The Voice of Experience

What to look for in an attorney?

Attendance at a highly ranked and well-known law school – did the attorney graduate from a top ranked law school, known for graduating the best lawyers?  Specialized membership or professional affiliations – does the attorney belong to and routinely attend seminars hosted by these organizations:

Demand Advanced Training and Competency
  • NHTSA Standardized Sobriety Test for Students
  • NHTSA Standardized Field Sobriety Tests for Instructors
  • Intoxilyzer 5000 training course
Ask for recommendations from previous clients.

Get their names and numbers and contact them to ask about their experiences with the attorney.

Disciplinary actions

Does the attorney have any prior or pending disciplinary actions or complaints? Has the attorney ever been convicted of a crime more serious than a parking or traffic ticket? Check the attorney’s disciplinary history at www.texasbar.com

Fees

How does the attorney set their fees? Most Texas DWI/DUI attorneys work on a flat fee basis. Also, highly experienced attorneys often charge much higher fees than younger, less experienced lawyers. That’s because a lawyer that is skilled in the courtroom is able to convince the prosecutor of the difficulty of obtaining a conviction and is able to handle every situation that comes up during a trial. These attorneys are also trying cases and thoroughly investigating their cases coming up for trial. They cannot take the volume of cases that a “plea” lawyer would take. A good attorney will limit the number of cases he accepts so as to do an exceptional job for his clients.

Years in Practice

There is no substitute for experience, and staying current in developing areas of the law.

A Former Misdemeanor Prosecutor

Prosecutors see a large number of DWI/DUI cases. The caseload of a misdemeanor prosecutor is composed of approximately 70% DWI/DUI or driving impaired cases. Those lawyers who were formerly prosecutors were responsible for intake, charging, negotiating and in many cases, investigating and trying a large of number DWI/DUI’s. Often they have argued against the best attorneys in their area and have seen quality legal skills. They know what it takes to be the best. Former prosecutors, who have become defense attorneys, are usually the most formidable opponents for a current prosecutor... and the cycle goes on!

Use of Technology

The use of PowerPoint presentations and an expert use of video technology has been proven to be a winning factor in DWI/DUI cases.

  • Does the attorney encourage the use of e-mail?  Does he have a method for Internet case submission?
  • Does the attorney have a comprehensive, informative Web site?

Attorney’s who master technology, deliver legal services with better quality, reliability and at a fraction of the cost because they are able to minimize the time spent performing trial preparation and research.

Communication

The number one complaint is that a lawyer does not return their client’s phone calls and fails to communicate with their clients. A quality attorney will provide you with all of his phone numbers and will make a point to respond to you. Your attorney has a legal obligation to keep you informed about the status of your case.

Quality DWI/DUI attorneys provide their clients with newsletters and notices of decisions and cases that directly affect their case. This does NOT mean that clients can communicate with our firm daily. Busy trial lawyers cannot do that. Calling your lawyer everyday to find out what is going on in your case is not “communication.”

Compatibility

A good DWI/DUI attorney will never turn a client away because they thought that person was guilty. But sometimes personalities do not match.

Locality

Does your attorney frequently work in the courts in your county? It is a mistake to hire an out of town attorney, unless that attorney is willing to hire a local lawyer to assist with the case. An out of town attorney will not be familiar with the court rules and policies. This will end up costing you money, if not seriously jeopardizing your case if deadlines are missed.

Experience and familiarity with the court, court staff and personnel at the courthouse enable an attorney to accomplish things easily and quickly. A local attorney is a must!

Ethics

Lawyers are only as good as their reputations and all they have to sell is their time. If your attorney ever recommends an illegal act or tells you it is acceptable to lie or engage in dishonest acts, you need to immediately fire that lawyer and report them to the State Bar. You do not want to compound your problems by being charged in a second criminal case as a party to a fraud on the court or other similar crime. A premier attorney would never risk their career or their client’s future with such foolishness!