Hiring an Attorney
Many people are under the mistaken impression that just because a person is a lawyer that means he can handle any case just as well as any other lawyer. This is the farthest from the truth. Law is a very vast and diverse area encompassing civil and as well as criminal matters.
Defending a DWI criminal case is a very complex task for a defense attorney. It is one of the few areas in criminal law where the prosecution witnesses are almost entirely composed of police officers as witnesses, and where the prosecution has scientific evidence at their disposal. Moreover, with the pressure that organizations like MADD exert on the Court, as well as the District Attorney's office, getting a fair disposition of your case has become increasing difficult.
A qualified DWI defense lawyer not only must know the in and outs of the DWI Laws, but he must possess vast amount of technical knowledge concerning the workings of the breath test machine, and police procedures concerning Standard Field Sobriety Tests. Common sense tells you that if the person defending you doesn't know how the machine works, and its weak points, or how Standard Field Sobriety Tests should be administered, then how can the person possibly defend you effectively.
When interviewing a DWI defense lawyer, first find out how much of his practice deals with DWI defense cases. Question him about how the machine works and it's weaknesses. Find out if he has DWI trial experience. Many defense lawyers who represent people charged with a DWI have little or no trial experience in the DWI area. Ask him if he belongs to any organizations that deal with the defense of people charged with a DWI. How many seminars he attends concerning the defense of DWI's. How many periodicals he subscribes to concerning DWI defense. As a general rule, the more educated your lawyer is on the area of DWI, the better he will be able to represent you.
In agreeing to a retainer and price for a DWI defense lawyer, remember to get all the terms in writing. Price is not always a good indicator of a person's ability to represent you. The cheapest price is usually not the best price. Remember, like anything else, you get what you pay for and when you have so much riding on your case it is important not to be penny wise and dollar foolish.
In order to find a qualified DWI lawyer for defense, ask around the local court. Most of the court personnel, legal aid lawyers, or court officers know which lawyers are the most experienced at handling a DWI criminal case.