Is it time to hire a DWI lawyer?
Wondering what you need to know about your initial consultation?
A driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge is serious and it’s important to get started out on the right foot with any lawyer you are considering for representation. If you’re getting ready to hire an Austin DWI lawyer you may not know what to expect.
Luckily, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about your initial DWI consultation below.
Getting Ready to Meet Your Austin DWI Lawyer
After you schedule a consultation, you will need to meet with your lawyer, usually at the attorney’s office. In some situations, if you are currently imprisoned a lawyer will be able to come to meet you in the jail instead.
Your initial meeting with the attorney face to face is where both of you will be able to evaluate each other. You may or may not decide to meet with other lawyers as well and weigh your different options.
During the consultation, it’s important that you think carefully about whether the lawyer is someone you want working on your case.
Be aware that some lawyers will charge you for their time. However, most will offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case.
If your attorney does charge for the initial consultation, you may need to bring a check to pay for the very first meeting.
It’s also important that you remember to bring a pen and paper with you to take notes. Alternatively, you may take notes on an electronic device instead.
If you have any important documents regarding your DWI case, you’ll need to bring these as well. The lawyer will be able to review the documents during this time and this will help them have a better understanding of the case.
Finally, you should also have a list of questions prepared that you’ll want to ask your lawyer.
Etiquette for the Meeting
It’s important that you act professionally during the meeting and put your best foot forward.
First of all, you should be punctual. Do your best to avoid arriving late to the meeting. Your lawyer’s time is valuable and it is poor etiquette to make them wait too long.
You should also dress well to show your attorney that you are serious about your case. While it’s not necessary to wear a suit, you should try to wear professional attire similarly to what you would wear to a business meeting.
It’s also important that you remember to be honest during your consultation. Honesty is the best policy since most things you tell them will be subject to the attorney-client privilege. Your lawyer is there to help you and they can only do that if they know your full story.
While you likely will have to do a good bit of talking in the meeting, you shouldn’t forget to be a good listener as well. Make sure you listen to the lawyer first and then speak later.
The attorney will help to focus the meeting on what is most relevant to your case and can help you dig deeper into the heart of the matter, as long as you let them lead a good bit of the discussion.
Discussion of the Case
During the main part of your meeting, you will spend a lot of time discussing the details of your case. You should expect to tell your attorney exactly what happened in your own words.
The lawyer will also ask plenty of questions. He or she will spend some time evaluating your responses as well as your overall demeanor.
In all likelihood, you and your lawyer will also discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your case based on the details and what you have discussed during the consultation.
He or she may also discuss possible outcomes with you. The lawyer can help you get a good idea of what you can expect from the case and what your punishment, if any, will be.
Asking Your Own Questions
While the lawyer will probably ask you a lot of questions, you should be prepared with your own set of questions as well. You are both evaluating each other during the consultation and you need to find out if the Austin DWI lawyer is right for you and if you think they’ll be the best person for handling your case.
Here are a few questions you may want to ask during this meeting.
- Who will handle my case? Will it be the attorney I’m meeting with or someone else?
- Do you specialize in DWI cases or do you handle many types of cases?
- How many DWI cases have you won in the past?
- Do you often appear in the same court where I’m being charged?
- What outcomes can I expect from my case?
- What is your policy on client communication? What can be expected?
- Do you have any certifications or special training that qualifies you to handle DWI cases?
There are likely other questions you may want to ask as well, so think long and hard about what you need to talk about with a potential lawyer before the meeting. Feel free to write a list so you don’t forget what you would like to talk about.
Discussing Fee Structure and Costs
In addition to the details of the case, you need to make sure you and your lawyer are both on the same page when it comes to their fee structure and the costs you can expect.
Pay structures can vary a lot between different attorneys and lawyers. Take some time to ask about the specific lawyer’s costs. Most lawyers will be paid in one of three ways and will charge either flat fees, contingency fees, or hourly fees.
If they charge hourly fees you will probably need to pay a retainer up front. You should also be prepared to negotiate the hourly rate.
During the meeting, you may also be presented with a retainer agreement or legal services agreement which you will need to sign. Be sure to read any documents very carefully before signing.
Clarifying the Next Steps
Before the consultation comes to a close it is important that you clarify what should happen next. Let the attorney know if you are considering a few other options first or if you would like to get started immediately.
Afterwards, you may potentially need to send some more case-related documents to your lawyer.
Before you part ways, you should also find out about what contact methods the lawyer has available, whether it be phone or email.
You should also find out what level of communication you can expect from the lawyer and what communication guidelines they have. Not all lawyers will be easily reachable on a whim and you may need to expect some time for them to get back to you when you contact them.
If you have a DWI charge it is important that you get a good Austin DWI lawyer on your case. You need to have somebody fighting to help you get the best possible outcome in court.
If you’re planning on meeting with a lawyer, the tips above will help you know what to expect so you’ll have a productive first meeting.
If you’re looking for an Austin DWI lawyer, we can help. Contact us today to set up your free consultation.