How to Hire a Michigan DUI-DWI Lawyer
Charges of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or DUI, are very serious. You should not try to represent yourself. You need a Michigan DUI lawyer. If you don't know how to find one, this article can help.
More than just getting a name and a phone number, the hiring process involves interviewing an attorney, going over your legal options, and speaking with previous clients. Because your goal is not to hire just any attorney but the right Michigan DUI attorney for you.
DUI charges are also known as driving while intoxicated, or DWI, operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or OUI, and operating a vehicle while intoxicated, or OWI.
If you are found guilty of DUI under Michigan DUI laws, your driver's license will be suspended for six months and you face jail time or community service, fines, and the installation of an ignition interlock device.
Finding a Michigan DUI Lawyer
If you cannot afford an attorney, you may be able to get a public defender. Either while you are in jail or at your first court appearance, you will be asked if you want a local Michigan public defender.
You must apply for a public defender. On the application, you will be asked a series of questions about your financial situation. It is up to the either judge in your case or the magistrate (if you're in jail) whether you will get a public defender.
If your application is approved, you must accept the lawyer assigned to you. You do not have a say in which public defender represents you.
If your income does not qualify or your application is refused, you need to find a private Michigan DUI lawyer. There are a couple of ways to do this.
You can talk to your friends, family members, and work colleagues to see if any of them have ever hired a DUI attorney. If they have, you'll want to find out what they thought of their lawyer. What were the lawyer's strengths and weaknesses? Did they get the results they wanted? Would the re-hire the lawyer again if needed?
If you'd rather not discuss your arrest with people you know, you have another resource at your fingertips. Whether you're in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, or elsewhere in Michigan, Attorneys.com offers a service that can connect you with a Michigan DUI-DWI attorney in your area.
To begin, call us at 1-877-913-7222 or complete the short form at this web site. After answers a few questions, we'll forward the name and contact information of at least one Michigan DUI lawyer near you. Feel free to contact the attorney directly, or he or she will get back to you within two business days.
Preparing to Meet a Michigan DUI Attorney
The next step in the hiring process is the interview. Most DUI attorneys in Michigan are willing to meet prospective clients for a brief chat. You can accomplish several goals at this meeting. You can find out:
- What your legal options are and discuss strategy.
- About the lawyer's background and experience
- If this is the lawyer you want to hire
There are several steps you can take to prepare for this meeting. You'll want to make the most of the brief time you have.
First, create a list of questions to ask the Michigan DUI-OWI attorneys. It may first help you to think of what you want in an attorney, then build the questions around that. You probably want a lawyer who:
- Has experience representing clients facing the same charges as you
- Has worked other cases in the same courthouse where your case will be heard, perhaps even with the prosecutor in your case
- Offers good advice and sound judgment
- Charges a fair legal fee
- Is someone you can work side-by-side with for several months
Write your questions down and be sure to bring them with you to the first meetings. You don't want to forget to ask anything. Also bring a pen and paper so you can record the answers and any impressions you have.
The lawyers will appreciate it if you bring some other documents with you as well, such as:
- Your bail papers
- The police report, if possible
- Any other paperwork the police might have given you, such as a search inventory list
- Any documents from the court indicating your charges and your next court date
In addition, some Michigan DUI-OWI lawyers may ask you to fill out a questionnaire ahead of the meeting. If you receive one, complete it and send it back, so the attorneys have time to familiarize themselves with your arrest and charges.
Meeting with a Michigan DUI Attorney
When it's time for your meetings, let the attorneys speak first. They will probably have many questions for you about your arrest. They may want to hear about the case from the prosecution's standpoint before they get your version of events.
In answering their questions, do not withhold any information from the attorneys. You can be sure that anything you say will be kept confidential. DUI lawyers in Michigan are bound by strict confidentiality rules. Even if you do not hire an attorney you meet, everything you discuss at a first meeting still falls under the attorney-client privilege.
When it's your turn to ask the questions, take out your list, so you don't forget anything. Take note of whether the attorneys are patient with your questions and if they take time to explain new legal concepts.
If you have any special needs of a lawyer-for example, you may not be able to take calls during the day-make them known at the first meeting to be sure the lawyers can accommodate your requests.
Hiring a Michigan DUI-DWI Attorney
When you have interviewed all the Michigan DUI-DWI lawyers on your list, it's time to choose one. If you only interviewed one, but he or she met all your qualifications, your search is over.
If you have several worthy contenders, ask them for the names and contact information for a few previous clients. Then call them and ask them what they thought of the lawyers, just as you may have done with any personal recommendations from friends.
If you're still torn, it's time to ask yourself a few questions:
- Which attorney had the experience you need defending DUI charges?
- Which attorney seemed to know people at the courthouse and the prosecuting attorney's office?
- Who proposed the strategy you liked most?
- Whose legal fees seemed reasonable?
- With which attorney were you most comfortable?
The answers to these questions should help you hone in on your one best choice for legal representation. Once you hire him or her, you are ready to proceed with the accusations against you.