Questions to Ask When Interviewing a St. Louis DUI Attorney
If you've been charged with driving under the influence (DUI, also known as driving while intoxicated, or DWI) in St. Louis, you'll want to quickly hire a St. Louis DUI attorney.
Most lawyers offer potential clients the opportunity to meet at a free initial consultation. This preliminary meeting, which is usually free, gives you the chance to learn more about the lawyer and decide whether to hire him.
Preparing to Meet a St. Louis DUI Attorney
You'll get the most out of the meeting if you come prepared with a list of questions to ask the St. Louis DUI attorney. But if you've never before hired a lawyer, you may not know what questions to ask. This article offers many suggestions.
Don't feel compelled to ask every question listed here. Instead, focus on those questions that will best help you decide if a St. Louis DWI lawyer is the right lawyer for you. Also, add questions of your own. For example, if you have any special requirements (such as a handicapped accessible office or an attorney who offers evening appointments), you'll want to include questions that touch on those needs.
Bring your list of questions to the initial consultation, as well as writing material to take notes. Your notes will come in handy when you sit down to decide which lawyer to hire.
Background & Experience
One way to begin the meeting is by asking the lawyer questions about his legal background and experience. Some relevant questions include:
- From which law school did you graduate?
- How long have you been practicing law?
- How long have you been handling St. Louis DUI cases?
- Do you take on other types of St. Louis criminal defense work? If so, what kind? How much of your practice is devoted to DWI cases?
- On average, how many DUI clients do you represent each year?
- How often do you appear before judges in the St. Louis City Municipal Court or the Circuit Court of St. Louis County?
- Do you belong to any bar associations or other professional organizations? If so, which ones?
While the lawyer may not be able to give you specific legal advice until you've formally hired him, you can ask for his evaluation of your case and how he'd propose handling it. Questions to ask include:
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of my DUI case?
- What are the potential outcomes? What's the most likely outcome?
- What strategy would you suggest?
- How long will it take to resolve the case?
Case management refers to the logistics of handling your case. You'll want to understand who's involved in your legal representation and what you as a client can expect of your St. Louis DUI attorney so there won’t be any misunderstandings. Questions to ask include:
- Are you available to represent me?
- Will you be the only lawyer working on my case, or will other attorneys in your firm also be involved?
- Who will handle plea negotiations and court appearances?
- Will you be my regular contact? If not, whom should I contact?
- How do prefer to be contacted? How fast can I expect a response?
- What kind of updates will I receive? How frequently? What will they include?
If your St. Louis DWI case is fairly straightforward, the lawyer may offer to represent you for a flat fee, where you pay one price for the lawyer to resolve the case. Otherwise, the lawyer will charge you an hourly rate, where you pay for the actual time he spends on your case. You'll probably also be expected to pay legal expenses associated with your case.
To fully understand the legal costs of your DUI case, ask the lawyer:
- Do you charge a flat fee or an hourly rate? How much is it?
- What additional legal expenses can I expect to pay? Approximately how much are they?
- Can you estimate the total cost, including legal fees and expenses, to resolve my case?
- What payment methods do you accept? When is payment due?
After the Initial Consultation
Once you've met with each St. Louis DUI attorney you're considering, you'll want to ask yourself some questions to help decide which attorney is the best lawyer for your DWI case. Ask yourself:
- Which lawyer had the best experience and background to handle my case?
- Which lawyer proposed the most reasonable and realistic strategy to resolve my St. Louis DWI charges?
- Whose legal fees can I afford?
- Which attorney seemed most trustworthy? With which attorney would I be most comfortable?
Once you've answered those questions, you should know which lawyer you want to hire to handle your St. Louis DWI case.