Things to Know When Hiring a North Carolina DUI DWI Attorney
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious charge. If you've been arrested for DUI and want to fight the charges, you will need a lawyer. This article will give you a quick take on what you need to know about hiring a North Carolina DUI attorney.
Driving under the influence is also known as driving while intoxicated (DWI) in North Carolina. Under North Carolina DWI laws drivers convicted of DWI face:
- Revocation of the North Carolina driver's license
- Possible imprisonment
- Attendance at alcohol safety school
- Undergoing substance abuse assessment
This is not the time to try to represent yourself.
Step One: Gather Names of North Carolina DUI Attorneys
Ask your friends, family members, and co-workers whether they have ever hired a North Carolina DUI lawyer. If they have, you'll want to know what the experience was like. Did they feel the attorney did a good job? Did they get the results they wanted? Would they hire the same attorney again?
If you'd prefer not to discuss your recent arrest with people you know, you have another resource at your fingertips. Whether you are in Charlotte, Durham, Raleigh, or elsewhere in North Carolina, Attorneys.com offers a service that can connect you with North Carolina DUI lawyer near you.
To start the process, call us at 1-877-913-7222 or fill out the short form on this website. After you answer a few questions, we'll get you the name and contact information for at least one North Carolina DWI lawyer near you. Feel free to contact the attorney yourself, or he or she will follow up with you within two business days.
Step Two: The Interview
Most DWI attorneys in North Carolina like to conduct brief meetings with prospective clients. This gives you a chance to size the attorneys' experience. It also gives the attorneys a chance to size up your case, providing you with valuable feedback.
Most importantly, you can use these first meetings to figure out which attorney you want to hire.
To get at how much experience the lawyers have with DWI cases, ask them how long they have been helping clients with charges similar to your own. Also, ask how many DWI cases they handle each year.
You'll also want to know if they have defended clients in the same courthouse where your case will be heard. Having an attorney who knows courthouse personnel and staff at the prosecuting attorney's office can be invaluable to you.
Options & Strategies
The North Carolina DUI lawyers you meet with will probably have many questions for you regarding the circumstances of your arrest. They'll want to figure out what evidence the prosecution has against you.
Because legal strategies are unique to each case, they cannot be generalized here. But you'll definitely want the attorneys' opinions about what you should do.
Your legal options will come down to three choices: plead guilty, try to arrange a plea bargain that would result in your pleading guilty to a lesser charge, or plead not guilty and take your chances at trial. Be sure to discuss each option and its consequences with the attorneys you meet.
You don't want to leave the first meetings without understanding how the lawyers bill for their time. In general, most DWI attorneys in North Carolina bill for their time in one of two ways: either with an hourly fee or a flat fee.
However, neither fee includes everything, and you will have many other, related legal expenses to pay. Some of these expenses might include photocopying, a paralegal's fees, an investigator's fees, travel-related expenses, and court fees. North Carolina has criminal court fees for everything from phone systems to time spent in jail.
With your arraignment and other court proceedings fast approaching, you may not have time to comparison shop pricing. Many DWI lawyers in North Carolina, however, may be willing to adjust their fees slightly. You can ask about this, but only before you hire your attorney. Once you have hired someone, it is too late to renegotiate pricing.
Finally, you'll want to know what forms of payment the lawyers accept and whether they offer any payment plans.
Beyond the skills, experience, and proposed strategy a lawyer brings to the table, you also need to be comfortable with your lawyer. With the penalties you're possibly facing, you need a lawyer you can trust, someone in whom you can place your confidence. Notice if the lawyers you interview have patience for your questions. Do their answers put you at ease?
Shortly after your meetings, make sure you jot down a few notes about how you felt with each lawyer.
Step Three: Selecting a North Carolina DWI Attorney
When you have completed your first interviews, it's time to choose a North Carolina DWI attorney to hire. Consider how each lawyer measures up to the criteria discussed in this article: experience, strategy, legal fees, and your feelings about each one.
If you only met with one lawyer but he or she seemed a perfect fit, then your search is over. If you have several worthy candidates, ask them for the names and contact information for a few previous clients. Call them to find out what it was like working with the attorneys. What were their strengths and weaknesses? Did their strategy work? Would they recommend them to a loved one?
The former clients' real-world feedback should help you focus in on your very best choice in a North Carolina DUI attorney. Once you have hired him or her, you are ready to move forward and face your charges.