If An Attorney Guarantees Me A Victory; Should I Retain Him?
No! If anyone ever does that, ask for it in writing. Attorneys are not allowed to guarantee victory or guarantee results. That’s an ethical violation with the California State Bar. If they want to guarantee you that you’re going to win the case and they are going to make the whole thing go away, you want to go on to the next lawyer. What an attorney can do is tell you that they feel very strongly that they will get these results; that they have gotten these results before and what they anticipate.
They can come close to saying, “I guarantee” but they can’t guarantee it. They just can’t. They are not allowed to. You can ask them a lot of questions and they can give you examples of how this defense they’re talking about has worked before. They can say, “This should happen”, they can say, “I am not allowed to guarantee this but this is what I expect to happen.” It can’t be a guarantee and they would never give you a guarantee in writing.
If I Follow the Lead of A Friend that Had a Successful DUI Case, Will I Also Prevail in My DUI?
Every case is different and if your friends were comfortable with the attorney who represented them, they’ll refer you to that attorney. You can talk to them but if you go to that attorney and say, “Hey my friends got this or that”, they may or may not remember the case. They could look at it and they could say, ”Hey this is why their case was different than yours” because no two cases are the same. It’s one of those things where every once in a while someone says to a lawyer, ”Hey my friend told me that I can get off on a DUI because they got off. I expect the same of you.” That’s not the case. The case has to be evaluated. The facts have to be evaluated. It is a long process to go through until we know how a case is going to come out.
So it’s not one of the best things that you can do; to go to a lawyer saying, “My friend has got this or that”. That also will not be a real comfortable conversation for your attorney while the case is going on. The attorney doesn’t know anything about your friend’s case and every case is different. You have got to trust the attorney based upon their experience, based upon your gut feeling when you hired them. It’s just not productive to go to an attorney with that type of comment or question. It is very hard to answer. You’re concerned with your case and what your attorney can do on your case based on the facts of your case. Not what happened with someone else’s case.
Is it Worth it to Hire An Attorney for a 2nd or 3rd DUI Offense?
It depends on if you had an attorney before and which attorney you had. Many people come to me with multiple offenses, second, third, fourth or more and they were not happy with the attorney that they had previously either for the results or the way that they had no idea about whether or not they knew the strengths or weaknesses of their case. That’s something that the attorney really needs to relay to the client before any decision is made. Your strengths and weaknesses of the case, why certain decisions are recommended, the client makes the decisions in the end on what to do. It’s not the attorney’s decision.
You’ve got to really be careful with that first DUI. That’s why it’s so important because if you get another one and the first one could have been won but you hired an attorney who was a cheap attorney or just didn’t do anything or wasn’t able to get the results when they maybe could have gotten results. You just hired the wrong person in a fightable case then the second time you’re putting that new attorney at a disadvantage because what that new attorney should be doing is fighting a first defense DUI. If the first attorney did a good enough job on that first one, you’d probably go back to the first one for the second one. Obviously we all know the important thing to do after the first DUI is to make sure you don’t get a second one. But we are human. We make mistakes. We get in trouble. We never really intend to get in trouble but for a second a DUI the penalties are so much greater.
We are dealing with interlocks. We are dealing with longer sentences. We are dealing with sometimes-higher fines, higher probations, insurance going up that much more and job issues. There’s so much on the line that you really need to have the right lawyer this time and what happened the first time should not impact what happens the second time. If you didn’t like the first lawyer, obviously don’t go back to that lawyer if you hired a cheap lawyer the first time and you don’t like the results, you think you should have had different results based on the numbers in your case, based on the facts of your case, then talk to someone else. Talk to someone who is in another category, someone who is more experienced, someone who is specialized or does mainly DUI defense.
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By Aaron Bortel
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