How To Choose A DWI Lawyer In Houston Texas
In Texas, being charged with a DWI offense can be quite traumatic. You can incur harsh financial penalties, your reputation can easily be compromised with your potential employers and across the wider community, and the prospect of jail time is real.
Working with the right attorney to represent you is critical, as this could affect you for the rest of your life. To help you in making the right choice, below are some tips on how to choose a DUI/DWI attorney in Texas; one with the knowledge, skills, and experience to protect you.
1. Evaluate Your Options
Although being charged with a DUI offense can be stressful on your part, don’t let the pressure force you into making a hasty decision when choosing a lawyer. Once you get your “Notice of Suspension” from the ALR (Administrative License Revocation) program, you have 15 days to request your driver’s license back.
This will give you a couple of weeks to talk to a few attorneys, compare their advice, and choose the one that has the best legal strategy for your case. As such, it’s important to take your time and find as many referrals as you can and make a list of the best attorneys you can talk to.
2. Don’t Follow the Hype
With a simple online search, you’ll notice that there are so many attorneys around, all claiming to be the best DUI/DWI law specialists. Realize that just because a law firm or attorney makes bold promises in the marketing doesn’t mean that they actually have the necessary skills to represent you effectively. In fact, there are many attorneys who bill themselves as DUI lawyers but make a living out of getting a lot of cases processed through their system, which is often at the expense of the client’s best interests.
A true specialist will be more concerned about the quality of your defense rather than the number of clients that they can push through the system. DUI/DWI law specialists usually have their own processes in place when dealing with these cases, and will often conduct their own investigations into your case.
Your lawyer should be able to outline all of the steps they need to take when building the best defense for your case. However, should they outline a strategy before they even conduct an investigation of your case, you can be sure that you’re dealing with a firm/person who’s only interested in their own bottom line than building the best defense on your behalf.
Ideally, the best attorney for a DUI/DWI defense case should be one that handles them regularly. Keep in mind that DWI law is quite complex, and the laws keep evolving and changing by the day. For this reason, even the cases that seem straightforward can overwhelm an attorney who isn’t up to date with the details.
To ensure that you get the best possible outcome for your case, you should engage a specialist to handle your case. Ask the lawyer for specifics of how many cases they have handled in the past year and their success rate. Don’t forget to ask whether they are Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
3. Do A Thorough Interview
Since it’s your liberty, livelihood, and life at stake, don’t shy around asking a tough question to get the details you need for an informed decision. The following are six examples of questions that you should ask before hiring a DUI/DWI lawyer.
What’s your experience with DUI/DWI cases in Texas?
As mentioned earlier, the experience is key when handling DWI/DUI cases. Although there are many talented DUI lawyers in Texas, not all of them deal with DUI/DWI cases regularly. Nonetheless, you want to get a lawyer who handles DUI cases at least on a monthly basis.
Will you do your own investigations for my case?
This is a critical inquiry for determining whether or not the attorney you’re talking to is a DUI specialist. In case they fail to mention their investigative processes and procedures, or they just give you a generic answer, it’s a red flag that they probably don’t have what it takes to build the best defense for your case.
Are there any potential difficulties for my case?
As a rule of thumb, try to be as transparent as possible with the lawyer you’re interviewing. Be sure to also bring all of the relevant DUI documents related to your case in the first meeting. The DUI laws in Texas are quite complex, and some minor details can make all the difference in winning or losing your case.
Who will handle my DUI case?
The modern law firms are generally busy, and the lawyer you talk to regarding your case might not be the one who’ll actually handle it. In this case, if it’s clear from the start that the lawyer you initially talk to isn’t the one who’ll handle your case, ask whether the attorney who ultimately will has the experience and expertise to defend you successfully. Make sure that they treat you like an individual, not as if you’re just another case number.
Are there any disciplinary measures taken against you or your firm?
While this question might seem a bit forward, the last thing you want is to discover that your lawyer has a tarnished reputation within the Texas legal community, in the middle of your case. With your own reputation and livelihood at stake, it’s in your best interest to ask these questions and determine if your case is in safe, competent hands that will handle it professionally.
What are the average costs for handling a case like mine?
The severity and overall nature of your case will determine how much of your lawyer’s skill and time will be needed to build an effective defense case, and the legal fees charged. It’s therefore important to get a good understanding of your case from a legal standpoint.
Find out how much the firm charges per hour (or their flat fees), and whether they have a payment plan or not. Ensure that you have clear expectations about the fees and terms before you commit to a relationship with a lawyer.
Choosing a good DUI lawyer can be a bit confusing, but with the three tips discussed above, you’re now aware of what to look out for before making a final decision.
For more information about your case, or to speak with an experienced DUI law professional, feel free to contact us any time and schedule a meeting with a professional Houston DUI attorney. We’ll meet you personally and offer you an honest legal evaluation of your case.
Feel free to call us today if you have any further questions!