1.Talk with as many lawyers as possible. The more you talk with attorneys the more you will understand the difference in knowledge base each possesses in relation to DWIs. It will also allow you to determine a feel for the attorneys' personalities and the kind of person you want to handle your case. Remember these attorneys will have your future in their hands and you need to decide who you are going to trust with that responsibility.
2. How much should it costs? Good defenses cost good money for a reason. You are typically paying for the attorneys' time and a good defense takes a lot of time. There are numerous documents to review from multiple agencies. Getting these documents takes time and reviewing them takes time. The information must be reviewed to make sure that the actions of the persons involved are in compliance with Arkansas law, Health Department Regulations, Police Department Regulations, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Regulations, and the Rules put in place by the breath machine manufacturer. One violation of these protocals can significantly impact a case. Most attorneys will charge a minimum of $150 per hour up to $450 per hour for those will a specialized knowledge base. The question is, with that in mind, how much time do you expect your attorney to spend on your case.
3. When interviewing the attorneys, ask which ones have experience dealing with DWIs. Many attorneys handle DWIs but few handle them with any background to deal with the relevant issues you will have to face. If an attorney tells you that a DWI can not be won politely tell them goodbye. DWIs are very difficult and complex cases but many (not all) can be won. The converse is also true. If an attorney guarantees he will win your case or talks about how you can't lose run away and don't look back. Again these cases are very complex and remember that the attorney is just hearing your version of what took place which is often drastically different than the testimony put on by the officer. It is all but impossible for anyone to determine the potential outcome of the case without seeing all of the evidence that will be presented. A good DWI attorney will only tell you about the possible defenses you may have while at the same time stressing the complexity of these cases.
Questions to ask when interviewing an attorney:
Have you ever been to a police academy or any other law enforcement training?
Have you ever arrested someone for DWI?
Have you ever ridden with a police officer and seen how they make their arrest decision?
Have you ever trained police officers on the street in real world situations?
Have you been certified to perform field sobriety tests?
Can you name the three standardized field sobriety tests that have been approved by the NHTSA?
Can you tell me the percentage of accurancy for each test?
Have you ever operated a breathalyzer?
Do you know what breathalyzer has been approved for use in Arkansas?
What agency controls rules and regulations governing the use of breathalyzers?
Have you ever prosecuted people charged with a dwi?
Have you ever trained prosecutors and/or defense attorneys on dwi issues?
Have you ever lectured your peers on topics related to dwi?
Have you ever sat as a special judge on dwi cases?
Is your practice devoted primarily to dwi defense?
Its is not crucial that the attorney be able to meet each of these criteria to be a good DWI attorney but it will give you a basic understanding of their knowledge as it relates to DWIs and their experience in the various aspects of DWI cases.
When choosing an attorney price is a concern, but should not be the primary concern. The old adage "you get what you pay for" is true in life and law. Make sure you are getting an attorney that has the required knowledge to properly handle your case for a price you can afford.