How do I find the best lawyer for my OWI (1st offense) without getting taken advantaged of?

Asked about 2 years ago - Troy, MI

I am in the medical field & have the feeling of being rushed into a Decision as the dates are so soon. I have been assigned Judge (who is extremely hard on 1st offenders), & I know that it seems as if my case is very black & white as the blood test was drawn & I was drunk & should not have been behind the wheel.
It was a mistake. Should I choose the most expensive lawyer or the oldest one (who has a lawsuit against the judge). The other lawyers have a lot less years in practice?
I understand that my case has no guarantees, yet all the lawyers say very similar things as they will do their best. I need the absolutely best chance

Attorney answers (6)

  1. Ezra N. Goldman

    Contributor Level 16

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The problem you are dealing with is that your case is not that complicated. On rare occasion, a drunk driving case can be fought and won. But otherwise, they are all the same, which is why everyone is telling you something similar. This is a case where I do not believe that paying more will get you better service. You can not convince the judge that this is anything other than it is -- a first time drunk driving. The best you can do is show him how seriously you are taking this and the strength of your commitment to sobriety. Best of luck.

    PS - if a lawyer is suing a judge, I would expect the judge to disqualify himself from that lawyer's cases. But judge shopping may not solve your problem at all.

  2. Scott Matthew Aaronson

    Contributor Level 13

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . First off, there is no such thing as a case that is impossible to beat. That being said, you should know that yes, it can extremely difficult to beat OWIs. That being said, generally they don't give great pleas for OWIs so you don't have as much to lose by taking it to trial. A good DUI/OWI attorney goes to seminars to improve their skills and isn't afraid to go to trial on cases, but will be honest about your chances. A more experienced attorney doesn't necessarily mean a better attorney. I know attorneys who have been doing it for 30 years and have never had a trial. Likewise I know extremely competent younger attorneys who in my opinion are much more experienced than the older ones.

    You obviously found AVVO. Check reviews, ask questions. Find an attorney you can talk to directly and that you trust.

    -Attorney Scott Aaronson
    877-I-CAN-WIN
    Direct: 248-956-1165
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  3. Lawrence A. Newman

    Contributor Level 10

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Wow, that's a loaded question.

    First talk to MI DUI lawyers, I am licensed in NY, NJ, PA, and FL and a Doctor of Chiropractic but I focus my practice on DWI in NY.

    More specifically I only take on cases in certain counties and courts. WHY? I know the courts, judges, and DAs in these places. I see and interact with them regularly. It gives me an edge.

    WHY find a DWI lawyer? Because lawyers have to focus, like doctors, you can't be all things to everyone, it is impossible. There are dinosaurs out there, so be careful, having learned nothing new in 30 years is neither healthy nor effective. I am the new breed, clients are participants not spectators. Find a lawyer that explains, that teaches, that guides, and that communicates.

    1. Don't compare "credentials" as much as people.

    How do they come across to you? Do you get along with them? This is a very personal decision.

    2. Are they into DWI or merely a dabbler at it?

    Someone seriously practicing DUI/DWI in the USA in 2012 belongs to the NCDD (National College of DUI Defense), they are certified in breath testing (have can you cross on machines you know nothing about), they are certified in the FSTs (field sobriety tests) again how can you cross examine police if you don't know the testing and procedures backwards and forwards,

    3. Where is their interest?

    Do they speak on, write on, blog on, video on DWI/DUI, in other words are they invested in this? Interested in what they do? Do they love it? For those of us into it, we get excited about our cases, learning at seminars, growing as people and practitioners.

    I talk to lawyers who only go to seminars for CLEs, I go to be a better lawyer. I charge at the high end in my area for what I do and guess what I think I am a bargain, I think people are lucky to have me (yeah I have a big ego and a big heart)

    WHY? Because I answer my phone 7 days a week, because I give as much as I get, and because I care about those clients I accept. We begin our relationship (you can call it representation) with an excellent contract/agreement filled with reciprocity and respect. The same commit I bring to my wife, kids, and self I give to them.

    So don't pick a good lawyer, pick a good person who happens to be a DUI lawyer. They are usually one and the same. see my blog for the number one reason clients "divorce" their lawyers

    Lawrence (Larry) Newman, D.C., J.D. Attorney at Law Doctor of Chiropractic Licensed in NY, PA, NJ, & FL... more
  4. Ted Harvatin

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The first date is where you enter your not guilty plea. It is not the trial date. See what the state offers. If none of the lawyers can tell you to expect anything better that means its the standard offer. Hire a lawyer who is then willing to walk you through the process, unless you feel strongly about defending and have lots of money to hire experts and go to trial

  5. Stephen A. Gustitis

    Contributor Level 13

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Choosing a criminal defense lawyer is a very personal decision. Your future is on the line and you want to avoid making a decision you'll regret later. Do your best research and choose the lawyer you trust the most.

  6. Andrew Charles Lapres

    Contributor Level 16

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . That's a tough question. I have personally met "old" attorneys with a lot of experience and "expensive" attorneys with flashy ads and quick talk...and many of them I wouldn't pay a dollar to tell me what time it is. Price and "years of experience" should be a factor when choosing an attorney, but don't make the mistake of looking only at these. There are attorneys with 20 years of experience that spent that 20 years being terrible at practicing law. Remember that you pay the attorney what the attorney believes they are worth. There are some that will charge $2000 for something another lawyer will do just as good, if not a better job at, for less than half of that. Be careful with any lawyer that promises anything other than to work hard on your case. When reading their testimonials, if the "recommendations" from former clients seem to nail many points in their ad, a former client might not have written it. Above all, meet your potential lawyers in person and get a feeling for them. Go with your gut. If you get the feeling that he/she hasn't first researched what they're telling you, you're probably right. Good luck.

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