer I have spoken with,” and I say, “That’s great! Do you have any questions for me?” We’ll go through and I’ll answer their questions and I will ask them questions, and one of the first things that I ask them is, “Have you done the request for the driver’s license training yet?” and often they will say, “What do you mean? The other guy didn’t tell me about that or didn’t know about that.” It is important to get a couple of different opinions and look around.
Is Hiring A DUI Lawyer A Matter Of Quality?
Yes. It is definitely a matter of quality. How long have they been practicing? Are they focused in some narrow areas of law with DUI defense? Things like that.
If I Retain A Competent DUI Attorney, Could I End Up Saving Money in the Long Run?
When people think about costs of an attorney, they might just think about the court fines, and maybe the cost of getting their car out of the impound and the cost of getting out of jail. If you are just looking at that narrow list of things, then you might think you don’t even need an attorney since the expense won’t be that much. When you factor in the decreased earning ability due to a criminal DUI conviction – in Utah there is a 10 year waiting period to get a DUI expunged off your record – that’s more of an expense. So you have to stay in your current job or hope you don’t get laid off or want to get a promotion where they are going to check into that.
Then you factor in the auto insurance premiums increases for a DUI conviction, plus the alternative transportation costs if your license is suspended. You have the costs of the expungement, and possible costs of an ignition interlock device installed on your car for up to 18 months. There are probation costs, and also sometimes you have to pay for a probation officer to monitor you to make sure that you are complying with the court’s order. Then there is your driver’s license reinstatement fee.
When you add all those in, they say that if you total up those costs it comes to around $110,000. On the other hand, if you retain a high quality DUI defense attorney the minimum you’re going to pay for that is around $3,000. That can go all the way up to seven or eight thousand dollars depending on whether the case is a misdemeanor or a felony. So the cost will be between $3000 and $8,000 for a good attorney, versus $110,000 without one. Mathematically, economically it does not work out not to go with a quality experienced DUI attorney.
Can An Attorney Guarantee Me a Victory In A DUI Case?
Rarely do we know for certain and can guarantee a victory, and I would be wary of any attorney who promised that. Unless there was some blatant technicality that was right on the citation like the person’s breath alcohol was .02 or something like that and the facts were straightforward, there are too many variables involved. A lawyer should not be promising 100% victory without having first entered on the case and received the DUI report, looked at the video, and even then there is no guarantee of victory. So that attorney is most likely just trying to get you to sign up with them because they are desperate for your money.
For more information on Shopping Around for Lawyers, a free initial consultation is your best next step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (801) 554-5220 today.