Sounds like your son needs a personal injury lawyer to sort it out. Simply use Avvo's lawyer finder tool to locate a local Apple Valley personal injury lawyer. The lawyer won't get paid unless your son gets money.
Although somewhat unclear, it sounds like the driver of the semi truck was charged with DUI, not your son. If this is true, your son does not need a criminal attorney, but a personal injury attorney. Depending upon additional facts, your son and his friend may have significant claims against several persons/entities. You should contact a lawyer right away. If your son or his friend is the one being charged with DUI, then he does need a criminal attorney and the PI options may be limited.
If a person suffers harm because of the negligence of another, said victim needs to do the following: First - immediately get medical attention. Second - hire a personal injury attorney. We personal injury type lawyers offer free consultations and take cases on a contingent (meaning our client does not pay unless he or she "wins" money). In a motor vehicle accident, most personal injury attorneys immediately target the driver, the owner, and the employer of the driver as potential defendants. If the defendants want to argue among themselves, so be it, but if the accident is the fault of the driver, at least one of them will be found liable when the jury gives the verdict. As for determining who is at fault, determining who is at fault or partially at fault in a motor vehicle accident can be easy (as in the rear-ender) or more commonly not so easy as it requires witness interviews, drivers' statements, accident scene photos and reports, police reports, etc. If a determination is made that a drive is not at fault, then there is no legal liability. In the case of disputes over how to interpret all of the evidence, a court will determine fault.
So, should someone be hit head on by a semi truck... and it were to be the truck driver's fault (whether through being drunk or sober), the victim should hire a personal injury attorney to handle suing the truck driver and trucking company and whoever else may have liability... if the truck driver was drunk at the time, the district attorney will handle that aspect... and the personal injury attorney will be an ally in a way.
Fortunately, most of us personal injury types offer free consultations and take such cases on contingency no matter where the case is in California, so there is nothing to fear in calling us.
Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D.
Attorney at Law, Physician
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I think what you mean is you want an attorney to handle your son's DUI criminal case and charge the fee to the personal injury case. You probably need an experienced personal injury attorney who also has experience with DUI trials. There should be a few out there, but unless it appears that there is liability against the truck driver, it will be difficult to convince them to proceed on that basis.
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The Public defender will end up being the pro bono attorney since he is the one being charged with the DUI. You probably aren't going to find an attorney to take on this case for free, sounds like it will be a substantial case that requires many hours worth of work. We all work to pay bills etc and although many of us do probono work. Criminal cases can be very time intensive .. When he goes to court he needs to ask for a PD.
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Your biggest issue will be your son's DUI. There is certainly a PI case in addition to the criminal matter, both for your son and the passenger. Whether your son will need one or two attorneys depends on whether you can find a criminal defense attorney who also does personal injury work. Most attorneys specialize in one or the other but not both, since both areas of law are very complex and specialized. Another issue is that in the personal injury case, there will be an issue of comparative liability. The law is such that liability will be divided between the semi truck driver and your son to determine each parties responsibility for the crash. Your son could end up getting a substantial monetary award but if he found, lets say hypothetically 70% responsible for the crash, he only gets 30 of the award. And you can be assured that the passenger will be suing for damages as well. Since your son's PI matter will take along time to settle with no guarantee of an award, I don't think too many criminal defense attorneys would take such a serious matter without being paid up front. And with your son's traumatic brain injury, is he even competent to deal with the criminal matter?
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Your son may qualify for a public defender on the dui charge. If they drew blood sample, there could be another arrest report that will have the criminal info. You/he needs to immediately consult wth a lawyer who handles air bag cases. The car must be preserved in a safe, controlled environment so experts can look at it.
If I'm looking at the question (and adding in the details from the comments you've added to other questions), your son will need a DUI attorney. You're unlikely to get one to work for free unless there is a personal injury attorney that also handles personal injury work) to handle both aspects.
Your son being charged with DUI will obviously point the finger at him in the civil case, but if the airbags failed to deploy, there may be a suit against the car manufacturer.
It's worth it to sit down with a couple local personal injury attorneys to discuss the case.
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Attorneys are forbidden by the rules of professional conduct from taking a criminal case on a contingency fee basis. It is very unlikely you will find a criminal defense attorney willing to take on the case pro bono. However, if he cannot afford an attorney, he is entitled to representation in the criminal case by the public defender.
In a personal injury lawsuit against the truck driver, an attorney is allowed to take the case on a contingency fee basis. But, he is not obligated to.
You should consult with several DUI attorneys to see what they would charge to defend your son as well as several personal injury cases to find out on what terms they would be willing to take your son's case.
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Your facts are unclear. Who was the cited with the DUI? The truck driver, your son or the driver of the car in which your son was situated in the collision with the truck? If we assume that your son was cited with the DUI, then your would need to ind a criminal attorney. However, most criminal attorneys do not work a lien basis and are paid by the hour or through a retainer. If your son cannot afford a criminal attorney, he may be eligible for a public defender. Check with your court system.
DUI case: This is a criminal matter, so your son can be represented by a lawyer whether or not he can afford it. That's from the US Constititution and the famous Gideon v. Wainwright case. That may be the Public Defender or an appointed lawyer--all he needs to do is ask for a lawyer when his case goes to court. Criminal attorneys can't work on a contingency fee basis,
Personal Injury Case: Lots of personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. He may be best off getting two lawyers: the PI and criminal lawyers can help each other.
Exactly who was charged with DUI? Airbag cases are tough, esp. if your son was legally drunk.
To be totally honest, DUI is also not a charge that's usually brought against someone based only on someone's statement. They need a chemical test. What gives?
Where is Apple Valley? I agree with the other attorneys. I would help you on contingency but you live too far. You should contact a more local attorney in your area or the calbar.org for referrals. Goodluck!
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Criminal defense is not to be done on a contingency basis. Think. What would be the contingency. Your son is entitled to a Court-appointed criminal defense attorney. Your son probably needs a guardian ad litem, agent under a power of attorney, or conservator to explore a claim for personal injuries.
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