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Michigan Criminal Law Blog

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What Questions Should You Ask before Hiring a DUI Attorney?

Hiring a DUI or OWI attorney is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. A good attorney could mean the difference between time spent in jail and the ability to keep your life as normal as possible after your arrest.

Unfortunately, too many people rely on television commercials or the rate the attorney charges to make their final decision. Instead, it’s better to consult with a few different attorneys, ask the right questions, and decide based on a variety of different factors including experience, approach, and how someone makes you feel in general.

Your initial consultation, which in nearly every case will be free of charge, is a great time to get a feel for an attorney and whether he or she is right for you. Keep in mind, even the best attorneys aren’t right for everyone.

What are a few of the questions you can ask that will help you assess whether a DUI lawyer is the best choice for you?

Questions about Experience and Professional Background

  • How long have you been practicing criminal law?
  • How much of your practice is devoted to defending OWI and DUI clients?
  • Are you a member of any bar associations or professional organizations?
  • Where did you go to law school?

Questions about His or Her Current Work

  • How often do you work in the courthouse where my case is being handled?
  • How would you describe your relationship, if there is one, with those involved in my case?
  • How many clients are you currently working with?
  • How often do your cases go to trial?

Questions about Your Specific Case

  • What are my options? Should I plead guilty, consider a plea, or take this to trial?
  • What problems do you see with my case?
  • Is there anything that occurred during the arrest that could help me?
  • What should I expect during each phase of my case?
  • What’s the next step?

Questions about Your Working Relationship with the Attorney

  • With whom will I be working from your office?
  • Will I have access to you directly if and when needed?
  • Can I meet the other people I’ll work with?
  • How do I contact you with questions?
  • How often will you update me about my case?
  • How are fees handled? Are they hourly or a flat fee?
  • Will I need to pay a retainer fee? How does that work?
  • What do the fees include? Are there any other expenses?

For more information about how attorneys’ fees work, check out this article from the Graziadio Business Review.

If possible, it’s a good idea to speak to former clients of anyone you consider hiring. This can provide you with an assessment of an attorney from a point of view similar to your own. What a former client has to say might not always be 100 percent objective, but it can still go a long way in helping you decide.

Making the Best Decision

You’ll likely feel pressed for time when hiring an OWI attorney, but do what you can to make sure you make a smart decision. You can’t prolong the legal process while you choose an attorney, but you don’t need to rush into the decision because you’re worried about your arrest.

It’s also a good idea to make sure you prepare for your consultation. This way, any prospective attorney is able to evaluate your case and give you the most thorough answers possible. Assuming you have access to them, bring any documents from the court, your bail papers, information about the property that was searched, and a copy of the police report to your initial consultation.

If you have questions about hiring an OWI attorney or you’d like to schedule a consultation to speak to one who is experienced and can help you with your case, contact Andrew W. Kowalkowski, PLLC at 248.974.9594.

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