Are you or a relative trying to find the best DUI attorney in Austin, Texas, and the surrounding area? There are more than 75,000 licensed attorneys in the State of Texas, but most of these lawyers do not specialize in DUI defense.
Hiring a lawyer to represent you in your DUI case can be the most important decision you make. Read on to learn about seven steps to finding the best DUI attorney Austin!
1. Perform Internet Research
In today’s digital age, one of the best places to start any hiring search is on the internet. You can learn a lot by performing a Google search on DUI attorneys in Austin, Texas.
If you’ve been arrested in the state capital while driving through Travis County, you’ll want to retain an attorney with a strong reputation in the courts of that county.
That’s because a good reputation and presence in the circuit will work to your advantage as a defendant based on your attorney’s professional relationship with prosecutors.
2. Speak to Trusted Friends and Family
Do you have a trusted friend or family member that’s been charged with a DUI in Texas, now or in the recent past? If so, it may be worth speaking to that person to find out what their personal experience was like being represented by a particular attorney or law firm.
What did they like about representation and what did they like the least? If they are comfortable discussing it, what was the final result of their case? The facts of each DUI charge are different, but how each client is treated should always be the same.
3. Visit a Law Firm’s Website
The website of a DWI lawyer is a great place to get the first introduction to a law firm in your area. Does the website have a clean and professional look? If not, that may be a sign that the firm isn’t the best place for your business.
As you browse a law firm’s website, pay attention to the kind of education and qualifications each lawyer has. How many attorneys are working at the firm and what kind of cases does each one handle?
You want to be sure that if you meet in person at an attorney’s office that you’ve got a good sense of their experience based on your review.
4. Check An Attorney’s License
The State Bar of Texas has a website that allows members of the public to check the qualifications of a licensed attorney. You can leverage the benefit of this search option by typing in an attorney’s first and last name into the search functions.
Among the most valuable information in these search results is a record of any disciplinary history of that attorney and the year they were admitted to the practice of law.
5. Meet For a Consultation
Once you’ve done your due diligence on the internet and in-person to find a DUI attorney, it’s worth setting up a free consultation with the attorneys at the firms on your shortlist of candidates.
A consultation is your opportunity to meet with an attorney face-to-face and speak with them about the facts of your case. You can also get a realistic sense of what their office is like and how they treat their clients.
Is your attorney taking the time to answer all of your questions? Will the attorney you meet with be the one that’s handling your file each day? It’s important to have a clear understanding of what your lawyer’s expectations are of you, and yours.
This helps to ensure that you have a positive working relationship with your attorney as they represent your interests in and out of court.
6. Learn About Billing Rates
The way an attorney bills you for his or her services is very important to understand before you retain them to represent you. While many lawyers in civil law will represent clients on a contingency fee basis, that’s not the case with criminal matters.
The most common way a DUI lawyer will represent you for your DUI charge is to bill you on a flat fee basis or hourly. When you are charged a flat fee, you will be quoted a total cost for representation in the case. If you are being charged hourly for a lawyer’s services, you will be responsible for paying a lawyer for all the time they spend on your file.
Under the hourly billing model, a lawyer will often bill you in six-minute increments of time. This means that if an attorney spends a couple of minutes reading an email, they will bill you .10 hours of their time.
7. Sign a Retainer Agreement
If you’ve done your research and your office consultation goes smoothly, the final step to take before hiring an attorney is making your initial deposit and signing a retainer agreement.
A retainer agreement is a short contract that sets forth the nature of the representation by the attorney of yours as the client. It also reflects the way you will be billed and the rights of each party to the attorney-client relationship.
Once you furnish a copy of a signed retainer agreement and the agreed-upon payment, the attorney-client relationship begins and your attorney will begin working on your file.
Hire a DUI Attorney Austin TX
Hiring a DUI attorney Austin TX can have a big impact on your experience in the criminal justice system. For many people, a DUI is often their first exposure to the criminal courts in Texas.
By hiring an experienced DUI attorney with a strong reputation in Austin and the surrounding community, you will be in good hands during your case. Contact our office today to set up a free consultation about your DUI case!