HOW TO CHOOSE A DWI LAWYER IN MISSOURI
One of the most important decisions a defendant charged with driving while intoxicated in Missouri can make is selecting the right defense attorney. In making this decision, the client should not to be afraid to ask the potential attorney questions. Any competent DWI attorney should be more than happy to answer a potential client’s questions. Any hesitation or push back in answering the questions asked should raise red flags with that attorney. While there are many more questions to ask, the following are the minimum recommended questions to ask:
1. How long have you been in practice? While the number of years practice is not always an indication that the attorney is competent and qualified, it can provide some insight on that attorney’s experience practicing law. Obviously, you want to know if this attorney is brand new out of law school or has been practicing 20 plus years. Likewise, length of time practicing, may give you some idea of the number of cases that attorney has handled.
2. What experience do you have representing clients charged with driving while intoxicated? Being charged with driving while intoxicated is a very serious matter. You want to make sure that the attorney you select has handled these types of cases and is knowledgeable in that subject area. The choice of an attorney can mean the difference between a guilty or not guilty verdict.
3. Who in your firm will be handling my case? In many firms, the attorney that the client meets is not the one handling the case. Make sure you know when you hire an attorney who will be representing you in court and that you are comfortable with that person handling your case.
4. Do you belong to any DWI defense professional organizations? The answer to this question can help you gain insight as to how knowledgeable and committed the attorney is to defending those persons charged with driving while intoxicated offenses.
5. Have you tried any cases to a jury? Many attorneys will talk a good game about their experience, but some have never even tried a case to a jury. You want to make sure that the attorney you hire is experienced, knowledgeable, and competent to try your case.
6. What will this cost me? Some attorneys have a standard fee sheet for any DWI case. Be wary of attorneys who have a set fee for every DWI case. Each DWI case is unique and raises different factual and legal issues. Your case is too important to you to have it handled just like all the rest. Make sure you know how much it will cost to defend your case.
7. What issues do you see in my case? The attorney should be able to discuss potential factual and legal issues that may be favorable and unfavorable to your case. They should be comfortable discussing issues related to the traffic stops, probable cause for arrest, as well as issues related to standardized field sobriety and chemical tests.
8. What will the outcome be in my case? While an experienced DWI attorney can discuss anticipated outcomes of your case, no attorney can ethically guarantee you a specific outcome. If an attorney guarantees a specific outcome in a case that is a major red flag to not hire that attorney.
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