The "Soup to Nuts" on DUI

Posted over 2 years ago. 7 helpful votes



How to Hire a DUI Attorney- Research.

Research the attorney. Most people find a lawyer by one of two ways: 1) Referral; or 2) Advertising. The first is preferred, but most people don't have someone to give them a referral so they must rely on advertising. The internet is you best resource here. You can find out about their experience, their credentials and whether they are a leader or a follower. Credentials like those offered by Martindale, avvo, superlawyers & similar entities matter. Also, look for experience, not "catchy words." Many young lawyers like to promote themselves by saying they are aggressive and so on. Aggression counts for nothing if you don't know what you're doing. Experience means that the attorney has seen every type of defense and knows how to "spot issues." A young attorney (less than 5 years experience) often lacks the wisdom necessary. ALL LAWYERS ARE NOT THE SAME.


Meet with the Lawyer in Person

Unless impossible, be certain that you meet with an attorney in person before you hire him or her. This way you can see their office, their staff, and can personally ask the attorney questions regarding your case. Meeting someone in person is the only way you can get a feel for who he/she is and their level of professionalism and that of their staff. Do they have the resources to handle your case? Ask the attorney to be honest - no sales pitch.


Follow the Attorney's Advice

Once you have made your decision to retain an attorney, follow their advice. A well trained and experienced attorney will recommend that you do certain things to assist with the negotiation of your case. These things potentially have great import and may help reduce the seriousness of your charge or ultimately lower the fines at final disposition. Also, be certain to talk to your attorney before you proceed in obtaining an alcohol evaluation. Many attorneys do not think the evaluation is significant, but it is. The outcome of the evaluation may reduce probation meetings and costs, and can also lower the fees required to obtain treatment. Be careful about social media and don't talk about the incident or case.


Be Patient

Fighting a DUI can take several months and hearings can seem like they were a waste of time. Fight your case as long as you can and as aggressively as you can. Push your case until it can be pushed no further if the deal is unreasonable. Offers tend to get better, not worse and until trial, there is time to negotiate.


Weigh Your Options

If you have a DUI with a BAC of less than 0.10%, no criminal history, no other driving citations or complications, no accident, and no passengers in the vehicle, and do not receive an offer (with the assistance of an attorney) of a lesser charge (including Negligent Driving 1st Degree, Reckless Driving or Reckless Endangerment), then the offer to plead is very likely not reasonable. If your BAC is right at 0.08% or you refused the BAC (and there is no significant evidence suggesting extreme intoxication) you definitely have a chance of prevailing at trial. However, no matter how good your case is perceived to be there are significant risks at trial. There is never an "easy" trial as juries are impossible to accurately predict. Clearly it depends on the individual facts of your case.


Move on

Do not allow this arrest to take over your life. This expense is not just in legal fees. You must consider other expenses such as fines, investigator fees, fees for expert witness testimony and future time off from work to deal with the case proceedings, among other expenditures. Stay positive! Increase time at your church or at volunteer work. Start an exercise program. Just move forward on the right path, whatever that may be for you. If you suspect having a problem with alcohol / drugs, ask your attorney for a referral to a state-approved treatment and rehabilitation program that can only improve your quality of life. This early action to obtain treatment may be vital to your case later, whether you go to trial or not.

Additional Resources

Law Office of John M. Phillips

Rate this guide

Related Topics


The definition, charges, and penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) vary by state and depend on a number of factors.

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask a Lawyer

Get free answers from experienced attorneys.


Ask now

29,357 answers this week

3,329 attorneys answering