Wow, if Hollywood got wind of how some people choose attorneys based on some of the calls DUI attorney's receive, then it might make a good movie. Here's an example...
A representative potential client claiming to have been charged with Driving Under The Influence (DUI), First Offense, called the office desiring to speak to a DUI defense attorney about their case. They stated that they did not have an attorney and were seeking a good DUI defense attorney. We then briefly discussed the facts of their case. The conversation went something like this ( * See Note Below):
Caller: Mr. Isaacs, I was arrested six weeks ago for a DUI. The officer did not allow me to call an attorney. He also did not do the Field Sobriety Tests correctly because he didn't do the 14 passes required for the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test nor did he give me the One Leg Stand test. He also did not do the breath test correctly and refused my request for a blood test. The officer also kept asking me questions after he arrested me and he did not give me a Miranda warning. He also ....
Me: Slow down. Let me ask the questions. First, what is your name?
Caller: John Doe [fictitious name]
Me: Are you alone?
Me: I want to make sure you are not overheard and that your statements can not be used as admissions against you.
Caller: I am alone.
Me: Have you had a DUI before?
Me: Have you researched DUI defenses?
Me: Were you charged with a DUI with an aggravator?
Me: Why were you stopped?
Caller: The officer claimed I was weaving.
Me: When is your next court date?
Caller: In two days.
Me: What's going to happen in two days?
Caller: The trial.
Me: Let me get this straight, your trial is in two days?
Me: Why did you wait so long to call me?
Caller: Because you charge money to defend people.
Me: You seem to know a lot about the DUI defenses. What did your lawyer say about the officer's ability to follow proper procedures for the DUI arrest?
Caller: He stated that he thinks the officer messed up the stop and the Field Sobriety Tests and shouldn't have arrested me. I also want you to sue the officer because he also was rough with me and hurt me.
Me: Didn't you just tell me that you didn't have a lawyer?
Caller: Yeah, but he won't talk with me. I'm afraid the jury will sentence my brother to serve time in jail. After finding all of those people who gave you wonderful ratings on Google and reading your website, I believe my lawyer does not know how to handle a DUI case as good as you can. Can you call him and talk to him for me?
Me: How's your brother involved?
Caller: He was the driver.
Me: What were you charged with?
Caller: Nothing - I wasn't in the car. But the officer hit my brother.
Me: I'm confused, didn't you just state that you were charged with a DUI?
Caller: Will you help me? What should I do? Can you call my brother's attorney?
Me: Is it a public defender or a private defense attorney?
Caller: A public defender.
Me: Can you afford to pay a private attorney?
Me: Let's start from the beginning to discuss what you know about your brother's case, and this time I need for you to tell me the truth ...
* * *
While this conversation may appear to be directly out of a bad Hollywood movie plot, similar conversations actually happen more frequently than they should. Typically, it is a friend or relative of the arrested person who might make the call. In many of these cases, money is a significant factor in the hiring of an attorney. I came to realize years ago that people do not understand that to properly defend an accused person, they have to truthfully share the facts with their attorney when asked. Yet some people do not for various reasons, including the reason that they do not want to pay the Kentucky criminal defense attorney for the attorney's time to review the facts of their case. Sometimes, only after the client (or potential client) realizes that their liberty and livelihood are at stake do they begin trying to correct any inaccuracies in their case facts with their attorney or try to find another attorney.
I have discussed the economics of hiring an attorney in other articles on my DUI website. Potential clients call demanding a price quote for legal services over the telephone, yet as I explain to them, I can not provide a quote that is fair and reasonable for services rendered unless I first know the facts of their case. I further usually state that if I quoted a fee for my services to defend them against DUI charges, then I would only be quoting a fee for the time it would take to plead them guilty since I know how much time that actually takes - assuming that is what they desire. I also state that I charge for my time based on a defense plan based on the case facts and attorney-client discussions based on what needs to be done in the case. If they truly desire my legal services, then I schedule time with them for a consultation to discuss their case. On occasion, the potential client who did not initially retain my services calls back to inquire about retaining my services after they hired another attorney who quoted them a fee up front without knowing all the facts. The typical reasons I hear for why they are searching for another attorney is that their attorney increased the fee they charged to take the case to trial or does not spend time with them to discuss the facts of their case or never arrived at a DUI defense plan or that they don't have enough experience defending DUI cases or they are simply unhappy with the representation.
For many of these reasons, it is very important when hiring a DUI attorney that you meet with the attorney to discuss the case first before entering into a representation agreement. Be prepared to pay for the attorney's time for the consultation.
And remember, when searching for a DUI lawyer, select a lawyer based on the attorney-client relationship along with a good legal defense plan, and not strictly on the lawyer's fee.
* Note: The conversation listed in this article is not an actual conversation, but is a representative compilation of past calls received from potential clients.