After a DUI, you'll want to consult with an attorney who can field the many questions you might have about what happens next.
For Denise Oher, mother of Baltimore Ravens player Michael Oher (and the real-life inspiration for the crack-addicted mother in the movie "The Blind Side"), a DUI consultation could help her figure out her next move after her DUI arrest last month, reports Examiner.com.
As many DUI lawyers offer free consultations, how can you get the most out of your time? Here are five key questions you'll want to ask during a DUI consultation:
1. What Is Your Experience in DUI Cases?
Like a job interviewer, ask about the attorney's experience with DUI cases similar to yours, as well as DUI law and criminal defense in general. You don't want to make the mistake of hiring an inexperienced defense attorney when your freedom is on the line.
2. What Is Your Track Record on Winning Cases?
It isn't rude to ask an attorney during a consultation how many DUI cases he's won or lost, so be direct. Your potential attorney may separate "wins" into both acquittals and plea bargains, which may be important if you feel that your case may go to trial.
3. How Strong Is My Case?
The "meat" of most DUI consultations will be a discussion of your case and the attorney's evaluation of the prosecution's case against you. Even if you've allegedly slammed into parked cars while hammered (as one Maryland resident allegedly did, according to the Baltimore News Journal), you need an honest legal opinion.
Don't worry about divulging too much. Your attorney can't break the confidentiality of the consultation without violating ethical rules, even if you choose not to hire him or her.
4. What Are My Options?
You should ask your potential DUI attorney to run you through the various options for your case including trial, pleading guilty, and diversion programs.
A good DUI attorney should be familiar with the various lesser sentences and alternatives to jail time available in your state and county.
5. How Much Will It Cost?
Most DUI attorneys will work off either a flat fee arrangement, or an hourly rate that is based on your case and their experience/reputation.
If you make too much to afford a public defender, but feel a private attorney may be too costly, speak up. Many DUI attorneys are willing to work out a payment plan during a consultation.
Don't know where to start looking for a lawyer? Check out FindLaw's lawyer directory to find an experienced DUI attorney in your area and ask about a free consultation.