How to Choose a DUI Attorney in Atlanta
Being charged with driving under the influence is not something to take lightly. A DUI conviction in Atlanta can have a lasting negative impact on your life.
It’s important that you find an experienced attorney to stand up for you in court. Here are some tips for finding the right DUI attorney in Atlanta for you and your situation.
1. Get Online
The first step in finding a reputable Atlanta DUI attorney is to search for the ones located in your area or those that are licensed to practice where your case will be heard. You can quickly put together a list of attorneys to research further.
2. Talk to People You Know
You may not have a friend or family member who has been charged with a DUI before, but you may know somebody who knows somebody. See if the people in your life have any recommendations for a good defense attorney or have any contacts you can speak to.
3. Create a List
Once you’ve had the chance to gather the names of attorneys in your area, put together a spreadsheet with their names, phone numbers, addresses and email.
4. Look at the State Bar
Take a moment to compare your list to the State Bar of Georgia website. You want to make sure the attorneys you have on your list are licensed to practice in your state. You also want to check to see if they have had any disciplinary actions taken against them.
5. Schedule a Consultation
You and your attorney will develop a somewhat personal relationship. You should have rapport with the person you hire to represent you. You won’t know if an attorney is a good fit simply by what you read or hear. Meeting several attorneys will help you determine which is the right one for you. Most attorneys offer a free initial consultation so you won’t have to spend any money finding your lawyer.
Questions to Ask
Asking questions is essential to developing any type of relationship, including one between attorney and client. Questioning attorneys and then comparing answers can help you make the best choice for your unique set of circumstances. Here are five questions to put on your list.
1. What is your experience?
Everyone has to start somewhere, but you don’t want your future in the hands of an inexperienced lawyer. Ask how long the attorney has been practicing, how long they have been representing DUI cases in Atlanta and how successful they have been.
Find out if the attorney typically takes cases to trial or has been successful in working out plea agreements. You may also want to ask how many cases they handle at one time.
2. What do you think of my case?
You can explain your case to your attorney during your initial consultation. You can also show them any evidence you have that will be used against you if you have access to or knowledge of it.
Ask the attorney what their initial impressions of your case are. You don’t want an attorney who will promise you the moon, but you also don’t want one who believes that you will be spending years in prison.
3. How will you handle communication?
Communication between an attorney and client is important. Find out how the attorney will keep in touch with you. Are you free to call or email when you have a question? Does the attorney plan on updating you weekly?
One of the worst things that can happen is hiring an attorney you rarely hear from. You should feel comfortable asking your attorney questions and know that you will get a reply in a timely manner.
4. How are cases typically handled?
When you are represented by an attorney from a large law firm, some details of your case may be handed off to junior associates or paralegals. If this is something you aren’t comfortable with, speak up. Find out how each attorney will be handling your case. If you expect your attorney to handle all aspects of your case personally, make that known.
5. What are your fees?
Money is a concern. In fact, people believe that lawyers cost thousands of dollars and will often avoid hiring one because of the expense. Ask each attorney you speak with how they bill for services. Find out what is included in their rate and what you will have to pay extra for.
Does the attorney expect a retainer? Will they allow you to create a payment plan? If these things are important to you, don’t be afraid to ask.
Talk to an Atlanta DUI Lawyer Today
Driving under the influence is a serious offense, and being convicted of the charge could impact your ability to maintain a professional license or gain employment. It could also have a negative effect on your reputation and good standing within the community.
You could be facing jail time, the suspension of your driver’s license and thousands of dollars in fines. Do not attempt to represent yourself in a case such as this. Your future depends on experienced representation.
If you have been charged with driving under the influence in Atlanta, reach out to our office. We will review the details of your arrest and help you determine the most appropriate next steps. We are available to represent you with the knowledge and experience we have developed over years of practice. Call our office or fill out our convenient contact form to schedule your free case evaluation.