Often a prospective client will ask if I am the "best DUI attorney." I always answer this question by saying that I am a damn good DUI attorney, but you should investigate me to determine if I am the best DUI attorney for you. The most important decision you will make in your case is determining who will represent you. Here are some things to help you find the best DUI attorney.
How Much Of Your Practice Is Dedicated To DUI Defense?
DUI defense is a complex area of law involving forensic science, specialized knowledge and litigation techniques specific to DUI. Successful practitioners will have access to information, arguments, experts and materials that come from being exposed to multiple DUI cases. DUI attorneys will have blogs, websites, materials, scientific studies, and books specific to the field. Ask your potential attorney what DUI-specific organizations he belongs to, what legal education conferences he has spoken at or attended. Ask your potential attorney to hand you his or her copy of the NHTSA Student Manual that he will use in court. Does the attorney have one? Is it up to date? Thanks to the internet you can find out all you need to know by looking at other sites that the attorney is featured on. On www.AVVO.com, attorney profiles have a breakdown of the lawyer’s practice areas that are self-reported by the attorney. Your search for the best DUI attorney should start with a determination if the attorney does, in fact, practice in the area for which you are seeking representation.
I limit my practice to DUI defense. 100% of my time and energy is devoted to representing the accused drunk driver.
What Are Your DUI Credentials?
Your search for the best DUI attorney should include a discussion of the attorney's credentials. Credentials are earned through hard work and dedication to the cause of drunk driving defense. Often, DUI attorneys receive specialized training and certification on the breath testing machines in their jurisdictions. These certifications are invaluable in understanding how a machine could malfunction or give a falsely high reading. Dedicated DUI counsel can also receive specialized training in the Standardized Field Sobriety Testing by becoming certified to administer and evaluate the field tests. Having worked both sides of the DUI issue can also be an important credential. Has the attorney ever worked as a prosecuting attorney? Has the attorney ever prosecuted a DUI case? Has the attorney ever lectured or written on DUI topics for journals, newspapers or bar associations? The truth is that the internet has many directories or referral services where an attorney can be listed as a “DUI” attorney with little or no DUI experience whatsoever. Yellow page advertisements, which often have DUI listed among many other practice areas, can also be misleading as to DUI credentials. It is up to you to dig deeper and demand that the attorney demonstrate a depth of knowledge in DUI defense.
See the “About Me” section above to learn about my DUI credentials. I am very proud of my credentials. I believe myself to be amongst the most qualified and credentialed DUI attorneys in the country. What is more, I am constantly trying to learn and improve. You deserve nothing less.
Are You Experienced? Have You Ever Been Experience? Well, I Have
There is no substitute for experience. You should be confident in the knowledge that you have hired someone who has real experience defending DUI cases. Ask the following and, if you don’t get straight answers, get up and leave: Have you ever tried a DUI case to a jury? Have you ever tried a felony DUI case? Have you ever tried a “test” case (a case where the person blew into a breath machine)? Have you ever tried a “refusal” case (a case where the person refused to blow into a breath test machine)? Have you ever tried a DUI case in federal court? Have you ever argued cases involving dentures? Have you ever argued a case involving AMBIEN sleep medication? Have you ever represented Doctors? Dentists? Pilots? Paramedics? Athletes? Cops? Other Lawyers? Military Personnel? How many DUI Motions to Suppress have you done? Have you ever done a motion or trial in the court where I will appear?
I can answer "YES" to each of these questions. In addition to my lectures and writings on DUI topics I have testified as an expert witness on evidential breath testing for the United States government. I am also proud to be the DUI defense attorney brought in to cross-exam police cadets at the Greene County Police Academy mock trial.
Will You Be Representing Me?
If you meet with a highly qualified, experienced and credentialed DUI attorney, make sure that he or she will be the attorney representing you at each stage of the case. If the attorney says that his firm uses a "team approach" this may be a way of saying that you will be shuffled off to an associate once you have paid. Another evasion is for the attorney to say, “all of our attorneys are involved in your case.” If you hire Michael Jordan make sure you don’t get someone who attended the Michael Jordan basketball camp. Your case is the most important case in the world to you! You are not a commodity to be managed, but a client to receive the best the attorney has to offer. When you decide that found the best DUI attorney, make sure that he or she will be the one doing the work.
At Babb & Rowland, I am the only attorney who handles drunk driving cases. Barring an emergency I will be at every court appearance and I will be the person providing you information at every stage of your case.
What Do Other People Think Of You?
The legal profession requires a high degree of collaboration and cooperation with others in the legal community. Often, successful attorneys will be an active member of their local or state bar associations. Like jury trials, serving on boards, taking on leadership positions and having valuable “real-life” experiences demonstrate that the attorney has the ability to represent your interest. You can also see your attorney’s rankings and endorsements on www.AVVO.com. Use this information to inform your opinion. Also, be sure to meet with the attorney face to face. There is nothing like sitting down and having a conversation with someone to learn about that person. Trust your instincts! If something about the attorney seems off-putting in his office, imagine how nervous you will be when that attorney goes into a room to talk about your life without you there. The DUI experience is traumatic and you are very vulnerable, so consider bringing someone you trust to interview the attorney with you.
At DaytonDUI we have developed a vibrant online community at www.Facebook.com/daytondui. Join me to get an idea about my personality and my passion for my clients. You can also refer to the About Me section of this blog to see that I have a long history of serving the bar, serving in leadership positions and volunteering my time to help others.
Who Do You Work With?
DUI attorneys often rely on expert witnesses in defending cases, so being the best DUI attorney will mean using the best experts. Experts can prove vital to raising defenses to chemical tests and challenging the officer’s interpretations at the scene. Experts can include optometrists, accident reconstruction experts, psychologists, private investigators, forensic toxicologists, doctors and forensic scientists. Experienced DUI counsel will have worked with top-of-the-line experts in court and will know how to use them to your advantage. Another benefit of hiring experienced counsel rests in knowing when not to rely upon an expert. Ask for names, and case references and don’t be afraid to demand an interview with the expert prior to hiring them. Remember the attorney works for you – you don’t work for the attorney. In my career I have been fortunate enough to work with some truly great experts. Most often I have relied on experts in the field of forensic toxicology to challenge the evidential chemical tests and I have relied upon former law enforcement officers to challenge the officer's observations and administration of the standardized field sobriety tests.
I regularly attend the Mastering Science in DUI Seminar through the National College for DUI Defense. At these seminars I am able to stay on the cutting edge of DUI defense and meet the best expert witnesses in the world.
How Do You Get Paid And What Do You Cost?
My father always said, “If you know how somebody gets paid you’ll never get ripped off.” Here are some common-sense questions to determine what you will be charged for:
- Will you be charged a flat fee or will you pay a retainer fee and have an open-ended bill?
- Will your attorney be incentivized to keep the case going on longer?
- Will your attorney be incentivized to take any plea just to end the case?
- Will you be charged copy fees, filing fees, paralegal fees, or any other fees on top of your bill?
- Will you be billed monthly, weekly or all at once?
- Does the fee include the costs of a trial?
- Does the fee include the costs of an appeal?
- Does the fee include representation on case-related issues after the case is over (driver’s license issues)?
If the attorney won’t give straight answers to these questions be prepared to leave without hiring that attorney. If you are shopping based on price alone, you probably won’t hire someone like me. I am not “cheap” and I don’t want to be. In my opinion, hiring an attorney based solely on price is as senseless as representing yourself. Do not expect answers to fee questions over the telephone. I cannot give you a realistic price unless I know all the information about you and your case. It is inconceivable to me that a dedicated and ethical attorney could, or would, quote a fee without a thorough investigation of your case. Asking for a quote over the phone is like asking the question, “what will I pay for a used car?”
So, Are You The Best DUI Attorney?
This entire post has been giving you ways to determine who is the best DUI attorney for you. I hope that I have been successful in putting you in a position to decide. Here are some more common sense points to consider. Do not hire an attorney that promises outcomes or implies that they are the only lawyer who could handle your case. You know better! Never hire an attorney who puts down judges, prosecutors or other attorneys. Confidence is an essential commodity in an attorney, but all that ethical counsel can promise is their best effort at defending you. Some lawyers, through hard work, may be in a better position to recognize issues in your DUI case. No lawyer will win all their cases, but you can’t win issues you don’t know exist. Hire the person who is best situated to be your guide. As the old cowboys used to say, “he’ll do to ride the river with.” Like all relationships, you will know when it is right. Rely on your judgment and experience and trust your instincts. You will know whether or not you have found the best DUI attorney.
Attorney Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in the Miami Valley and throughout Ohio and protecting you. He has the credentials and the experience to win your case and has made himself Dayton’s choice for drunk driving defense. Contact Charles Rowland by phone at (937) 318-1384 or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263). If you need assistance after hours, call the 24/7 DUI Hotline at (937) 776-2671. You can have DaytonDUI at your fingertips by downloading the DaytonDUI Android App or have DaytonDUI sent directly to your mobile device by texting DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500. Follow DaytonDUI on Facebook, @DaytonDUI on Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Pheed and Pintrest or get RSS of the Ohio DUI blog. You can emailCharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or visit his office at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324. “All I do is DUI defense.”
Ohio DUI law information and other city-specific info at the following links: