How to Choose a DUI Attorney
This is the second of a six-part series explaining a DUI case from the arrest to beginning a new life
Choosing a DUI lawyer to fight your DUI charge in Arizona is the most important decision you will have to make in your impaired driving case.
Making an excellent choice requires research and a little investigating. Keep in mind that a DUI arrest on your record results in serious consequences that include time behind bars, financial expenses, license revocation or the suspension of your license to drive, and a criminal record to follow you on the public record. So be diligent in choosing your DUI defense. The help of a good lawyer can make a huge difference in how the legal system treats you now and for the rest of your life.
Searching for a DUI defense attorneyIn the Phoenix area, DUI attorney options are plentiful. Start your research by asking relatives and friends if they know of a legal counselor that provided them legal representation and, if so what was the outcome. Also, ask how they interacted with the defendant. You may not want to ask your coworkers for a reference to avoid risking the employer’s negative response.
Next, the State Bar of Arizona has a list of potential DUI attorneys who are in good standing without any disciplinary action. Navigating the site directs you to other legal professionals. Search for DUI cases in the news to collect names case-winning DUI attorneys. For example, PHOENIX magazine ranked myself among the top criminal defense lawyers in the greater Phoenix area in its September 2022 issue.
Law firms have their own websites and you can learn something about them and their results from those sources. Also, research on Avvo which provides a most viable source of DUI attorneys, or LinkedIn. You can discover which law school he or she attended, and other information, including employment history, and see if they have peer reviews, which can be more than helpful in making a selection. The best DUI attorneys will have great reviews on Google and an attorney’s social media page may be helpful as well.
The next step is to ensure that a particular DUI attorney is well qualified in both training and experience and avoid anyone who has a malpractice allegation.
Arrange in-person meetingsWith research completed, now move to arrange individual meetings with three to five lawyers. This is the crucial step because you can judge their personalities and mannerisms and how good a fit he or she is with you. Look around the office, is it messy or well-ordered?
Important Questions to ask your potential lawyerBefore discussing your case, be prepared with a list of ice-breaking questions to ask such as:
- Why did you choose to become a DUI defense lawyer?
- How long have you defended DUI charges?
- How much DUI Experience do you have?
- What most motivates you?
- What is your win, lose, and draw record?
- How heavy is your caseload?
- Is the attorney local?
- Will you handle my case personally, or will an associate?
- Will you help me with other aspects of the charges outside of the courtroom?
- The interview is different from a complimentary assessment of your case, which begins after asking the due-diligence questions.
- Now, tell the lawyer all the facts of your case. Do not leave anything out. Why the traffic stop? Did you invoke your Fifth Amendment right to stay silent when the officer started asking questions to convict yourself? If you did speak, what did you say? Did you ask for legal counsel under the Sixth Amendment?
- Take any documents related to your case including the police report and the results of a blood test with you when you meet with the DUI the lawyers.
- Public defenders are competent lawyers, but the defendant may not get a choice of who defends your case. The Public defender’s office is often a starting place for law school graduates to begin their legal careers, and some stay on for their career. Free legal help may be worth exactly what you pay.
How much will your defense costThe complexity of your case may be a deciding factor. Ask if they have a payment plan and how much time will you have to pay in full. Because a DUI conviction is serious matter, it may not be in your best interest to hire low-cost DUI defense counsel. Think about it, low-cost lawyer, low-cost defense. The best DUI lawyers won't come cheap, and DUI lawyer fees may be a very good investment in your future.
Hiring your legal professional at the earliest possible time is crucial. It may be that your lawyer can persuade prosecutors not to file a DUI charge because they have a weak case against you. Choosing the best Attorney for you After your interviews, it is time to decide which one is the best DUI lawyer to help you with your legal defense.
Which one made you feel the most comfortable discussing your criminal charges?
Which one exuded the most confidence?
Which one had a fee schedule that best fits with your budget, but also consider your life with a DUI on your criminal record and jail time? Put a price on that.
Which one did you trust the most?
Which one had a communication style that impressed you the most?
Which one could start on your case the soonest?
Which one did you like the best?
Arizona has some of the toughest DUI laws in the nationDefending a DUI charge involves scientific and technical aspects that can be challenged. Mistakes in police procedures, omissions favorable to you, and evidence storage can result in dismissing the DUI charge.
Should the state have a strong case, a skilled DUI Attorney can work to reduce or dismiss the case by negotiating a plea bargain for a less serious charge such as reckless driving.
Experienced criminal defense attorneys have, over time, developed relationships with prosecutors and judges, which is an advantage to the outcome of your case.
Aaron M. Black LawShould you or someone you care for be charged or are under investigation for drunk driving, it is imperative that you have an experienced DUI defense attorney such as myself to defend you at the earliest possible time after the arrest. In my long career, I know that good people can find themselves in legal trouble and that is why I ensure they have the best legal representation possible.
Aaron M. Black Law provides personalized legal services. Defendants will always be talking directly to me at every stage of your DUI case.
Begin your DUI defense immediately by calling 480-729-1683 at any time on any day and I will respond promptly unless I am in court on at trial. Or use the online contact form on my website.
I defend DUI cases throughout Arizona, including Maricopa, Pinal, Yavapai, and Coconino County Superior Courts.
Other blog posts about the DUI process...
Previous post: The DUI Arrest - Next, part three: The DUI Arraignment
About the Author
Aaron Black is the founder and sole attorney of the Law Office of Aaron Black. Located in Phoenix, Arizona, his DUI and criminal defense law firm provides legal services to people who have received felony or misdemeanor charges from the state.Aaron has developed a strong interest in defending people who have been arrested and received criminal charges for driving under the influence. With his professionalism and knowledge of Arizona DUI and criminal law, he has acted as a check and balance on the police, prosecution and courts and has protected a great number of his clients from excessive and unfair sentencing.
Along with DUI defense, Aaron handles a range of other criminal defense matters, including aggravated assault, burglary, domestic violence, drug possession, drug trafficking, fraud defense, insurance fraud, sex crimes, and white-collar crime cases.
After graduating college in 2003 from the University of Arizona, Aaron decided to pursue a law degree. He followed a family long tradition and went to the University of South Dakota School of Law where he pursued his goal of becoming a criminal defense lawyer.
After passing the Arizona and South Dakota bar exams, Aaron joined the Maricopa County Office of the Public Defender where he defended hundreds of people charged with serious criminal offenses. His work as a public defender helped him sharpen his litigation skills and gave him a unique insight into the Arizona criminal justice system.
Over the course of his 15-year legal career, Aaron has spent a considerable amount of time in both Arizona justice, municipal, state and federal courts. He has argued over 50 jury trials, tried over 100 bench trials and has become one of the highest-rated criminal and DUI defense attorneys in Phoenix and the surrounding areas. He has received a 10/10 rating from the legal directory Avvo because of his legal background and successful case record. Since 2014, he has received the Super Lawyer rating for his work as a Phoenix DUI Attorney and criminal defense attorney.
You can review Aaron’s Attorney Bio page for more information about his background, education and experience as a Phoenix DUI and criminal defense attorney.