How Houston DUI Charges Get Dropped: Tips & Ideas
Driving under the influence or DUI is the legal term for drinking and driving. The penalties for this offense can be really steep in many jurisdictions. In case this is the first time you have been charged with DUI, you would want to fight the charges in order to get them dismissed. Prosecutors are not that willing to drop the DUI charges as drunk driving poses a serious threat to public safety. If you are serious about getting your DUI charges dropped, the best way is to hire the services of an attorney specializing in such cases in order to help you during the negotiations with the prosecutor.
Tips For Hiring An Attorney
1. Online Search For Criminal Defense Attorney
It’s true that you might be able to find a public defender as you are eligible to have one appointed for you but it’s better to hire the services of a private attorney to increase your chances of getting the DUI charges dropped.
- Ask for recommendations from your friends or family for an attorney but only if you don’t mind telling them about your arrest for DUI.
- The best way to start your search online is to take a look at the local or state bar association website.
You should be able to find a completely free attorney referral program in order to find a list of attorneys locally who have experience in this field and should be able to answer your queries.
- Many attorneys specializing in DUI cases also advertise extensively and it’s possible that you are already aware of a few names. However, it is important to remember that the best DUI attorney or the most affordable DUI lawyer is not likely to have a great ad.
2. Prepare A List
Ideally, you should have a list of at least 4 to 5 attorneys specializing in DUI cases in your location. It is important to carefully look at the background and experience of each attorney in order to narrow down your list.
- In case the attorneys have personal websites, check their websites in order to find out more about their experience and background.
- It is important to hire an attorney practicing in your area as they are more likely to be familiar with the prosecutors and judges. Therefore, it is recommended to find an attorney who has been practicing for several years in your location.
- If you want to know about the type of cases handled by an attorney, you should take a deep look at their website. Find out how much experience they have with DUI cases.
- It is important to check the reputation of an attorney and reviews from past clients are a good way to do that. These reviews should be available on social media or general review websites.
3. Time To Schedule Initial Consultations
It’s recommended to have an initial consultation with at least 2 to 3 attorneys in order to find one who is the right choice for your case. Most criminal defense attorneys offer a completely free initial consultation which means you don’t need to worry about money.
- Ideally, an initial consultation should be scheduled within a week. In case an attorney is unable to give an appointment within the week or at most, within the next 2 weeks, they are too busy and most likely, won’t be able to give the desired attention to your case.
- In case the attorney asks you for information by filling out a form, it is important for you to fill it completely and give it to them as quickly as possible. The attorney needs to know everything possible about you as well as your case and they want to be prepared for the initial consultation in order to better cater to your needs.
4. Ask Questions
It is important to ask as many questions as you can about your case during the free consultation. Don’t rely on the attorney to cover everything that is important for your case. It’s better to prepare a list of questions before your first scheduled consultation to help you better understand where you stand related to your case.
- The list of questions will depend on what is important to you when it comes to an attorney-client relationship. If you’re hiring an attorney for the very first time, you need to think of things you might ask anyone who you would to work for you in any capacity. These questions would be similar.
- For instance, when you’re hiring a plumber, you would want to know whether they are going to do all the work on their own or whether they will have an inexperienced apprentice taking care of most of the work.
- Hiring an attorney is similar. You should ask them whether they will be doing most of the work on your case or whether a newly graduated attorney or a paralegal will be doing most of the work on your case.
5. Comparing The Attorneys
Once the initial consultations are over, it’s time to evaluate each attorney separately and compare them. This will allow you to find one who is the most qualified for your case.
- While many people consider the fees to be the most important parameter, especially when the money is tight but you should resist the temptation of hiring an attorney charging the lowest fee as they are not always going to be the best choice.
- You’ll find that most attorneys will negotiate with you over fees in case you are unable to afford them. In fact, some attorneys might even choose to lower the overall cost or offer you a payment plan.
- Always trust your gut feeling when you’re hiring an attorney. In case you come across an attorney who takes an interest in your case, is passionate and who you find trustworthy and confident, they might be the best choice even if they do not have as much experience as some of the others you have interviewed.
6. Written Retainer Agreement
After making a decision, it is important to convey the same to the chosen attorney as quickly as possible. The attorney should meet you again for signing a written contract or retainer agreement.
- It is important that the attorney doesn’t start working on your case before you have carefully read and signed the written contract.
- You should always ask the attorney to explain the retainer agreement to you. Don’t be shy to ask for clarification in case you are not clear about something.
- If you find that there is a part of the agreement that seems to be different from what was explained to you during your initial consultation or with which you completely disagree, you need to tell the attorney about it. Most attorneys will negotiate but it’s up to you to bring up the issue.
- For instance, the agreement might state that the attorney is to be paid by the hour but during the initial consideration, they agreed to take your case for a flat fee of $750. Tell them that and let them know that this is how you planned your budget.
Building The DUI Case
- Carefully evaluate the evidence the prosecutor has gathered against you as your chances of getting the DUI charges dropped depend a lot on the kind of evidence gathered by the prosecution. You might have a much stronger case in case the DUI charges are based solely on the field sobriety test.
- The context of the stop is extremely important. In case the police officer didn’t have any probable cause to stop you, it can be used by your attorney as evidence to get the DUI charges dropped. However, it might not be helpful in case you drove through a DUI checkpoint.
- Take into account any medical or physical conditions. There are a number of medical as well as physical conditions that can play a role in the test results. This is especially possible in case the DUI charges are based solely on a Breathalyzer test or a field sobriety test.
- Get ready to interview all the witnesses. If there was someone in the car with you, it’s possible to get them to testify whether you were drinking before the police officer pulled you over. If you want to argue that the test results have been affected by a medical condition, your attorney might want to take the help of expert witnesses.
- Get started with the preparation for your trial. Getting the prosecutor to completely drop DUI charges is going to be challenging even when this is the first DUI charge on your record. Therefore, your best chance to get the DUI charges dropped is to work with the attorney in order to prepare for a trial based on the merits of your case.
Working With The DUI Prosecutor
- Take the required driving classes. Many people convicted of various traffic violations including DUI are required to complete certain driving classes from a driving school. If that is the case in your jurisdiction and you promptly take the driving classes, it tells the prosecutor that you are serious about becoming a more responsible driver.
- Getting an evaluation by a substance abuse professional. In case you knowingly drove after drinking, it’s possible that it is a symptom of a bigger problem you have with alcohol. It is recommended to get in touch with a professional and seek the necessary help if that is something you recognize.
- It is important to negotiate various possibilities with the prosecutor. The attorney you have hired will most likely discuss various plea bargains before the beginning of the trial. The prosecutor is more likely to drop the charges if the case against you is deemed weak.
- One of the options is to plead guilty but for a lesser charge. It is important to keep in mind that even if the prosecutor agrees to drop the DUI charges, you will have to face some kind of penalty. As mentioned above, driver responsibility classes are not cheap. However, it will allow you to prevent having a DUI on your driving record when you plead guilty to a lesser offense which can be reckless driving among others.