By: James Novak, Phoenix DUI & Criminal Defense Lawyer
1) If you have Arizona criminal or DUI charges you should not consult a personal injury or real estate attorney for help: Be sure your consultation is with an Arizona criminal defense or DUI defense attorney. They are the most familiar with the laws, defenses, and constant changes in Arizona criminal Law.
2) Just the facts: Stick to the facts of your criminal or DUI charges. A busy attorney has active retained cases from people who have hired them that need attention. They do not have time to discuss the weather or politics unless they are directly relative to your Arizona criminal or DUI charges.
3) Breathe: Yes Breathe. Many people accused of a crime are so anxious to tell their story to someone who will listen and side with them, that they don’t pause to give the criminal or DUI lawyer a chance to speak. Most Attorneys are very good listeners. They are trained and have experience in defense and litigation. As part of the consultation process, they need certain details or information they are looking for in order to help you and proceed with your consultation. If you are doing all the talking, without allowing them to speak, you may miss some very important information, interjections, or questions they have to provide you with the most accurate and useful consultation regarding your criminal charges and defense options. .
4) Answer the Attorney’s questions: The attorney may ask you questions such as date of birth, citizenship status, prior criminal or DUI history, city of arrest, city of residence, reason for the DUI stop, or other charges relating to your charges. They are asking certain questions for good reasons in order to help you. The answers to the questions may relate to the court process that will take place, what the prosecution will be looking for, and defense strategies they may be able to use to defend your case relating to the charges, They will also ask this information to assist them in determining the appropriate quote to give you regarding their fees for retention or other reasons relating to your defense.
5) Make sure you Speak directly with an Attorney: Some firms screen cases through other legal support staff or sales representatives. Find out in advance who you are or will be speaking with for your initial consultation. Consulting with a criminal or DUI attorney will be in a position to provide you the most accurate and beneficial information related to your charges and defense options. If you are not given the opportunity to speak with the attorney who will be representing you, it is wise to seek other defense counsel.
6) Don’t just call around looking for fee Quotes: Often times, people just call one attorney after another for quotes in general. And that is all they want to know. By doing this, they are missing out on very important information that could help them. Further, it is not always possible for the attorney to provide a quote without getting relative facts from you. Also, following your consultation, many attorneys will be willing to negotiate reasonable prices to assist you in retaining them especially if you are having financial hardship. Finally, there is a lot more to consider when hiring an attorney besides their prices. You should consider defense experience, education, training, credentials, and get an idea of what they can do for you. If you hire someone strictly on pricing, without finding anything out about the attorney, you may find you have made a grave mistake that will cost you your freedom and future.
7) Tell the Truth. Sometimes people make the mistake of with holding information surrounding the severity or number of charges instead of all of them, their criminal history, or what phase in the criminal law process they are currently engaged in. Their motivation is to get a “lesser quote”. But by doing this you will do more harm to your defense than good. First, you have compromised the trust of a potential attorney from the start. Next, a good Arizona criminal attorney or DUI lawyer will find out the truth, (sooner than later) whether you tell them or not. In that case, they will have the right charge you the proper amount needed to hire and defend the case. It is better to be honest from the start regarding such things as past criminal record, amount and severity of charges. Also if you have or had a different attorney currently, it is unethical for a criminal or DUI attorney to discuss details of your case. One exception to this is if you have a genuine desire to change attorneys and hire a new one. If that is the case, you need to provide this information as soon as possible. However, keep in mind that if a case is too far into the criminal justice process such as having been set for trial, many attorneys will decline to come on board to represent you.