If you were charged with driving under the influence (DUI) recently, you are probably worried about what happens next and about what the eventual outcome of your case will be. The odds are also good that this is your first brush with the criminal justice system since most DUI defendants are otherwise law-abiding citizens. The best thing you can do to alleviate some of those concerns is to hire an experienced DUI defense attorney to represent you. If you have never needed a criminal defense attorney before, the following tips will help you pick the right DUI lawyer for your case.
- Think about how you want to resolve your case. This may seem like a strange place to start since you probably assume that every criminal defendant’s goal is to avoid a conviction; however, that is not actually the case. Some defendants know they cannot avoid a conviction or don’t want to take the risk of a trial. For those defendants, their goal is to negotiate the best guilty plea agreement possible under the circumstances. For other defendants who are willing to risk a trial, the goal is to avoid a conviction. Because some DUI lawyers focus more on negotiating plea agreements and others on taking cases to trial, it helps to know exactly what you want out of an attorney before you start your search.
- Ask for referrals. Although you may not be comfortable discussing the details of your arrest with friends, family members, and/or co-workers, these people may be your best source for a referral. Most people have either had their own brush with the law, or have a close friend or family member who has at some point in time. First-hand recommendations are so valuable that it really is worth it to ask as many people as you are comfortable if they have one.
- Check local, state, and national Bar associations. Bar associations are another excellent resource when looking for the right attorney. For example, the Omaha Bar Association offers a lawyer referral service Likewise, the Nebraska Bar Association also has an attorney directory that may be of assistance.
- Research online. Although it is not wise to base your decision to hire an attorney solely on what you read on his/her website, the reality is that in the 21st century it is rare to find an attorney without an extensive internet presence. This allows you to find out a wealth of information about the attorney by perusing his/her website and even doing your own mini background check. At a bare minimum you should be able to find out what type of cases the attorney focuses on, how long he/she has been practicing, and other basic information from a website.
- Request consultations. Once you have managed to make a list of several potential candidates, narrow down that list to the top two to four choices based on everything you have done to date. Since most attorneys offer free, or low cost, initial consultations, make an appointment with two or three. Because they are often free, however, you may have a limited amount of time to talk to the attorney so some prepared and make the most of your time. Have a list of questions typed out and ready so you don’t forget anything important or get side-tracked during your consultations.
- Evaluate your options. Ultimately, your final choice should be based, at least in part, on your intuition. Out of the final few attorneys with whom you consulted, who felt like the best fit? Did you immediately “click” with one of the attorneys? Did one sound more positive about a viable defense? Conversely, was there one you can rule out because he/she simply rubbed you the wrong way? Did one of them try and encourage you to take a plea agreement without even considering a defense? Consider the same analysis for office staff as you will interact with your attorney’s staff more than with your attorney in most cases.
Contact a Nebraska DUI Lawyer
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in the State of Nebraska, contact an Omaha DUI lawyer at Petersen Law Office 24 hours a day at 402-513-2180 to discuss your case with an experienced DUI defense lawyer.