Hire a DUI Lawyer in California
Being charged with driving under the influence or DUI in California is probably one of the worst things that can ever happen to you, whether if you're drunk or sober. Having said that, once you're charged, your best bet is to look for a reputable defense lawyer specializing in DUI cases. There may be a law firm across the street or five minutes away from your house, but proximity shouldn't be a criteria when picking a DUI lawyer. So, what should be your standards and requirements?
- First off, be sure that the lawyer is trained and licensed to practice law in California. DUI laws per state may vary – the harshest probably belong to California. If you're looking at a list of lawyers right now, look at where they graduated and licensed to practice in. If they lived in California in all their lives and for the major part of their careers, add them to your shortlist. They key word here is familiarity – a lawyer that has been living in California knows everything there is about DUI laws.
- Find out if he specializes in DUI laws. Although you can get any criminal defense lawyer to help you out, the best option is to always go for one that has tackled and specializes in DUI. California has a high rate of DUI cases, despite the harsh laws and penalties. It may not be hard to find a lawyer that tackled cases like these before, but it would certainly be a benefit to you if your chosen lawyer handled dozens of cases like this before. Never ever get a divorce lawyer to defend you on your DUI charge. Just don't.
- Check their background and favorable outcomes. Although experience is a good thing, if most of his battles don't have a favorable outcome, eliminate that lawyer from your list. Your lawyer must have BOTH experience and victories under his belt. What constitutes a victory? Well, it could be a junked case, a felony reduced to a misdemeanor or anything that went in the favor of his or her client, like instead of a jail sentence, the client only received hours of community service and hundreds of dollars in fines instead of a jail sentence.
- Search for Reviews and testimonials. There are currently a number of review and rate websites in the Internet for lawyers. These websites allow former clients and peers to rate the lawyer. If your chosen lawyer has a profile in these websites, then immediately look at it. These sites will give an idea on how the lawyer practices, like if he or she truly cares for his or her clients or if he or she doesn't care at all. Reviews and testimonials also tell you how established and respected the lawyer is in the society.
- Check their Credentials and Associations. Always choose a lawyer that has gained a reputation in certain organizations in California, like the California DUI Lawyers Association, California Attorney for Criminal Justice and the California Public Defenders Association. Aside from credentials, also take a look at the lawyer's licenses – he or she may not be a legit lawyer in the first place!
- Check Internet rate and review websites.
- Do preliminary interviews with your shortlisted lawyers.
- Give them a call!