If you were recently arrested and charged with driving under the influence, or DUI, in the State of Nebraska you are undoubtedly concerned about the outcome of your case and how that outcome will impact your future. Being concerned is wise as a DUI conviction can have a number of far reaching negative consequences above and beyond any sentence handed down by the court. The most important step you can take at this point is to choose the right DUI attorney to represent and defend you. If you have never been charged with DUI before, however, you likely have no idea where to begin finding the right DUI lawyer for your case. Ultimately, the decision is yours to make; however, the following steps may help you make the best decision for you and your future.
- Ask friends, family members, and co-workers (if appropriate) for a referral. Understandably, you may be reluctant to discuss your situation with people you know. Being arrested and charged with a crime is usually not something people are excited about sharing with others. In this case, however, you will likely be surprised at how many people you know who have been through the same situation, or have a loved one who has. Each of those people likely has had an experience with a local DUI attorney as a result. A referral offers you first-hand information about an attorney. You may not find your attorney through a referral but at the very least you will likely get a list of names of attorneys you don’t want to hire based on negative experiences people you know had with the attorney.
- Contact local and state Bar associations. Another excellent source of lead are the local and state Bar associations. The Omaha Bar Association has a website dedicated to helping people find the right attorney for their legal needs. The Nebraska State Bar Association also maintains a searchable list of attorneys that can provide you with specific information about an attorney.
- Research the internet. In the 21st century, it is rare to find an attorney who does not have a significant internet presence. By no means should you rely solely on the internet to locate and hire your DUI attorney; however, using the internet to research DUI attorneys in your area can save you a considerable amount of time and frustration. Most attorney websites provide at least basic information such as the attorney’s bio, years in practice, and areas of practice. One thing to pay particular attention to is the percentage of the attorney’s practice that appears to be focused on defending DUIs. An attorney has the freedom to practice in as many, or as few, areas of the law as he/she chooses; however, if you are being prosecuted for a DUI you don’t want an attorney who only devoted 10 percent of his/her practice to criminal cases defending you. Ideally, you want an attorney who focuses the majority, if not all, of his/her practice on criminal cases.
- Schedule consultations. By now you should have a decent list of potential candidates. Take the time now to narrow down the list to the most promising two or three. Schedule consultations with those attorneys. Most attorneys offer free, or low cost, initial consultations so take advantage of those policies.
- Prepare for your consultations. Preparing for your consultations will ensure that you maximize the limited time you have with each attorney. Make copies of all pertinent documents and prepare a list of written questions to ensure you do not forget to ask anything important. One of the most common (and important) questions you should ask each attorney is what the attorney’s “game plan” will be if you hire him/her.
After your consultations, you should feel confident that you will choose the best DUI attorney for you and your case.