Questions to Ask When Hiring an Atlanta DUI Attorney
A DUI in Atlanta carries harsh penalties. A first-time offender could spend at least 24 hours in jail. You could get up to 12 months of probation and face a fine of up to $1,000. You could be required to perform at least 40 hours of community service. In addition, you could lose your license for a year, take part in an alcohol or drug rehabilitation program and be subjected to an alcohol or drug clinical evaluation. If you’ve been charged with a DUI or DWI in Atlanta, you need to find an experienced Atlanta DUI attorney to protect your rights.
To find a qualified DUI attorney in Atlanta, you need to interview attorneys to make sure the lawyer you choose is the right fit. But if you've never before hired an attorney, you may not know what to ask. This article will provide you a list of key questions to ask potential DUI/DWI attorneys in the Atlanta area.
Schedule an initial consultation with each lawyer you're considering for your case. An initial consultation allows you to meet with a lawyer and discuss your case with him. It’s a prime opportunity to question the attorney to ensure he is a good fit for your needs. He should be able to explain how he can help should your DUI case go to trial, or how he would recommend resolving the case without a trial.
Meeting with an Atlanta DUI attorney
Prepare for your initial consultation by doing the following:
- Write down the details of your case.
- Bring a list of questions to ask the DUI lawyer. (Sample questions are provided below.)
- Bring a pen and notebook to take notes during the consultation.
- Bring any important documents that pertain to your case.
The following questions are broken down into four groups: Experience Questions, Case Assessment Questions, Case Management Questions and Legal Fees Questions. Though each question may not pertain to your particular case, it will give you a guide as to what types of questions you should be asking before hiring an attorney.
First, ask potential attorneys about their DUI/DWI experience and education.
- How long have you been a DUI lawyer?
- Where did you attend law school?
- How much experience do you have handling DUI cases?
- What is your success rate in handling cases such as mine?
- Do you have a list of references that I can call?
You will be given the opportunity to briefly describe your situation to potential lawyers so they can better understand your case. In turn, ask them questions to make sure they are properly equipped to handle your case.
- Have you ever handled a DUI case like mine?
- What has been your success rate in handling DUI cases like mine?
- Could you explain the process for handling a DUI case in Atlanta?
- What is your strategy for handling this type of criminal case?
- Could you provide me with potential outcomes to my case?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of my case?
- How long do you think my case will take to resolve?
- What type of approach will you take to resolve my case?
- Will I have to go to court, or are there any other ways to resolve my case?
The following questions will help you better understand a lawyer’s process in handling a DUI case.
- Will you handle all aspects of the case or will other associates or employees be helping you?
- Who handles the research, case preparation and court work for my case? If it’s fellow employees, what are their qualifications?
- Who will be making court appearances?
- Whom should I contact if I have any questions?
- When will the lawyer be available for meetings?
- How often will I be updated about my case?
- What’s the best way to reach you?
- How long will it take you to get back to me?
Legal Fees and Expenses
Hiring a lawyer can be an expensive endeavor. Make sure you know how the lawyer charges for his time before you retain him.
- What type of fee arrangement do you have?
- What’s included in the attorney’s fee?
- What other fees will I have to pay for? Am I responsible for witness fees, court costs etc.?
- Will you put our fee arrangement in writing?
- How often will I be billed?
- Do I have to pay a retainer?
After the Initial Consultation
It’s important to take notes after each meeting with DUI lawyers to assess the pros and cons of each attorney and their offices. Ask yourself the following:
- Did you understand what the lawyer was talking about?
- Did the lawyer answer questions openly and directly?
- Did he take notes during the consultation?
- What did you like or dislike about the attorney?
- Is the DUI lawyer available to help you?
- Are you OK with the fees he will be charging to work on your case?
- Did you feel comfortable with the attorney?
- Does the lawyer have sufficient experience to help you win your case?
- Could you access the law firm easily?
- Was parking or public transportation available?
If you are having difficulty in deciding on an Atlanta DUI attorney, call the references provided. Ask former clients if they were happy with how the lawyer handled their case. Most important, ask if they would hire the attorney again or if they would recommend the lawyer to their friends.
It’s important to make sure you are comfortable with the attorney you choose. If you don’t agree with a lawyer’s strategy in pursuing a case, their rates or the amount of experience they have with cases like yours, do not hire them. Remember, there are no wrong questions when it comes to your personal welfare.