If you are arrested for drunk driving, you probably have a million questions bouncing around in your head. How will this affect my life? Will I have to spend time in jail? Where do I go from here? It can all be overwhelming, but it’s important to remember that you have a resource on your side that can answer all those questions – your defense attorney. And while you’re probably want to ask them all sorts of questions about your case, there are four main questions your should pose during your initial consultation to ensure your attorney is a good fit and your expectations are aligned.
Ask Your Attorney These Questions
Here are four question to ask your attorney when you’re looking for a DUI attorney for your case:
1) Have You Handled Similar Cases Before?
This is a good question to lead with because you’ll want to ensure you hire an attorney with plenty of experience handling similar cases. The more familiar they are with DUI laws and drunk driving cases, the better than chance they can formulate a successful challenge or negotiate a worthwhile plea deal. It also allows the attorney to sell themselves to you, because after all, you are the one hiring them, and it is the attorneys who are working to earn the right to defend you. If they can’t sell themselves to you, how will they sell your case to the jury?
2) What Should I Do Before Court?
This is another good question because it helps you gauge how committed your torney is to your case. For example, if they simply state that you should “stay out of trouble” until your case is resolved, while it’s sound advice, it doesn’t put you in the best position to beat the charges. A great attorney will advise you to take an alcohol education course to show that you are taking the charges seriously, and they’ll recommend that you write down any and all information that could be valuable in challenging your case, like potential witnesses, things the officer said and how the arrest was handled. The earlier you write these things down, the less likely you are to leave out key evidence.
3) How Will We Communicate, And How Often?
This is another good question to ask because you are going to want to ensure that you’re on the same page with your attorney in terms of communication. I’ve had clients who wanted daily updates, while others only wanted to hear from me when the case is decided, and many fall somewhere in between. You are billed for the time your attorney spends on your case, so the more you call, email or text them, the quicker you’ll go through your retainer. Make sure your attorney knows how frequently you expect to hear from them, and let them know how often you’d like to receive updates so there are no surprises once your case gets underway.
4) How Do You Think My Case Will Play Out?
Your attorney isn’t going to be able to give you a straight answer to this one, but again, it comes down to managing expectations. Sometimes the evidence is really stacked against you, while other times it is clear there was a clear violation of due process. Your attorney can give you a couple of scenarios of how your case might play out, and they can speak to some options you may receive in a plea deal. You’ll want to find an attorney that’s optimistic about your options, but also realistic about your how the case could play out.
Avery Appelman is a criminal defense attorney in Minneapolis, Minnesota and the owner and managing partner at Appelman Law Firm.