DWI Lawyers St. Paul MN
One of the most crucial things you can do after being arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Minnesota is getting an experienced lawyer on your side. The right attorney can help you successfully navigate the often complex legal system and help reduce your fines, penalties, and jail time. Making the wrong choice in attorney could create negative side effects that impact your life in the long term. But how do you know which lawyer to trust and which one has the skills necessary to make sure your case gets the best outcome? Here are some tips to help you make a smart decision:1. Get Suggestions for DWI Lawyers in St. Paul MN
If you have any trusted friends or relatives who’ve previously hired a DWI lawyer, ask them for recommendations, as they’ll be able to offer firsthand insight into how the lawyer performed throughout the process. Likewise, if you know anyone who works in a legal profession, they may also be able to offer some recommendations of attorneys with good reputations and track records. If you don’t know anyone to ask or you feel uncomfortable asking, you can find the names of qualified lawyers by searching online attorney directories, many of which come with ratings and peer reviews. Another route is to search for attorneys in St. Paul on organizational websites, such as the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) or the Minnesota State Bar Association. Whatever source you use, try to get the names of at least 3 different recommended lawyers. That way, you’ll have some options and can select someone who most fits your preferences.
When meeting with the various lawyers that you’re considering hiring, come prepared with all the court documents that you’ve received up to that point as well as any police or bail reports and any other legal papers. Don’t assume that the lawyer already knows details about your case, as every case is different, and the attorney will need to know the particulars of your unique situation. Coming prepared makes it possible for each attorney to give a knowledgeable assessment, which in turn, will make it easier for you to decide which of the DWI lawyers St. Paul, MN has the best approach for your case. 3. Interview Your St Paul DWI Lawyers
Being charged with a crime may leave you feeling less confident than usual, but don’t let those feelings keep you from being assertive and asking the lawyer questions. Think of your consultations with the various attorneys as your time to interview them. Quality DWI lawyers St. Paul, MN will welcome your questions and will appreciate that you have come prepared and done research. Some of the most important questions to bring up are listed below. Use these as a guide when meeting with your attorney candidates, and remember to bring some writing materials, so you can note down their answers.
- How long have you been an attorney and what is your area of expertise?
- Do you belong to any professional organizations? What are they?
- How many DUI or DWI cases have you handled? Do you take other types of cases as well?
- How familiar are you with the courthouse where my case will be heard, and have you worked with the prosecutor?
- Is it your standard practice to negotiate plea agreements?
- How common is it for your DUI or DWI cases to get dismissed? What percentage goes to trial?
- Which attorney at your practice will actually handle my case?
In regard to hiring a local lawyer, the ideal DWI lawyers St. Paul, MN will have a great deal of experience working in the courthouse where your case will be heard, as they’ll know the “culture” and personalities of the court and will have good working relationships with the prosecutor and others. This is one of the major benefits of hiring a local attorney.The final question in the list above is important to ask, because in some practices the attorney you initially meet with may pass your case onto another associate, and while this is common, you should ask to meet with that person so you can ensure you’re comfortable with him or her. 4. Notice How they Make You Feel
Of course, you’ll want to meet with DWI lawyers St. Paul, MN with a great deal of experience, but also pay attention to how the attorney answers your questions and how they make you feel. You should choose someone who’s not rushed and who shows respect and listens to you. Also, notice how the two of you get along. Are you able to communicate well and will you feel comfortable working regularly with the person? When the meeting is over, you should have confidence that there’s a clear plan in place and not left feeling confused or with unanswered questions. 5. Ask Their Opinions about Your Case
When meeting with the various attorneys, they will ask you questions about your charges, what happened from your perspective, and they’ll look through the various documents that you brought to the meeting. After they’re somewhat familiar with your case, ask them some direct questions about your situation, including:
- In this type of case, would you typically suggest a guilty plea, a plea agreement, or going to trial?
- What elements are working in my favor?
- What elements are particularly challenging?
- What should I anticipate through each phase of the process?
The expenses can add up quickly after getting a DWI and include costs from fines, bail, DWI school, driver’s license fees, possible missed days of work, and more. And on top of that, you’ll have to pay your lawyer. Obviously, you’ll want every dollar you spend in legal fees going to a competent attorney who can get you the best possible outcome and do so efficiently. However, you need to find out in advance about the price rates and what type of billing method the attorney uses. For example, some DWI lawyers St. Paul, MN charge an hourly rate and then bill you for every hour they work on your case. Others charge a flat fee for their time. On top of those rates, there are often other legal expenses that you’ll need to pay. Those things considered, make sure to ask each lawyer what type of billing method they use and ask for an estimate of your total costs. Find out what payment options are available and how long the payments are extended. Of course, you’ll need to select an attorney with fees that are manageable for you, but don’t sacrifice hiring a highly qualified candidate just to save a few dollars. Be willing pay for an attorney who has the skills to help safeguard your future. In many cases, “discount” lawyers usually end up costing more in the long run, because they often rush through cases to get more turnover in clients, which in turn increases your chances of conviction and further expenses and setbacks.
7. Watch for Danger Signs
There are a few of things that should immediately signal that an attorney is not the best choice. One warning sign is if he if he doesn’t answer questions directly but instead is vague or gives you answers that don’t relate to the question. This indicates that the lawyer is either unsure about what he’s saying or is not listening to your questions – either of which are bad indicators. Furthermore, good communication skills are paramount to an attorney’s success in court, so it’s a fair bet that if he’s not communicating well with you, he won’t do any better in front of a judge or jury.
- They are not licensed
- They are licensed in another state (this can work but is usually expensive and poses other problems)
- The state has taken disciplinary action against the lawyer
- The attorney is disbarred
During your search for DWI lawyers in St. Paul, be sure to read the reviews on Google and Facebook from former clients. Even if you were referred to the lawyer by a trusted friend, it’s still a good idea to get feedback from other people. Quality lawyers with many years of experience should have accumulated references from multiple clients who vouch for their service and abilities. Even better is if some of these references are from their peers, such as other attorneys or judges who have worked with them or recommended clients to them. Being respected among their colleagues is a great indicator of their professionalism and skills. Be wary of any attorney who cannot provide any references.
It’s true, there’s no time to waste when it comes to choosing your DWI lawyer, but don’t make your decision too quickly or without meeting with several DWI lawyers St. Paul, MN and weighing your options. Compare the notes you took at each consultation and analyze your impressions of each candidate. Narrow down which characteristics are most important to you and, ultimately, who you think can truly protect your rights. In short, selecting an attorney after a DWI should be your top priority, but don’t simply choose the first one you see or the one with the lowest price. Remember, your life, freedom, and possibly your job are at stake, so consider this one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. Getting a DWI is certainly a stressful experience that can come with expenses, personal or work conflicts, regret, and more. Hunting for the best DWI lawyers St. Paul, MN may seem like just another thing to worry about, but hiring the right person can relieve a great deal of the stress that goes along with this situation. Undoubtedly, you’ll feel better knowing you have someone who’s working for your interests and capable of reducing negative effects. By following the tips above, you’ll have a great chance of finding a competent attorney who can help you move past the incident quickly and with the best possible outcome.