December 26, 2014

20 Questions to Ask Your Kansas DUI Lawyer

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I have written about and blogged before about how it is that a person accused of a DUI should go about trying to find the best dui lawyer for their case. If you have been accused of driving under the influence, I would suggest starting with this article if you haven’t already read it. Every attorney seems to offer a “free consultation”. This “free consultation” typically consists of you sitting down with the attorney, the attorney telling you how much trouble you are in, and the attorney telling you how great he or she is and why you ought to hire him or her. The person charged with the DUI is overwhelmed, confused and nearly paralyzed by the gravity of the situation. They are usually too engulfed with fear to ask questions, or are never even given the opportunity to do so. However, this “consultation” should be about you getting consultation – answers to your questions – from an experienced professional. You are interviewing the attorney. The attorney isn’t interviewing you! The lawyer’s purpose in this meeting is to try to get hired. Your goal for this interview is to get to know the person so that you can determine whether this lawyer is the best one to handle your DUI case.

Anybody who graduates from law school can put out an ad or throw up a website that proclaims that he or she is an “experienced” DUI lawyer, that they will “fight for you” and that they have a “track record of results”. These are all relative terms and basic advertising slogans. It does not make any of that true. Some attorneys that I see advertising on their websites that they are “experienced” have been out of law school for two years and probably have never tried a case. You have to do your due diligence to ask questions and figure out if the lawyer is for real or just giving you a sales pitch. Here are some questions that I would suggest to help determine if an attorney is experienced and will fight for you:

When is the last time you went to trial in a case like this? (not just filed motions but litigated a case to a verdict in front of a judge)When is the last time you had a trial in front of a jury?Have you ever appealed a municipal court DUI charge to district court?Have you ever been successful at beating a case on appeal from municipal court?How many DUI cases do you handle a year?What percentage of your cases go to trial in front of a judge or jury?How much experience do you have with blood test cases? Urine test cases? Have you ever taken one to trial?Have you ever hired an expert to consult with you on a breath test case?Have you ever tried a DUI with a breath test coming in to evidence?Have you ever appealed an administrative driver’s license suspension to district court?Have you ever been successful in overturning a driver’s license suspension on appeal?Have you ever appealed a case to the Kansas Court of Appeals and/or Kansas Supreme Court?Will you personally handle appearances, negotiations and litigation on my behalf or will it be handed off to an underling or outsourced?Will you send me copies of the police reports, video recordings and any other evidence you receive from the prosecution?Have you ever appeared in front of the judge in this case in a contested proceeding? What was your experience?Have you ever subpoenaed documents from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation or a crime lab regarding a blood test or urine test in a DUI case? Ever cross-examined a forensic lab technician about a blood or urine test?Have you ever worked with an accident reconstructionist before?Do you charge additional fees in order to file motions or go to trial?Do you have a policy on how quickly you return telephone calls or emails?How many open cases do you have right now?

These questions need to be asked in person, not over the phone. You need to meet with the attorney at his or her office and ask the questions that are relevant to your case and which address whatever concerns that you might have. You need to tell the attorney what your primary concern is in the case – is it jail time? Losing your driver’s license? Having a conviction on your record? Losing a professional license, i.e. nursing certificate, physician certificate, SEC licensing, etc.? Those concerns should be very familiar to the lawyer and he or she should be able to tell you what you can expect and what his or her experience has been with that issue. Any lawyer that won’t answer your questions, seems annoyed by them or who is not able to answer them should be suspicious.

If you take the time to ask some questions and do your own research you should be able to find the right person for you and be confident in your choice. The decision of who to hire is an important one and should not be based on advertising, a phone call or a website alone. Ask questions and get answers.



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The acronyms DUI, DWI, OMVI and OVI all refer to the same thing: operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The most commonly used terms are DUI, an acronym for Driving Under the Influence, and DWI, an acronym for Driving While Impaired.
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