The most important thing to look for is experience handling DUI/DWI cases. Familiarity with the local court is good, but experience is even better.
When hiring an attorney the best thing to do is talk to several of them. Then you can compare their experience, their familiarity with the local courts, and the way that they treat you. All of these are important factors. Call some in Jonesboro and some outside of Jonesboro and compare what you find. Oftentimes you will know after meeting them in person if you trust them and if they are qualified to handle your case.
And you never know, you might not have to settle for one or the other! There may be an attorney in Jonesboro who is experienced with the court AND has a lot of experience AND makes you feel comfortable when you meet them. You won't know until you do the leg-work.
You have an excellant array of highly qualified DUI lawyers in your general area. Look for those who have a "superb" rating on Avvo.com. Names like McGarahan, Head, Chestney come to mind when you have a lot to lose. If they can't help they will refer i'm sure.All of the are specialists who refer to specialists. Good luck!
I am an attorney, practicing throughout the state of Georgia, but primarily in the areas around Augusta, Statesboro and Savannah, Georgia. You may review more information about my practice by going to: http://www.avvo.com/attorneys/30809-ga-elmer-young-540135/reviews.html. The information I am providing you should only be considered for your general knowledge and educational purposes. Consider it as a good first step in your knowledge acquisition, but not as legal advice. Indeed, any information I provide is based on the extremely limited facts you have provided and new facts could substantially alter any answer or reply. My opinion should be understood to apply only to the laws of the State of Georgia. You should always consult with a local attorney about your situation if you live outside of the State of Georgia.
You need a lawyer who limits his practice entirely to DUI defense, who is certified both to perform field sobriety tests AND who is a certified field sobriety testing instructor, someone who is certified to operate the breath testing machine, a lawyer who has been though DUI and Drug training, as well as someone who has taken the DRE courses. Also, see if the attorney is a member of The National College of DUI Defense and/or Defense of Drinking Driver's Institute. There are many DUI lawyers who have this training, but be careful because many other lawyer will say they practice DUI law because, but they have no idea what they are doing. They just want your money. Make sure you find a local DUI lawyer who has this training so he can properly fight your case.
James L. Yeargan, Jr. is licensed to practice law in the State of Georgia. All information given is based only on Georgia law, and is not directly applicable to any other jurisdictions, states, or districts. This response, or any response, is not legal advice. This response, or any response, does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information. Any state specific concerns should be directed to an attorney who is licensed to practice law in that respective state.
You should look on Avvo.com or Martindale-Hubbell and find highly rated lawyers from the Area. Also ask any "DUI" Lawyer if they have tried and DUI jury trials and when the last time they heard a jury say "Not Guilty" in a DUI case. This will generally separate the pretenders from the professionals.
No legal advice should be obtained from this response alone. This response is a matter of attorney opinion only. George C. Creal, Jr., P.C. is Georgia Professional Corporation authorized to practice law in the State of Georgia only and all information contained in this response is intended for use for DUI/DWIs occurring in the State of Georgia. Individuals with DUI/DWIs from outside the State of Georgia should contact a licensed attorney in the state of occurrence of their DUI.
While my fine friends make good points above, be ready to pay big bucks for anyone who has dedicated their entire practice to just one part of the law. Some cases need an "expert," many don't. Your situation is yours, and you generally get what you pay for.
Remember, with enough marketing budget, pretty much any hack can get themselves "certified" by a hundred professional groups that are more dedicated to separating money from client's wallets than actually representing individuals in need. While most of these groups are fine and upstanding, mere membership does not mean jack squat if the attorney is not previously connected to the court you are going to appear in.
You need to actually talk with the lawyer whose name is on the door. A nameless cog associate costs 40K a year and may be there simply as a seat filler. Ask who is actually going to go to court with you, the lawyer or an associate. Ask about trials and results. Look at the community to see who is respected by the other lawyers around and who has good reviews from prior clients.
Most importantly, the Attorney-Client Relationship is EVERYTHING. If you do not have access to you lawyer, if they do not return calls, if their gatekeeper never puts you through to them, if you can't get straight answers, you are gonna be let down in the end. The number one complaint about lawyers is lack of communication.
Talk to several, pick the one who you connect well with and can afford. Prices can range from the absurdly low (under a grand which is an insult to the practice of law) to yahoos who like to claim they can win everything because they paid a grad student to write a book and charge whatever they think they can wheedle out of the next person through the door. I hear of 1st lifetime DUI's going for 5, 10 and even 15 thousand dollars or more from some "Brand Name" DUI folks. Some of them are really worth it for that specific case, and it is your duty as a legal services consumer to determine what type of lawyer fits your case.
First Lifetime DUIs are pretty straightforward and you want to get the case either dismissed or reduced to a lesser charge if at all possible. Solicitors hate trying these cases as the Defense bar is so strong. Trial is always the last resort, but you need to be ready to go to trial if you want the best results in a negotiation. Remember, the basic punishment for first lifetime DUI's is set forth in the code and it is rare that the court deviates too far from 12 months, serve 24 hours, 40 hours of community service, DUI School, a fine, and a few other requirements. Almost all first time DUI's also qualify to get their drivers license privileges back immediately, if it was suspended at all.
So go do some research, meet a few lawyers, look at their similarities and differences, then make an informed decision. They will all take your money, even if it is on the dreaded "payment plan....."
No matter what, GET A LAWYER. You guarantee the worst results if you represent yourself.
Information Provided SHOULD NOT be relied upon as binding legal advice as no advice can be reliable unless a full review of all facts has been conducted. No attorney-client relationship exists unless there is a signed retainer between the parties. My Firm does not offer ANY tax advice. The Most Costly and Expensive Advice you will ever get is from a Cheap Lawyer. Do yourself a favor and interview several lawyers before choosing the one that works best for you. Remember, Bad Lawyers make all their money through marketing. Good Lawyers make all their money by winning cases.
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