If you have been charged with DUI in Tampa, then it has probably already sunk in that the consequences of being convicted could be very serious for you. There is the certainty that you will have a criminal record, you will be fined, could face jail time, have your license suspended, have to find time for DUI school and community service. The list goes on and on. The reasons for hiring a Tampa DUI lawyer are obvious. You are given ten days from the date of your arrest if you want to fight your license suspension to apply for a formal review and it would be a good idea to have chosen a lawyer before that date. The question is how to choose a top lawyer to represent you. Any search on the internet will reveal hundreds of lawyers in every city in Florida.
Word of Mouth Reference
If you know someone who has already had a DUI charge, they may be able to recommend a DUI lawyer if they had a satisfactory experience.
Use the County Courthouse
Visit the county courthouse in the county you were arrested in rather than the county you live in. Ask one of the court bailiffs or clerks who they would recommend if they had to defend themselves against a DUI charge and have the best chance of winning. This is a good test of the reputation of a top DUI lawyer in Tampa.
Once you have narrowed down the number of DUI attorneys, check out exactly what experience they have had and their specialism. There are DUI lawyers and DUI lawyers. Some specialize in DUI defense and others are general criminal defense lawyers. Those lawyers who specialize in DUI are most likely to have had more experience and understand the laws better as well as the approach needed to get you off a DUI charge.
Look for Experience and Skills
There are many lawyers who might use your case as a learning experience. This is fair enough, but if you are paying a lawyer’s fee, you want the best you can get for the money, right? Older lawyers will, on the whole, have more experience than younger ones. You might also check out whether they have been speakers at DUI seminars, have contributed to DUI law and how many staff are employed at their firm. A busy lawyer who is operating on his or her own may not have the time to do sufficient research and leg work when it comes to investigating a DUI charge. Top lawyers tend to have legal staff that do excellent work preparing cases and leave the lawyer to concentrate on what he or she does best.
Watch Out For Promises that Cannot be Realized
Some lawyers may tend to overstate their capabilities and say they can get your case dismissed before they have even looked at your particular circumstances. No lawyer can do that. Avoid those who promise more than they can deliver.
How Much Can You Afford?
Hiring a DUI lawyer is an expensive business. It becomes worthwhile when you add up the possible financial consequences of doing nothing, pleading guilty or defending yourself. If this leads so conviction, then you may end up losing far more than the cost of a good DUI lawyer in the long run. However, you do need to ask what the fee structure is and run a budget. Criminal defense does not allow for contingency fees, so you are responsible for paying your legal fees outright.