Getting an Attorney involved with in your DUI case

In a DUI case you really have to act quickly to hire a lawyer, because in all likelihood, you’ve probably lost your license, either for 6 months because you took a breath test, or for a year or more because you refused. In either one of those scenarios, you only have 10 days to elect which ever option you wish to pursue, to either challenge that suspension or to waive your hearing. That’s an analysis that you really want the expertise of a DUI lawyer to assist you with. I always recommend that once you’ve been arrested for DUI, within a day or two of your arrest, seek out a consultation with two or three qualified and experienced DUI lawyers, so that you can understand what exactly it is you’re dealing with, and make an informed choice as to what you need to do to protect yourself.

Best DUI Attorney

Finding the best DUI attorney in Florida can be done in a number of ways. First, if you know an attorney, speak to your friend and find out who they recommend and why. You’ll be able to get a lot of information from fellow attorneys in the community. You can also log onto websites such as AVO and determine whether or not the attorney has a profile that demonstrates a proficiency in DUIs. There are national and Florida-based certifying organizations that also advocate for DUI lawyers that have higher levels of skill and experience in handling the case. One of the things that you should always consider is, were they prosecutors in the past? As prosecutors, did they prosecute DUIs? That gives them a unique insight into the other side of the case. That type of experience can often be brought to bear in your case and assist you.

Finding the best DUI lawyer can be done in a number of ways, but at the end of the day, you need to talk to 3-4 attorneys and vet them yourself so that you can feel confident that they understand the laws and understand how to best defend you in your case.

Consultation Fee

Typically lawyers in Florida will not charge a consultation fee in criminal cases or DUI cases. Most lawyers will offer a free, confidential DUI consultation that will allow you an opportunity to speak freely about the case, any defenses you might have, any concerns you might have, what the officers did or didn’t do, what they should’ve done, and all of the various components of a DUI case; which also includes whether you should challenge the suspension of your driving privilege if you lost your driver’s license.

A good criminal defense attorney or a good DUI lawyer typically will offer you that free initial consultation so that you can have an information exchange and understand what it is about your case that they might be able to help you with.

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Representation Cost

A good criminal defense attorney or a good DUI attorney isn’t going to be cheap. The quality of their experience and what they bring to the forefront for you is going to cost money. What they actually charge is going to vary based on attorney to attorney and jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The things you want to look at are this:

  • Are they all-inclusive, meaning are they charging you a set fee that covers their representation of you at a DMV hearing if you need that?
  • Are they all inclusive, meaning are they charging you a set fee that covers their representation of you at a DMV hearing if you need that?
  • Are they going to charge you separately for motions if you wanted to file a motion to challenge law enforcement’s conduct?
  • Is it going to cost you more money to proceed with litigating the case?
  • Are they going to charge you a flat fee and cover what you need?

So just understand what those distinctions are, why those distinctions might exist, and that way at least you can make an informed decision. If you simply call up an attorney and say “What do you charge for a DUI,” you’re really not informing yourself. Ask the right questions, understand what that includes, and then you’ll have a better understanding as to whether it’s the right choice for you. Ultimately, hopefully you’re not making a decision based on cost because a DUI is going to cost you thousands of dollars if you don’t win.

Representing Yourself

You certainly could represent yourself in a DUI case, but you wouldn’t have the background and experience to do an adequate job let alone a good job. It’s ill advised to do that. I often use the analogy that if you had a toothache could you pull out your own tooth? I’m sure you could grab a pair of pliers and do that, but you probably aren’t going to be happy with the results. The same thing holds true for a criminal case or a DUI case.

A DUI attorney can protect your rights, assess the case, determine what opportunities might be there to represent your case in court, to challenge your license suspension, to challenge the evidence in your case, and really give you a fighting chance of protecting you from the direct, and collateral consequences of a DUI. Can you represent yourself? Sure. Should you? Absolutely not.

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