By: James Novak, Phoenix DUI & Criminal Defense Lawyer
1) Myth- Arizona Judges do not like when you hire a DUI defense attorney and it will result in less leniency.
FALSE – In fact, the majority of judges in Arizona prefer when the defendant hires a DUI defense Attorney. It makes their job easier. The judge will not have to take time and energy explaining things, and making sure the defendant understands the rules and protocol.
2) Myth – You will get the same end result if you do not hire an attorney, then if you retain an attorney to defend your charges.
FALSE – Going to court unrepresented is a fast track to a DUI conviction. Hiring a criminal or DUI defense attorney will significantly increase your chances of getting your case dismissed, charges and sentencing reduced or a much better outcome in your case than if you were to go unrepresented. The Arizona criminal justice system is a complicated maze of procedures, protocol, with strict and changing laws. The best criminal attorneys in Arizona agree that only by retaining a good DUI or criminal defense will your chances of getting your charges dropped or an acquittal increase. You will need a DUI attorney who can build and mount and present the best defense strategies on your behalf.
3) Myth – It is better to hire an attorney who charges higher “global” fees that includes trial v. an attorney who charges a lower flat fee for all pre-trial services and a lower second tier fee for trial.
FALSE – Top Attorneys and Law Firms have a difference of opinion in this matter. This author believes that it is not the best fee structure for all defendants in every situation. In the state of Arizona only about 2% to 3% (give or take a percentage over time) of DUI or criminal cases actually go all the way to trial. This means that 97% to 98% are dismissed or resolved through plea agreements before trial. So if your charges are dismissed or resolved before trial, the attorney keeps the trial fee, rather refunding you the unused trial portion.
4) Myth – If an attorney charges a higher price, he is a better attorney than one who charges a lower amount.
FALSE – There are no governing entities that regulate attorney fees or how much they charge for a particular service. Thus you will get quotes in vary wide low to high ranges for the same charge. Some DUI Attorneys charge simply for they estimated work time needed to defend the case. Many have been charging the same prices for decades. The Attorneys or Law firms must take into account their advertising, and operation costs needed to run their Law Firm. Those attorneys many tend to require a higher fee for service. There are some attorneys who feel they are justified in charging higher fees because they have more experience, training or education. But the fact that they perceive themselves in that fashion does not always make it true.
5) Myth – DUI or criminal defense attorney in Arizona you consult before hiring can guarantee your case will be dismissed or charges dropped.
FALSE – And raise the red flags. If a DUI or criminal defense attorney guarantees your case can be dismissed, run…don’t walk the other way. There are many reasons DUI attorneys can not guarantee an outcome, especially a dismissal. First, they do not have a crystal ball. Second, ever case is different and presents it’s own unique set of circumstances. Third, all the evidence must be examined including #911 recordings, report, field sobriety test results, breath test results, police procedures, constitutional rights issues, reason for the stop, witness statement, the law and defenses that can be used surrounding your individual circumstances. Fourth, if your case goes to trial, no one can predict their decision. There are many other reasons, but this should be enough to paint the picture of the myth is false.