When you’re a business owner or entrepreneur, being involved in a driving while intoxicated or DWI case can affect the reputation of your business. The country’s court system seriously handles DWI charges and, of course, you don’t want to waste your time dealing with a DWI case. Penalties can be administrative and criminal, wherein your license can be suspended or revoked with corresponding fines and a jail sentence.
When you’re in trouble, a good DWI lawyer can help you understand the facts of your case. However, you need to ponder and ask a DWI lawyer these questions before hiring one:
How Long Have You Been Representing DWI Clients?
As much as possible, you want to plead “not guilty” during an arraignment because you want to clear your name so it won’t affect your business. By hiring a DWI lawyer, you’ll know the law better, as well as any potential defenses or available legal options. In that way, you can resolve a DWI case sooner so you can go back to managing normal business operations.
A good question to ask during your initial interview is about the legal background of your prospective DWI lawyer. Many people are pressured to hire the first lawyer they meet. But that shouldn’t be the case. Make sure to check the website of your state bar association and the website of the lawyer you’re eyeing to hire, like dwiguy.com, to ensure that you’re speaking to a trusted and reputable attorney.
Here are the topics you might want to follow up with when considering the background of a DWI lawyer:
- Number of DWI cases handled in a year
- Whether the lawyer was a former DWI prosecutor (they usually open their criminal defense practice)
- Percentage of DWI caseload
- How often cases are taken to trial
- Familiarity of the lawyer with the prosecutor handling your case
- Number of successful cases that involved a plea bargain to outright dismissal
Are You A Certified Member of Any DWI or DUI Organization?
Oftentimes, a DWI attorney has advanced certification or specialized training in DWI law. Follow-up questions should tackle topics such as the following:
- If the lawyer has been able to ride-along with a police officer during a DWI arrest
- If the attorney is a certified member of The National College for DUI Defense or NCDD, or any similar state bar organization
- If the lawyer completed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHSTA Student or Instructor Standardized Field Sobriety Test course
Will You Represent Me In Court?
An experienced and competent DWI lawyer can do many things for you such as give expert advice against taking your defense. You may end up being grilled by prosecutors if you do so. Unless you have spent a lot of time in criminal court, a local DWI lawyer is more experienced and familiar with the courtroom than you.
This is why it’s worth choosing someone who has a fair amount of experience and expertise with the local rules of court, as well as local judges and juries. However, make sure you know who will be handling the case. Some law firms assign the case to junior lawyers under a senior lawyer’s supervision.
Here are the advantages of asking a DWI lawyer to represent you in court:
- Your DWI lawyer is equipped to submit motions filed in your DWI case before the deadline.
- DWI lawyers negotiate with local prosecutors to hammer out alternatives or plea bargains.
- A DWI attorney can help you get your conviction expunged. In that way, your future employment or credit won’t be affected. Expungement procedures vary depending on state and local courts. An experienced DWI attorney knows how to navigate through them.
What Are the Possible Fees and How Will You Get Paid?
It’s quite difficult to determine how much a DWI charge will cost because it’s a state-specific crime. Each state determines what punishment is appropriate. The national average cost of a DWI case is close to $10,000.
DWI lawyers may also charge a fixed rate or per hour basis as a legal professional fee. A flat fee arrangement is based on the lawyer’s perception of the effort and amount of time to spend on your case. It usually costs between $2,500 and $4,000 for attorney’s fees.
Here are a few factors that may cause the DWI charges to vary:
- Fines: Every state decides on the fines, which are usually influenced by the frequency or number of offenses. Generally, a first-time offense is lower in cost compared to a repeated DWI offense.
- Costs and Penalties: These expenses depend on the court charging for the time spent on your case and what the state used to screen and test you. The court can oblige mandatory payments for the alcohol education fund, a restitution fund of a victim, or for mandatory substance abuse education.
- Insurance: All motorists should have a valid driver’s insurance. If you receive a DWI charge, your insurance may drop or raise your premium because you’re considered riskier to insure.
- DMV Fees: Your driver’s license can be suspended by the DMV when you’ve been arrested for DWI. That’s why reinstatement fee and other fees may arise from a driver’s vehicle registration.
Keep yourself away from trouble by hiring a trusted, reliable, and competent DWI lawyer. By doing so, you have peace of mind that someone will handle your case with the full knowledge and skills needed while you oversee your small business operations. A DWI lawyer will fight for your rights and your best interest to reduce fines and penalties, as well as a jail sentence, or possibly have your case dismissed.