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Paul D. Cramm

Why Is Hiring An Attorney Crucial If A DUI Case Simply Involves Paying The Fines?


The court is not able to impose any sentence, whether that sentence is custody, fines, probation, or supervision, unless the person was first found guilty of the offense. Therefore, a good lawyer can help identify and present defenses to the case that could help the person avoid paying a penalty at all.

Would The Courts Think The Person Was Arrogant If He Hired An Attorney For The DUI Case?

Absolutely not! In fact, most courts do not proceed in a case for which jail time could be imposed if the defendant is not represented by counsel.

If the person is unable to qualify for court-appointed counsel because he makes too much money, then he must either hire his own lawyer or sign an affirmative waiver of counsel stating he’ll accept his sentence, even as he proceeds without a lawyer.

Therefore, the courts prefer that a person have counsel for any potential jail-time offense.

What Qualifications Should I Look For In An Attorney?

It is essential to find a lawyer with very few areas of legal practice. A jack-of-all-trades is very likely to be a master of none. After all, over the passage of time, all areas of legal practice have become exponentially more complicated.

I do not do divorce cases. However, my good friends who practice divorce regularly share their perceptions with me: their feeling that the divorce code, divorce laws, property division, parenting, and custody elements have become much more intricate and complicated over the years of their practice.

The same is absolutely true for DUI defense. The legislature has made the law much more complicated and much more difficult to defend. The type of evidence that is admitted, evidence like blood analysis, breath analysis, and standardized field sobriety test results, is evidence that is not familiar to all lawyers. Most lawyers cannot have an intimate understanding of it.

As such, the first thing to do is to look for a lawyer who practices predominantly in criminal defense and DUI defense.

Is It Worth It To Borrow Money From Family And Friends To Hire A Decent Lawyer?

It’s absolutely worth it to borrow from family and friends when a person is facing the penalty of jail. In today’s economy, not many people have the type of job that will wait for them after 30, 60, 90, or more days in jail. After all, the maximum penalty of a second-offense class A misdemeanor is 365 days in jail.

Also, many people simply cannot afford to go to jail with things like mortgage payments, rent, car payments, and childcare on their backs. Other people also might work in the computer industry and have a relatively high-level security clearance in order to work at a local military base; in the case of this alcohol-related driving offense, their security clearance will be revoked. They’ll lose their jobs.

Many licensed professionals with real estate licenses or medical licenses are in the same position, as well. They might lose their professional licenses, their lives, and their rights to practice in their professions if they have a DUI.

Should A Lawyer Be Considered If He Gives A Guarantee Of Victory?

No guarantees exist in criminal defense. An outcome cannot be promised or guaranteed, because the outcome is so dependent on other people.

These people could be the 12 people in a jury box or a judge behind the bench. The defense lawyer cannot have control over everyone. Therefore, if a lawyer attempts to guarantee a favorable outcome, it means one of two things.

  1. The lawyer is outright lying to the potential client in hopes of securing the business.
  2. The lawyer has a completely improper and unethical connection that he intends to exploit on the client’s behalf.

A client should not involve himself with either situation.

Why Is It Worth Hiring An Attorney For This DUI If My Previous DUI Did Not Go Well?

Each subsequent charge for a DUI is more serious with far more serious sentencing provisions. The sentence a person faces for his second charge is essentially double the sentence he faced on the first DUI offense.

The third lifetime DUI in the state of Kansas is charged as a felony. In this case, the person could be a convicted felon.

The more serious the case is, the more essential it is to have an experienced lawyer.

Additionally, in most states, the person is only eligible to participate in diversion or a differed prosecution during his first lifetime DUI offense if he has a lawyer. Therefore, even if the person had a somewhat inexperienced or ineffective lawyer for his first DUI, provided no accident or no personal injury occurred, he is likely eligible for a diversion, even if good, try-able issues existed in the case.

Diversion is not an option after a certain number of DUIs. Certainly, it doesn’t exist for the third DUI. The person doesn’t have the safety net of a diversion contract for the second or third subsequent DUIs.

If a person faced charges for his second or third DUI, he must take time to interview and find a lawyer with a great deal of DUI experience. This second or third DUI is incredibly critical.

Is Hiring An Attorney For DUI Cases A Matter Of Quality? Is It Important To Shop Around?

Yes to both. Lawyers prefer clients who not only make the time to meet them in person at their office, but who have also made the time to meet with at least 2 or 3 other qualified lawyers, as well.

It sounds unusual, but a lawyer wants his clients to meet with other lawyers face-to-face, look them in the eyes, and comprehend what it might be like to work with these lawyers through a series of questions and answers.

Qualified lawyers exist all over the place, all with very different personalities and different styles. One lawyer’s style may click perfectly with one client but not work so well with a different client.

Lawyers want to make sure they get along personally and professionally with the client because these cases take a long time and create a lot of stress and anxiety. The entire journey is serious and lengthy.

Therefore, clients should always meet with lawyers at the lawyers’ offices. I am always apprehensive when the client wants to call me and hire me over the phone with the credit card, sight unseen.

How Do I Decide Whether To Hire A Quality Attorney Over A Low-Cost Attorney?

Expensive attorneys are not for everyone. Not everyone has the type of job or life that will turn upside down as a result of a conviction or a stint in jail. Therefore, some people are not going to make the commitment.

I certainly wouldn’t want to be the lawyer who pushes himself upon someone who doesn’t want to make the commitment to the case. Therefore, if someone is really apprehensive, even after meeting with three or four decent and good lawyers, then he might not be ready to commit. After all, you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot force him to drink. These decisions are personal.

What Qualifies As A Low-Cost Attorney, And How Can He Afford To Take A Case At That Amount?

The dollar amount varies a great deal from one geographic region municipal area to the next. A low-cost lawyer in San Francisco or New York is probably a lot higher than a low-cost lawyer in a small, rural area in central or western Kansas.

If a person called around to different offices, he’d begin to hear lawyers quoting fees that are less than half of other lawyers’ quotes. The concern here is that the lawyer isn’t prepared to invest the amount of time necessary to research and construct every avenue of defense in the case.

Lawyers who charge a great deal less must take many more cases to earn enough money to pay themselves and pay their offices. The more open files a lawyer has in the office at any one time, the less time that lawyer can spend on any one file.

A young or inexperienced lawyer might charge a very low fee to accept DUI cases without any idea of the intricacy of evidence in the involved defense. Their only objective is to convince clients into signing a diversion contract or signing a plea agreement, immediately.

Often, they’ll do this without ever exploring the evidence or the facts in the case and genuinely developing a viable defense strategy.

For more information on Choosing A Lawyer, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (913) 322-3265 today.

Paul D. Cramm

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