There’s A Lot On The Line After a DUI Arrest. Choosing The Right DUI Attorney Is Essential
We all make mistakes from time to time, but if you make a mistake when hiring a DUI attorney, it could have disastrous consequences. A DUI conviction in Colorado Springs can upend your life in countless ways, from fines and jail time to the loss of driving and other privileges, to a criminal record that will burden you for years to come. Only one person stands between you and all of those horrible outcomes: your DUI lawyer. That’s why picking the right DUI lawyer to defend you and protect your rights can make all the difference.
You need to begin the process of finding and hiring a DUI attorney as soon as possible after your arrest. As you start your search, avoid these five critical mistakes that could put your freedom and your future at risk.
Hiring an Attorney Who’s Not a DUI Attorney
You need a lawyer who knows the law and science of DUI inside and out. Your criminal defense attorney can’t be someone who “dabbles” in DUI defense or handles such cases every once in a while. The best DUI defense lawyers have extensive experience successfully defending cases just like yours, and do it all the time. Just like you wouldn’t want a foot doctor to perform open-heart surgery on you, you don’t want a lawyer who focuses on other areas of the law to keep you out of jail.
Colorado’s DUI laws are complicated. Navigating a DUI defense in Colorado Springs takes well-honed advocacy skills to effectively challenge every aspect of your stop, testing, and arrest, and discredit unreliable evidence or witnesses. Additionally, the ability to understand the science of accurately determining blood alcohol content – and knowing how to challenge blood, breath, or other test results - can often be the difference between an acquittal and a conviction.
Putting Your Trust in a Billboard
If you want to find a DUI lawyer, just look around – at billboards, TV ads, the sides of buses, and so on. There’s no shortage of attorney advertising in Colorado Springs (take a drive down Platte and you’ll see plenty!). But just because a lawyer’s picture and phone number stand 20 feet tall over the highway doesn’t mean they’re the right choice for you. Those ads simply mean they have money to spend promoting themselves.
The vast majority of attorneys, including many of the best criminal lawyers in Colorado Springs, don’t spend a penny on ads. Their work speaks for themselves. Don’t limit your choices to what you see around you when hiring a DUI lawyer.
Not Doing Your Homework
Like most people charged with DUI in Colorado Springs, you’ve probably never needed a criminal defense lawyer – or any kind of lawyer – before. But you need to hire one now, and you need to do it fast. Where do you look?
Start by asking your friends and people in your network if they have a referral for you. If you get some recommendations, follow up with some online research. Look at the attorneys’ websites to get a sense of their experience, credentials, and general approach, especially regarding DUI matters. See if there are any client reviews or testimonials on other websites (the reviews on a lawyer’s web site will always be glowing).
Then, pick up the phone and arrange a consultation with two or three lawyers who seem to fit the bill for you.
Not Asking The Right Questions
When hiring a DUI attorney, treat your first meeting or phone call with someone you’re considering like you are interviewing someone for a critical job – because you are. Ask questions so you have the information you need to make an informed choice, such as:
How long have you practiced criminal defense law in Colorado Springs?
Is criminal defense all you do?
How many DUI cases have you handled? How many are you defending now?
What is your track record defending against DUI charges?
Will you be personally defending my DUI case or will some other attorney in your office be representing me?
How much will it cost to defend me against my DUI charges and do you offer any payment plans?
Relying on a Public Defender in Colorado Springs
The United States and Colorado constitutions provide that if you can’t afford a defense attorney when facing DUI charges, you have the right to representation by a public defender at no cost to yourself. If you have the chance to have a lawyer defend you for free, you may wonder why you should or would choose a private defense lawyer that you’ll have to pay for.
Most public defenders are committed and competent lawyers who will do what they can to obtain a positive result for the clients assigned to them. But what they can do may not be enough. Public defenders are often overwhelmed with cases; they may be working on up to 100 other cases in addition to yours.
Given these burdens, you may have a hard time speaking with your attorney outside of court, and critical information that you need to pass along may not reach them. Public defenders’ in Colorado Springs have huge caseloads, which means that your DUI defense may not get the attention it requires. Additionally, the defender’s efforts to reduce that caseload may create pressures to resolve cases like yours quickly through plea bargains, even in situations where taking a matter to trial or a more aggressive strategy may better suit your case.
Make The Right Choice When Hiring a DUI Attorney in Colorado Springs
With so much at stake, the importance of making the right choice when hiring a DUI attorney cannot be overstated. By avoiding the foregoing mistakes, you can make a thoughtful decision and get a Colorado Springs DUI attorney on your side who has the skill and commitment to help you put the matter behind you so you can move forward with your life.
If you or someone you know is currently facing DUI charges in Colorado Springs, call James Newby Law today for a free consultation.