A DWI conviction in West Baton Rouge may be detrimental to your career, finances, school enrollment and even loss of driving privileges in Louisiana.
DWI is defined as the operation of a motor vehicle while the operator is under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both.
DWI statute in Louisiana provides for a jail term of up to half a year for first-time offenses. However, in most cases, the judge places the convicted person under probation. This may lead to suspension of your driver’s license up to one year.
A second conviction of DWI is a misdemeanor with 48 hours of jail term, which is mandatory. Third and subsequent convictions are acts of felonies punishable with time in prison.
In Louisiana, you have only 30 days from the date of arrest to request a hearing.
You should hire a qualified DWI lawyer to take you through the court process. Have you or a loved one has been arrested for a DWI? Don’t wait to seek legal representation. Follow these steps to find the right DWI lawyer for your case.
Look For a DWI Lawyer With Expertise
The process of defending yourself for a DWI in West Baton Rouge is difficult and frustrating. The West Baton Rouge district attorney is well experienced in DWI matters. A judgment will be almost inevitable.
However, hiring a qualified DWI attorney will ensure your voice is heard in the courtroom. A qualified attorney understands the DWI laws in Louisiana courts. They also understand your rights and will protect you from any violation.
A qualified attorney will challenge the prosecution to prove the charges against you. They will examine every detail of your arrest to reduce or do away with your charges.
The attorney will examine the reason for your traffic stop, review the process of arrest for errors in procedure, question witnesses, and challenge evidence presented by the police.
Look for friends or relatives that have had a previous encounter with a DWI lawyer. It is important to go to people with experience of DWI cases. Testimonials will tell you more than a statistic of wins and losses.
Many lawyers in Livingston are using testimonials as marketing tools for their law firms. Not all testimonials will, therefore, be genuine.
How do you differentiate genuine testimonials from false ones? Follow up to see if the testimonial is from a real person or just made up. A real person should give their names and addresses alongside their testimonials. A genuine lawyer will also include lost cases.
Small Firm or Big Firm?
A large law firm has many overheads that they expect to meet. They will, therefore, charge higher hourly rates than smaller firms. Large firms also have many cases to represent and may, therefore, fail to provide a one on one encounter.
However, there are benefits to visiting a large firm. They have all the legal skills and muscle you may need under one roof. They are also well connected, and this may be critical in winning your case.
Should you go for a large or a small firm? Financial capability is an important consideration. For a first time DWI conviction, a small firm may represent you adequately. Other subsequent convictions may require a larger firm with more experience in the industry.
Make a List of Questions
Lawyers will give free or very low consultation to discuss the details of your situation. This provides an opportunity to ask your attorney some basic questions.
Consultation meeting helps you decide whether to proceed with your lawyer. Which questions should you ask your DWI lawyer at the consultation meeting?
· What Type of Cases Do You Handle?
Most attorneys specialize in different cases. However, be sure they have adequate experience in DWI cases in Louisiana.
· Will You Be the DWI Lawyer That Will Represent My Case?
Some firms provide senior attorneys during consultation who then disappear during the representation. Make sure to know whether another less experienced attorney will be the one handling your case later on.
· Do You Have Specific Training for My Case?
DWI prosecutions include field sobriety tests. Mistakes may occur during breathalyzer tests from the police. A trained lawyer can challenge any erroneous field sobriety test.
· Are There Additional Costs?
Normally, DWI attorneys charge a flat rate for representation. This may not always be the case. Inquire to find out if they will charge other costs like phone calls and investigations.
· How Will We Communicate?
Attorneys are generally busy professionals and may not receive your calls right way. Be sure to understand how they will communicate the progress of your case. Ask them how often will they communicate. They should agree on the frequency and type of communication that is needed.
· Have You Had Issues of Discipline by the State Bar?
This is an important step in evaluating whether an attorney is good for you. Attorneys are disciplined for various reasons. They may have been involved in gross ethical violations, failure to pay bar dues or misappropriation of client funds.
It is important to take into account any previous discipline and the circumstances surrounding the discipline. Visit the Louisiana office of the disciplinary counsel to check the status of your attorney.
· What Is the Probable Outcome of My Case?
Your attorney may not guarantee the outcome of your case. However, based on their experience with similar cases, they may predict how your case will play out.
This will ensure that your DWI attorney will work hard to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.
Hiring a Good DWI Attorney
Working to reinstate your driving privileges is important as much as it is difficult. A DWI conviction may affect your employment, school enrollment, and criminal record.
Hiring a DWI lawyer in Louisiana will take some research. An inexperienced lawyer is going to be a bad fit for your case. We know you want to put your negative experience behind.
Have you been charged with driving under the influence in Baton Rouge and need an attorney? We can help. Contact us today, we have years of experience in handling DWI cases.