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Choosing a Lawyer
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably been charged with a DWI. You’re stressed, scared, confused. You don’t know what to do. You know you need a lawyer.
But wading through the choices is intimidating, and the more you look, the messier the picture becomes.
On top of all this stress, you’ve probably been inundated with solicitation letters clogging up your mailbox (letting everyone you live with and the postman know that something’s up). Throw those letters away.
The best way to find the right lawyer is the old-fashioned way – a referral from someone you trust, preferably someone who has actually used this lawyer himself. Or contact a good lawyer who specifically does not practice in the area that you’re looking for and let him refer you to the right lawyer. Or do what you’re doing – independent research. By far the worst way to find a lawyer is choosing among those who make their living soliciting the unfortunate and offering cheap prices.
Your Independent Research
There are some really nice, impressive-looking websites out there. A fancy website does not a good lawyer make. The reason that you’ve landed on a website is because the lawyer has paid someone to make sure that you do land on that website (I know; that’s what I’ve done). Look at all the funny, repeated language in the websites. Look at all the DWI/DUI/OUI references in the websites. Tip: we don’t have a DUI or OUI law in North Carolina. You may like my website. Good. But it tells you nothing more than that you might want to meet me.
You cannot know whom to hire until you have met the lawyer and got a feeling for yourself that this is the lawyer for you. You have to be confident that this lawyer has the experience, the knowledge, the reputation, the fire, the willingness to try his cases; that this lawyer commands respect — this lawyer knows what he’s doing. Your meeting with the lawyer will tell you what you need to know. Listen to the lawyer’s answers to your questions and rely on your instincts. If the lawyer has a hard time convincing you that he’s the man or she’s the woman for the job, then how convincing is he or she going to be in front of a judge or jury, arguing your case? So ask the tough questions. This is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever have to make.
If you have time (and you should make the time), go to the courthouse, find the criminal courtrooms, and observe. Who are the lawyers you see all the time? Who are the lawyers the DA’s are paying attention to? Who are the lawyers commanding the judge’s respect? Who are the lawyers the clerks are smiling at, the bailiffs are greeting, and the cops are talking to? Who are the lawyers that are busy? Who are the lawyers who seem to know each other? Who are the lawyers everyone seems to know? And this is the big one: Who are the lawyers who are trying cases?
Educate yourself. These are things you can do to make sure you hire the right lawyer for you; and, unlike the medical profession where the insurance companies tell you who your doctor is, you get to decide for yourself. Make the right choice. Hire a seasoned, passionate, fearless, knowledgeable North Carolina DWI lawyer.