I've seen ads from DUI attorneys offering to represent me for $500.00. Other DUI lawyers charge $5000.00. Why this huge difference?
Generally speaking, you get what you pay for. Usually, a good California DUI lawyer, though expensive, is worth every penny. A huge difference exists among DUI lawyers in terms of their legal education, their experience level, their lawyering skills, the extent of their focus on the specialized area of DUI defense, their creativity, the amount of time and attention they devote to each individual client, and what they can ultimately do for you.
Most “cheap” attorneys claiming to do dui defense are what we call “dump trucks.” They take on large numbers of DUI cases, charge bargain-rate attorney fees, devote very little time to any particular DUI client, and simply go in and plead their clients guilty at an early stage in the DUI proceedings.
Also, these “bargain” DUI attorneys tend to do all their DMV hearings by phone. This method prevents very few drivers license suspensions and does nothing to prepare the DUI cases for court. Rather than paying a low fee for this sort of DUI lawyer, you might as well save your money and go in yourself and plead guilty.
A top-notch California DUI lawyer, on the other hand, approaches every case with the mission of finding a way to avoid conviction. He visits the scene of the traffic stop, investigates the history of DUI officer, identifies everything his client does consistent with sobriety, recognizes key police mistakes, studies the case with his own toxicologist, uncovers the maintenance history of the equipment used, calls as witnesses and cross-examines the DUI officers at the DMV hearing, makes motions to exclude incriminating evidence, and strategies a plan for a winning defense.
Even with a top San Bernardino or Los Angeles County DUI attorney, you may not win your case. But you will dramatically increase your chances of winning. And you will know that you did everything possible to prevent the DUI conviction.
Some of the key factors you should consider in hiring a DUI defense lawyer include:
- Is the DUI attorney a member of the National College of DUI Defense?
- Is DUI defense the primary focus of his criminal defense law practice?
- Does the DUI attorney take the time and effort to do in-person DMV hearings, or does he simply do them by phone?
- Does the DUI attorney routinely subpoena the arresting officer to the DMV hearing in order to cross-examine the officer and illicit testimony favorable to the case?
- Does the DUI attorney regularly attend seminars and conferences devoted to the sharpening of DUI defense skills?
- Does the DUI attorney belong to daily list-serves and discussion groups devoted to DUI defense?
- Who does the DUI attorney use as expert witnesses and consultants? Are they former state's toxicologists with the police crime labs where your DUI case is pending?
- Does the DUI attorney have experience on the other side of the fence, as a DUI prosecutor or a police officer?
- Is the DUI attorney known for being ready, willing and able to take cases to jury trial?