When facing DUI charges in North Carolina, one of the first things you will need to decide is if you should apply for a public defender, represent yourself in court, or hire a private attorney. A person’s financial decision often influences their choice, but there are many good reasons to choose the last option of a private attorney.
If you decide to hire an attorney, don’t choose the first option. While you may feel urgency because of what is going on with your DUI charge, you still want to find the right attorney to represent you. Of course, not many people know what they should even be looking for when it comes to hiring an attorney.
Here are some tips to help you choose the right attorney for you and help you understand what you should expect when meeting with a DUI attorney for the first time.
Meet the Lawyer
You often must schedule an appointment to meet with an attorney for the first time. This first meeting can happen either in person or over the phone – understand that phone meetings are not unusual and should not be a source of alarm. In situations where you are in jail when this initial meeting occurs, the initial consultation will likely happen there.
When you talk to them for the first time about your DUI, you’ll go over the facts of your case. Tell them what led to the charges you are facing, and let them ask you pertinent questions about the matter. Any details you give can help them to understand your case further and if they are the right attorney to handle it.
As you go over the details of your DUI case, it’s your attorney’s job to make you aware of the legal implications, strategies, and defenses that pertain to your case. Make sure you have a good grasp of their weaknesses in representing you as well as their strengths. You will want an attorney who can address the potential outcomes you face and who is honest with you about the legal consequences of the charges against you.
At your initial consultation, your attorney can give you an estimate of the costs of your defense. Some attorneys charge a flat fee for a case while others charge an hourly rate – both are normal but make sure you understand how they will charge. Also, it’s important to note that lawyers cannot take a criminal case on contingency in North Carolina.
What To Bring
When you’re ready to meet with a potential attorney for your DUI, make sure that you:
Bring Your Paperwork
Any records you have relating to your case should come with you to your initial meeting. Paperwork should include witness information, arrest records, and court paperwork. They will need all this information to help defend you to the best of their abilities.
It’s a good idea to list your questions about your case before you get to the attorney’s office. That way, you won’t forget anything during your meeting. Attorneys should welcome questions since it shows you are engaged and active in your case.
Write It Down
Bring your notebook to jot down notes so you can remember what the attorney tells you in the meeting. Preparation will be helpful later, especially if you’re shopping for the right lawyer.