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Things to Know When Hiring a Maryland DUI OWI Lawyer

If you are looking for a lawyer because you've recently been arrested in Maryland for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you may be overwhelmed at all that you need to learn. This article will focus on the most important tips for finding the right Maryland DUI attorney for you.

In Maryland, drunk driving is sometimes known as driving while intoxicated, or DWI, operating while intoxicated, or OWI, or driving under the influence, or DUI. If you are facing OWI charges in Maryland, you need to know that the criminal justice system can move quickly. You don't have much time to find a lawyer.

The steps to find a lawyer seem on the surface simple: Get some names, interview the attorneys, hire one of them. But to find the best Maryland DWI attorney for you, you need to know what to look for. We have tips for you on each step of the process.

Getting the Names of Maryland OWI Attorneys

There are several ways you can gather the names of some recommended Maryland OWI lawyers. You can ask your family members, friends, and work associates. If one of them has ever hired a Maryland DUI attorney, you'll want to know what they thought of the experience. Did their lawyers do a good job? Did they get the results they wanted? Would they hire them again if needed?

If you're hesitant to talk about your recent arrest with people you know, you have another resource at this website. Whether you are in Bethesda, Baltimore, Towson, or any other part of Maryland, Attorneys.com offers a service that can connect you with a Maryland DUI lawyer.

Call us at 1-877-913-7222 or complete the short form on this website to start the process. Upon answering a few questions, we'll forward the name and contact information for at least one Maryland OWI lawyer near you.

Feel free to contact the lawyer directly, or he or she will follow up with you within two business days.

What's at Stake

Under Maryland DUI laws, if you've been arrested for drunken driving, you face:

  • Revocation of your Maryland driver's license
  • Possible prison time
  • Fines
  • Installation of an ignition interlock system

You need a criminal defense lawyer who has represented many clients facing charges similar to your own.

Conducting the Interview: Experience Matters

Most DWI lawyers in Maryland are willing to meet with you to introduce themselves and review your case. You can use this time to learn about the attorney's background, discuss your legal options, and, most importantly, determine which lawyer you want to hire.

To find out about the attorneys' experience, ask about how long they've been defending clients against Maryland OWI charges. How many clients with similar charges do they represent each year? If they practice in other areas of the law, you might want to know how much of their time is spent working on DUI cases.

You should also ask how often they have defended clients in the same courthouse where your case will be heard. Having an attorney who knows people at the courthouse-and even better the prosecuting attorney's office-can benefit you.

Options & Strategies

You'll want to get some feedback regarding your legal options. Unless the charges are dropped, you can:

  • Plead guilty
  • Try to negotiate an agreement to plead guilty to a lesser charge
  • Plead not guilty and go to trial

Be sure to discuss each option and its consequences.

You'll also want to discuss possible case strategies. Strategies are case specific, so they cannot be generalized here. But you'll definitely want the attorneys' opinions on how best to handle your defense.

Legal Fees

How much a lawyer's help might cost is a fair topic to raise at the first meetings. Typically, Maryland DUI OWI lawyers bill for their time with one of two billing methods: either the hourly fee or the flat fee. A lawyer who charges an hourly fee bills you for the actual time he or she works on your case. A lawyer who asks for a flat fee has one price for the case.

Neither of the billing methods, however, includes everything. You will likely be billed separately for many related legal expenses, such as travel expenses, photocopying, a paralegal's time, an investigator's time, and court fees, to name a few. Ask the lawyers you meet to provide you with an estimate of how much these related expenses might total.

Finally, make sure you ask the lawyers what types of payment they accept and whether they offer any payment plans.

Other Considerations

Beyond how a lawyer looks on paper, you should also consider subjective qualities. You may be working with your Maryland DUI lawyer for a few months. You probably want someone you can get along with well, someone you can trust, and someone who puts you at ease. Is the lawyer patient with your questions? Do you have confidence in his or her advice? Do you feel comfortable with the lawyer?

Either during the meeting or shortly after, record your impressions about the lawyers and your best prediction on what it might be like to work with them.

Selecting a Maryland DUI Lawyer

After interviewing all the attorneys on your list, it's time to make a hiring decision. Review the criteria mentioned in this article: experience, strategy, legal fees, and your feelings. How does each attorney measure up?

If you only met with one Maryland DUI lawyer but he or she was everything you want in an attorney, your decision is an easy one. If you can't decide between two or more lawyers, ask them for the names and contact information for a few of their previous clients. Ask these clients the kinds of questions listed above for any friends and family members who may have hired a DUI attorney in the past.

Once you have homed in on your very best choice for a Maryland DUI OWI lawyer, hire him or her. You can now face the rest of the criminal justice system.

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