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Which DWI Attorney is right for you?
Six Tips For Hiring a DWI Lawyer
Tip 1: Get A Free Consultation, and Learn About Costs
Tip #1 is “get a free consultation.” If an attorney wants to represent you on a DWI case, they should be willing to talk with you and discuss your case at no charge. You can contact us anytime at The Militello Law Firm for a free telephone consultation and case evaluation. Our number is (585) 485-0025. If you are curious about pricing, we can even give you an estimate right now.
Tip 2: Choose a Well-Respected, Local DWI Attorney
There is no substitute for choosing a local attorney, and more specifically, a well-respected local attorney. Local attorneys know which judges are more likely to impose harsh sentences, and thus know how far to push a case – without pushing it over the edge. A truly local attorney also knows the prosecutors- many of them personally, and that can help when having frank discussions about a case. When prosecutors know that an attorney isn’t bluffing, or trying to huff and puff while overreaching for an unreasonable plea deal, it makes the discussions regarding a possible settlement much more productive, and that results in a better outcome for you - the client. (As of this update on September 4, 2016, Mr. Militello has been selected as a "rising star" by SuperLawyers, he holds a 10 Avvo.com rating, he is a general member of the National College for DUI Defense, and he is a lifetime member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.)
Tip 3: Find An Attorney Who Will Help Protect Your Rights
In the United States of America, you have certain rights that are protected by state and federal constitutions. For example, you have the right to be represented by counsel, you have the right to a trial, you have the right to call witnesses in your defense, and to cross-examine witnesses called by the prosecution. You also have the right to not have your car stopped by police without reasonable suspicion that a violation of the law is taking place.
Your attorney needs to be prepared to fight for the protection of each and every right you have, while explaining your options along the way.
Tip 4: Find and Attorney Who Know When to Go To Trial, and Who Knows When To Plead
Sometimes it makes a lot of sense to go to trial. We recently had a case where a client was arrested for having a BAC of .24. I saw that the arresting officer’s reasoning for stopping our client was weak, so I took the case to a Probable Cause hearing. A Probable Cause hearing is a day in court, before the trial occurs, where the judge gets to decide if evidence should be used at trial. The judge in this case decided that the stop by police was unlawful, so all the evidence was suppressed, and the case was dismissed. Like I said, sometimes it makes a lot of sense to head to trial.
On the other hand, sometimes it makes a lot of sense to take a plea deal. We recently had a case where a client was charged with felony DWI after refusing to give a chemical test. Many attorneys will tell you that this is one of the best times to go to trial because refusal trials are typically easier to win than trials where you challenge a BAC test result. In this case, however, the client was facing a number of years in state prison (it was his second felony), and I negotiated a plea deal that included only weekends in jail. Could we have taken it to trial and aimed for a “not guilty” verdict? Sure, but this client decided that his best option was a plea deal.
There is no one correct solution for every client. We listen to what YOU need, so that we can help you make the best decision for you and your family.
Tip 5: Find an Attorney who will Prepare for Trial by Gathering Evidence, Even If You Really Want to Negotiate a Plea Deal
The best way to get a winning plea deal is to prepare for a winning trial. Your attorney will request all sorts of information from the prosecution. The request is called a discovery demand. I will request blood test results, police reports, BAC DataMaster calibration records, photographs, videos, and much more information. Our discovery demand is about six pages long! I then scour the prosecution’s response for any information that can help us build a case to defend you. Attorneys don’t win cases by getting lucky. We win cases by working hard, and by working smart.
It’s very important to always prepare for trial – even when a client insists that they want a quick resolution and plea deal.
Tip 6: Ask if the Attorney You Hire Is the Same Attorney Who Will Appear By Your Side In Court
If you hire a law firm because you have heard their advertisement on the radio a hundred times, you may want to ask yourself… “Is the guy on the radio the same guy who is going to represent me in court?” There are some people out there selling themselves as top DWI attorneys when they have no intention of appearing in court with you.
If you have been charged with a DWI, contact The Militello Law Firm today. Our phone number is (585) 485-0025. We can help.