Just like in the case of any other legal proceeding, hiring an experienced DUI (driving under the influence) lawyer can be a great advantage, and, for those living in San Mateo, DUI attorney firms can often place a skilled lawyer at your disposal who specializes in drunk driving cases.
In spite of all this, you need to have all the necessary information if you want to select an attorney that will truly be able to help you, as drunk driving laws have changed considerably in the past few years, and some DUI cases can be quite expensive when you put all the costs together.
What Is a DUI Lawyer?
A DUI attorney is basically a law professional who is trained to handle drunk driving cases and has a certain level of skill and experience when it comes to dealing with specific DUI laws.
Driving under the influence is a severe offense often punished through substantial fines, loss of license and even jail. As a result, hiring a lawyer or law company that specializes in these types of cases can help you mount a solid defense, and in some cases may even lead to the complete dropping of all charges involved.
While the investment required for hiring a DUI attorney is not always small, it can be worthwhile if there is a chance that at least some of the charges can be diminished or dropped, as the future consequences of a driving under the influence trial can be quite severe in some cases.
How to Determine Whether or Now You Need a Lawyer
In the state of California, the laws that apply to DUI cases are quite strict. Even if you don’t go to jail, the fines can range between $1,400 for the first conviction to a hefty sum of $18,000 for the third, and in some cases your license can be suspended for up to 2-3 years.
The level of alcohol in your blood is the main thing to consider here; however, under certain circumstances, you may be able to plea for a lesser offense than DUI, such as a plea bargain of “wet reckless” which involves reducing the DUI charges to a charge of reckless driving.
Such a procedure is usually possible when you have no prior conviction, the amount of alcohol was borderline, and there was no accident involved. In such a case, you will need the services of an experienced lawyer who has handled and won similar cases in the past. Such a person will often be able to guide you through the entire procedure with ease, and ensure that you get the best possible defense. Depending on the attorney’s skill and the specific details relating to your case, you may be able to avoid a DUI conviction altogether.
Costs and Expectations
Depending on whether you need a San Mateo criminal lawyer or a DUI attorney experienced in less severe cases, the costs involved can vary greatly in every instance.
In basic cases when you are convicted for the first time for a DUI offense, you can expect to get away with costs between $500 and $3,000. This is, of course, the best case scenario when the case is fairly simple and you don’t have to go to trial.
Otherwise, the expenses can reach values of up to $10,000 and even more when you add fines and court fees, as well as other expenses like insurance costs and license reinstatement.
The good news is that many DUI lawyers offer free consultations and, while some will expect to be paid through check and require deposits, others agree to credit card payments and are willing to discuss the payments depending on your specific situation instead of asking for an hourly rate.
Unless you know all the specifics of your case, it is fairly difficult to determine exactly how much a DUI attorney will cost (along with the rest of the expenses), however, experts generally estimate that even the most expensive DUI lawyers will rarely ask for more than $20,000 for representing you in a more complicated case.
Finding the Best DUI Lawyers
There are several important factors you need to keep track of when looking for a DUI attorney who can truly help you with your case. Here are a few of the most basic and important of these considerations:
- The level of experience that the attorney has when it comes to practicing law and working on cases similar to your own;
- Whether or not the attorney specializes in criminal defense cases;
- Your lawyer’s track records particularly related to DUI cases he has already won;
- How knowledgeable the attorney is when it comes to the specific law differences that apply to the state of California and specifically to San Mateo.
Based on these aspects, you can search through various key sources to find the law company and lawyer of your choice. The most notable of these are the yellow pages and local San Mateo newspapers, where you can find listings of attorneys that specialize in DUI cases, as well as on online local listings and lawyer directories, where you may be able to choose between a wider range of options, including San Mateo and Redwood City DUI lawyer firms that advertise their services on the internet.
The advantage of searching online is that you can find a great deal of information at the press of a button. This includes phone numbers, addresses and map locations, service descriptions, user reviews and ratings, as well as blogs, official web pages and virtually anything you want to know about the company or the attorney you will be working with.
Even if you manage to find the best attorney in the region, you have to keep in mind that whether or not a good defense can help you depends on many factors, and sometimes the consequences cannot be avoided.
Whether the case is a difficult one or not, however, hiring an experienced San Mateo criminal defense attorney can make a great difference when it comes to at least making the entire experience go more smoothly and reducing the severity of your charges.