Choosing the Right Fresno DUI Lawyer
If you've been arrested for a DUI or any other crime, you need to hire a lawyer. Even if you are guilty, having a lawyer will help you through the process, and get you the best results.
You have rights. Even if you think you are guilty, the law says you are presumed innocent. Having the right lawyer will help you to identify your options, evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your case. This takes experience, time, and knowledge that only a dedicated lawyer can provide.
In a number of cases, particularly with driving under the influence (DUI) cases, issues arise involving the police and their proper or improper conduct. Many times, the police will unlawfully overstep their authority when they stop and arrest you. You may not know if the police officers acted unlawfully or not. The right lawyer can evaluate the facts and circumstances surrounding your case, to determine if your rights were violated.
Additionally, having a good lawyer is vital to limiting the damaging effects that a criminal charge or DUI can have on your job, your family, and your life. Penalties including jail, fines, fees, and driver's license suspension and revocation can all be minimized when you have the help of a qualified criminal DUI defense attorney.
In any criminal matter, you may find a variety of lawyers. They can generally be categorized as:
- Public Defenders
- Low-price Discount Lawyers
- General Legal Practitioners
- Highly Expensive Criminal and DUI Attorneys
Public defenders are the court-appointed lawyers for those who can't afford an attorney. First, you have to be qualified to get a public defender, which must be approved by a judge after you present your financial status before the court. If the court finds you eligible for a public defender, one will be chosen for you. You do not get to pick your attorney, and you cannot change your lawyer after one has been assigned. While public defenders can run the spectrum from brand new lawyers fresh out of law school to experienced attorneys, their case loads are extremely high, and they may not have the time or resources to devote to you or your case.
Discount lawyers should be avoided. The old saying, "you get what you pay for," applies here, and if you pay very little, you'll get very little. Low cost lawyers make their money in volume, and they are motivated to get your case over with as quickly as possible. They may not do much analysis or defense of your case, but try and get a fast guilty plea deal. As a general rule, if a lawyer charges a retainer of less than $1,500 for a first-time DUI offense, or less than $2,000 for a second offense, then you should probably look elsewhere. You'll get discount pricing, but you'll also get cost cutting representation.
General practitioners handle a variety of matters, including divorce, wills, real estate, contracts, and maybe a bit of criminal defense. However, because they practice so many areas of law, they won't have the specialized knowledge, experience, and skill to defend your criminal or DUI case.
Many people think the highest priced and most famous criminal lawyers will give them the best chance at winning their case. You may try and get the Johnny Cochran of Fresno, or the F. Lee Bailey of the Central Valley. These lawyers will charge extremely high fees. For a DUI case, they may ask for an initial retainer of $10,000 or more! In addition, they will tack on fees for trials, motions, etc. However, the high-priced lawyer will meet with you, and take your money, then hand off the case to another junior lawyer who may have very little experience in the DUI arena, despite the high cost.
Specialized DUI and Criminal Attorneys
If you have a criminal matter, or are facing a DUI charge, your best option is to chose a specialized DUI defense attorney. You will get the personalized attention and in-depth investigation that a discount lawyer cannot provide. You will get a lawyer who knows DUI and criminal defense laws, with experience on both sides of the courtroom. Specialized DUI and criminal defense lawyers don't handle other types of cases, and have the skill and knowledge to defend your rights. They will not take the first plea, and not pass your case off to anyone else. When your life, job, family, and money are on the line, you need a lawyer with years of trial and courtroom experience in criminal and DUI cases.