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DWI 2nd - I have a criminal defense attorney retained but am second guessing my decision...please help.

Bulverde, TX |

Like i said, I have a criminal defense attorney retained who does not specialize in DWI. After receiving a copy of the state's evidence I decided to get a second opinion form an attorney who is a founding member of the National Drunk Driving Defense College. Although my retained attorney is a very nice and smart man, there are some issues I feel will be better handled by a specialist, such as jurisdiction and a possible illegal stop.

After reviewing the evidence (video and police report) the DWI attorney told me I have a "good case to tri" which I guess means a good case to take to trial.

The DWI attorney didn't make much small talk and didn't take much time to explain, but seemed to know his stuff.

What are your thoughts? what would you do?

The DWi attorney said both the jurisdiction and illegal stop were vaild challenges to the states evidence.

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Attorney answers 7


The National College for DUI Defense (NCDD) has excellent training programs for its member attorneys and each of the founding members -is- a nationally-recognized expert in DUI defense. That said, your retained attorney may also be very capable and and "know his stuff" and may furthermore be someone you feel more comfortable with. Or not.

Professional affiliations are a signpost to help you, but they are not the goal itself. Ask both attorneys about their experience and training with DUI cases. Ask them to tell you the specifics of how they would defend your case. What are the issues in your case? What are the possible outcomes? Then select the attorney with whom you feel most confident.

As stated by other attorneys here, the issues of jurisdiction and illegal stop are not DUI-specific - they are general criminal/traffic law matters and any capable attorney can handle them. Ask your potential attorneys about more DUI-specific matters: your drinking behavior, the Field Sobriety Tests and their admissibility, the preliminary breath test (and its admissibility), the breath test or blood test you took (or didn't take), whether you have conditions (such as Reflux Disease) or take medications which may have affected the Breath Alcohol Concentration or the gizmo which measured it.

In the end, only you can decide which attorney is right for you. I suggest to you that past experience and reputation are excellent tools to help you decide, but so, very likely, is your gut feeling about the attorneys once you have talked to them for awhile.


No attorney participating here can answer your question. It is a decision only you can make. You need to put all of the information you have including what your "sixth sense" is telling you. It is important to feel comfortable with the person to whom you have entrusted your defense. I obviously know nothing about the facts of your case or wither of the competing attorneys. Even if I did I would not give you my opinion. Your situation illustrates a problem that is becoming more common by the day. Influences outside the established attorney/client relationship having a negative impact on that relationship. Doing your own research on the Internet can do it. Talking to other attorneys to get a second or third opinion to put up next to what your retained lawyer is telling you. It is that potential for impairment of an existing attorney/client relationship that causes me to avoid being in the position of the second attorney at all costs. Good luck.


You might want to discuss the issues the DWI specialist raised with your current attorney. If that conversation doesn't make you feel better, it may be time to move on.

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William A. Jones Jr.

William A. Jones Jr.


Precisely my point, thanks counsellor.


Jurisdiction and stop and search issues are bread and butter issues that typically do not vary with whether a case is a DWI or some other sort of case.

Your lack of confidence in the abilities of your lawyer suggest that you really need to sit down and have a heart to heart talk with him or her.

Few lawyers actually specialize in DWI defense. If that is what you want, you may want to consider hiring a DWI specialist.

Answers on Avvo are for general information purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. No attorney / client relationship is created by providing this answer. For specific advice about your situation, you should consult a competent attorney of your choosing.


There is no certificate for DWI specialty. If the"DWI attorney" is holding himself out as a DWI specialist you might ask him and your retained attorney how many jury trials have they had in
DWI. You might ask for any appellate cases that they tried and were appealed so that you can look
at the trial transcript and appellate record. Ask for the court citation.

Evan Edward Pierce-Jones

Evan Edward Pierce-Jones


I agree that there is no specialization in DWI defense under the auspices of the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. There are lawyers who specialize in DWI. Some of those are board certified in criminal law or in criminal appellate law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Neither of those credentials is required in order to be a good or even a great DWI defense lawyer. What is required to be a DWI defense lawyer is a law license and the knowledge base to properly, vigorously defend the case.



The attorney I'm looking at has an AVVO rating of 10.0, was a founding member of the NDDDC, voted DWI Super Lawyer for the last 13 years, starting in 2002, 90% of his practice is DWI Defense handling over 3000 cases, and 10% appellate law. His DWI resume consists of lots of other stuff as well.

Evan Edward Pierce-Jones

Evan Edward Pierce-Jones


Good for him. There are also many, many great lawyers who are never listed in "Super Lawyers" and do not belong to any specialty organizations like NDDDC. Because you are using a retained attorney, you are at liberty to hire any lawyer who will take on your case. Good luck to you. I hope you find a lawyer in whome you have confidence if that is not the lawyer you have now.


You'll have to go with your instincts on this one. I recommend meeting with several lawyers and hire the one with whom you feel the most comfortable.

Law Office of David D. White, PLLC
1205 Rio Grande St.
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 369-3737


You're in a tough spot. Sit down with the attorney you hired and discuss some of your concerns.

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