Drinking and driving is a serious crime. More than 1.1 million Ohio drivers have at least one conviction for driving while under the influence of something. That is nearly one in seven drivers. Driving under the influence (DUI) is considered by law enforcement and the courts to be a “pre-meditated” crime and is therefore punished and prosecuted more vociferously. The state DUI laws vary wildly from state. What it is called even varies. For some areas, the offense is the DUI. In places like Ohio, they call it “operating a vehicle under the influence” or “OVI.” Regardless of where you are of what they are calling it, no matter what the state DUI laws are, if you are pulled over and arrested, you need a good lawyer.
Even if you submitted to a breath test and failed it, a good lawyer can call into question that evidence. That is one of the reasons it is so important that you find the best lawyer for you and your situation. Find the best criminal defense attorney with these tips:
Ask your friends and relatives. Violations of state DUI laws are some of the most common arrests in the country. Every two minutes a person takes to the road under the influence. That means that although they may not have told you about it, you know someone who has been arrested, if not convicted, of this offense. If you find out that someone you know has been through this, find a discreet way to ask them about their legal representation. If you go to Alcoholic Anonymous meetings, someone there has definitely been arrested for a violation of state DUI laws. They may not mind telling you about their lawyer.
Look online. Check the American Bar Association website for how to finding a good attorney in your area. You can also look to Yelp! and Facebook groups to see if there are any great criminal defense firms in your area. Law practices have websites that you can check. Most cities and localities have Facebook groups dedicated to promoting local goods and services. If you do not see what you are looking for, ask the question and you will probably get an answer pretty quickly.
Check local law firms’ websites for experts in state DUI laws. When you are looking at criminal defense law firms, you should make sure the law firms you are thinking about hiring have experience working on DUI cases. It is not enough to hire a great defense attorney but you need someone who has worked on a lot of DUI specific cases. Like doctors, lawyers specialize. If you break your leg, you are not going to want to go to a cardiologist or even a back specialist.
Take advantage of the free consultation. All law firms offer free consultations for prospective clients. This is totally normal for them and is a bit part of how they do their business. You should write up a list of all of your questions and do not be shy about asking them. Do not feel badly about spending time with them and then going with another law firm, this is just too important to your life to just go with a law practice because you feel bad.
Questions to ask:
- How much experience do they have with DUI cases?
- What is their track record?
- Have they had any DUI cases that are similar to yours?
- How often do they settle and how often do they go to court?
- Do they have any current or former clients you can talk to? How about testimonials?
- What is their fee structure?
- What is covered in their fee?
- Who exactly will be handling your case?
- What support staff will be working on your case?
Being arrested for a DUI is a very scary experience. It is stressful and can make you feel like the life you have always known is over for good, regardless of the outcome of your case. The good news is that as bad as things seem right now, they will get better. No matter what happens with your case, things will get better. Do your research and you will find a great lawyer.