Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Seattle DUI Attorney
If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Seattle, you face some serious charges. You need an experienced Seattle DUI attorney to defend you in court.
You should hire an attorney as quickly as possible, but not until you find the right attorney for you. If you ask the right questions, you’ll have no trouble finding a Seattle DUI attorney with the knowledge and skill to defend you well. This article lists some questions you should ask before hiring a criminal defense attorney.
Your Initial Consultation with a Seattle DUI Attorney
You’ll meet with an attorney for the first time in your initial consultation. This meeting takes place before you hire an attorney, and it’s usually free. You’ll describe your case, learn about the attorney and have a chance to ask questions. You should focus on questions that help you decide if you want to hire the attorney.
Prepare your questions in advance, and have a pen and paper to write down the answers you get. Ask follow-up questions as necessary to expand or clarify an answer.
Your questions will probably fit into several broad categories:
- The attorney’s experience and qualifications with Seattle DUI law
- The attorney’s approach to your case
- The attorney’s fees
Attorney Experience with Seattle DUI Law
When you ask about experience, you’re learning if the attorney is qualified to defend a DUI in Seattle. Helpful questions include:
- How long have you been practicing Seattle DUI defense law?
- How many cases have you defended?
- How many of your cases resulted in acquittal, a reduced sentence or dismissal?
- Do you have a strong reputation with the court and prosecutors?
- Do you only defend DUI cases or do you practice in other areas as well?
- Where did you receive your legal education?
- Are you a member of any professional legal associations?
Managing & Defending your Seattle DUI
Only a small part of Seattle DUI defense happens in court. Your attorney and his staff will spend time preparing your defense, doing research and communicating with the court and others. Case management refers to this day-to-day handling of your case. To learn about case management, ask:
- Are you the attorney that will represent me?
- Which lawyers, paralegals and support staff will be working on my case?
- What are their responsibilities?
- Who will make court appearances?
- How can I get answers to my questions?
- How often will you tell me the status of my case?
Your attorney will also develop a legal strategy for your case. There are a number of defenses to a DUI in Seattle, and you and your attorney will determine which ones are the best choices. Be sure to ask about:
- The steps in your legal defense
- What strategy is recommended
- The possible outcomes of your case, and the consequences of each
- Which legal factors work in your favor and which cause problems
Remember that the initial consultation is an early meeting, so the legal strategy may not be fully developed until later.
During your Seattle DUI defense, your attorney will need to be paid. Knowing how, and how much, your attorney charges is an important part of your hiring decision. To learn about legal fees, ask:
- Do you charge by the hour, or do I pay a flat fee?
- What is your hourly or flat rate?
- What does your fee include?
- What additional costs and expenses will I pay?
- Do you require a retainer fee?
- What is your estimate of my total cost?
Selecting a Seattle DUI Attorney
After your initial consultation, you’ll have answers to most of your questions. Now it’s your turn to provide some answers. For each attorney you met, ask if:
- The attorney had the experience and knowledge to defend your case
- The attorney had an acceptable and solid legal strategy
- The attorney’s fees were affordable
- The attorney made you feel confident and comfortable
If you’ve found an attorney that fits these criteria, you’ve found your attorney. If you are still not sure which attorney to hire, you may follow-up with additional questions or ask for client references. Most attorneys will provide the names of former clients, and you can contact them for helpful opinions on the attorney.
When you have enough information, make a decision and hire the right Seattle DUI attorney.