Is It A General Rule To Shop Around For Lawyers And Look At Different Options?
When you find the right lawyer, you’re usually going to know. Sometimes it’s the first person you talk to. For most people, once they talk to me, they know they’ve found the right lawyer but not everybody. You need to find someone who is experienced, who’s got a good reputation, who focuses on DUI defense, who knows how to get results and has won countless times in DMV and in court. Someone who will go to trial, you want to talk to at least one obviously and maybe two or three in total. Once you start talking to more than that, you are going to start getting confused. I have talked to people who have talked to 10 attorneys or more and they are confused by then.
It’s hard if you talk to too many lawyers, but I always recommend talking to at least 2 or 3 because you want to make sure you’re making the right decision. If you’re talking to the top DUI lawyers, you don’t want to worry as much about the cost as you are about finding the right person for you. For many people, cost is a huge issue. Nobody expects this to happen, nobody expects to have to put out three to six thousand dollars for a DUI and no one intends to drive drunk. It’s rare but when it happens it’s something that you’ve got to pay for. Find the person you’re comfortable with, who called you back quickly and answered your questions and was available right away or shortly thereafter. Go over everything; find the person who’s going to do the work on the case, not ship it off to someone else in their office.
Shop around, you are not looking for the best phones or the best watches here. You are looking for someone that you can connect with, someone that can defend you, someone who can be your voice in a complex legal system, someone who you’ll see at the courthouse if you need to go to court. It depends on the county and where the case is at. You should be able to say, “There’s my lawyer, I am glad he is here and it’s not someone else. It’s my lawyer, the one I hired and this person is protecting me. This person is advising. This person is helping me make what will be one of the biggest decisions I may ever make in my life.” You want to find the best-qualified lawyer that you can, who you feel comfortable with. It’s definitely about that.
How Much Is The Cost of an Attorney As Opposed to the Total Costs Entailed in a DUI Conviction?
In many cases, if I cannot win a case and my client is going to get convicted of a DUI or lesser charge, what they need to do is get some additional insurance. I can point my client in the right direction for insurance, the right people to talk to. The right insurance services that can help them save hundreds if not thousands of dollars over the next four or five years in insurance and it all has to do with timing. A good DUI lawyer who understands the insurance part of this can help you save the full amount if not more of what they charged you for legal fees. That’s a definite yes in a number of cases. We can almost always save people money pointing them in the right direction for insurance. There are some very specialized insurance services for people who have DUI’s. It’s called an SR22, which is an insurance that is high-risk insurance that the DMV makes you get on your person.
That’s one area where an attorney can save someone’s money. A better result can mean either no court fees or court penalties and we are talking in some cases on a first offense alone, almost $2,500 in court penalties up in Napa and Sonoma counties, they charge a lot. Most others are $1,900 to $2,000 for a first DUI. If we get charges reduced, you could be paying half of that depending on what county you’re in. So, if we get charges reduced, sometimes you do a shorter DUI school where a regular 3 month DUI school for a first offense might cost you six or seven hundred dollars depending on which county you are in. We get it reduced to a reckless and you’re paying half of that or less and doing a shorter class.
If you have a high blood-alcohol level and they are trying to make you do 6 or 9 month class, a 9 month class can cost twelve to thirteen hundred dollars. If we can get that down to a 3 month class, that’s saving you money as well. For multiple offenses, it’s an 18 month class that costs a thousand dollars and much higher court fines. You’re on probation longer; if you’re on unsupervised probation, you would be in San Francisco and that’s going to cost you an extra $3000 on top of your $2000 in fines and just probation costs at $50 a month. If we can get a prior offense knocked out and make it just a first offense when you’re charged with a second, that would save almost $5000. There are many places where a more experience qualified lawyer can save you money. Obviously the hope would be that you could win the whole thing and make it go away and then it doesn’t cost you anything except your attorney’s fee.
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