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Hiring a DUI Attorney in Ohio

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Ohio, the first thing you should do is contact an attorney. Depending on your financial ability, you may consider hiring a private attorney with a focus on DUI cases. Another option is court-appointed counsel, but these attorneys are unfortunately often overworked and not always experienced in your case matter. Finally, you may be tempted to represent yourself in an effort to save on legal fees, but this is a risky strategy that could end in far higher fines and the loss of your license.

If you do decide to hire a private DUI attorney, the following information might help you choose the right fit:

The Quicker the Better

After a DUI arrest, the first thing you should do is get in contact with an attorney, even if your court date is still off in the future. There are time sensitive steps necessary to protect your rights and get you on the path to a successful DUI resolution.

First, in Ohio, there is an automatic administrative license suspension (ALS). Everyone arrested for OVI/DUI in Ohio faces an administrative suspension. The suspension may be longer for either refusing to take the police requested sobriety test or for failing said test. The suspension can be varying lengths depending on whether the test was refused or failed, and if you have a previous DUI incident. At a minimum, your license will be automatically suspended for 90 days without a judge ever having to see you in court because this is an administrative penalty imposed by the Ohio DMV and not the criminal justice system. You waive your right to appeal this automatic suspension if you do not file the appeal within 30 days of your arrest. An experienced attorney with in-depth knowledge of the intricacies of DUI law will file that appeal within days of your arrest and get you back on the path to being able to legally drive faster than you can on your own.

A DUI attorney will also give you valuable advice that you may not be aware of is necessary on your own. For example, an attorney may advise you to immediately begin attending Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings or begin doing community service so that you appear proactive and contrite when you first appear in front of a judge.

How to Choose the Right DUI Attorney

Many attorneys handle DUI cases, but there are some important considerations to consider when choosing the right attorney for our specific needs.

Consultations

Many DUI attorneys offer prospective clients a free consultation to discuss the basic issues and merits of your case. More importantly, there is never an obligation to hire an attorney who gives you a free consultation. This allows you to meet your attorney face-to-face and get a feel for their style and how comfortable you are around the attorney. For the most efficient consultation, you should bring ALL materials related to your case (citations, license suspensions, court dates and notices, and DMV administrative materials). You should also have a list of questions you want to be answered. The consultation is the only chance you will have to speak with an attorney for free, so use it to your advantage and get as much out of your time as possible.

Questions You Should Ask

One of the first things you should ask about is how many DUI cases the firm overall, or the specific attorney you are speaking with works on in a year. Many attorneys work in DUI cases, but there are a limited number of truly experienced, thoughtful attorneys. An attorney or firm that works primarily on DUI cases may be able to navigate your case better than a firm with a wide array of cases that only dabbles in DUI work.

Related to the first question, you should ask how long your attorney has been working on DUI cases. The longer an attorney has been practicing is absolutely no guarantee they are more competent, BUT it will almost assuredly mean they have exposure to a wider variety of DUI cases. Each case has its own unique set of facts, but certain patterns emerge, and a more experienced lawyer may know how to handle your specific case better. In addition, a longer career generally means more trial experience which can be invaluable if your case is not dismissed or a plea agreement is not reached. A trial win or loss record is not always a good indicator of how good an attorney is, the system is not designed to be helpful to the defendant.

You should also ask about the attorney’s experience within Ohio in general, but also within your specific court and location. DUI is a very localized offense and the disposition of the case can vary from judge to judge. It is important to hire an attorney who knows your judge and prosecutor. A better deal may materialize if your attorney enjoys a good working relationship with these key people and has a strong reputation in your local area.

Fees

Money is an uncomfortable topic for everyone involved in these transactions, but it is better to be upfront about your concerns and receive a quote for the exact amount you will pay, or at the very least, a good estimate. First, you need to ask whether the attorney will charge you an hourly fee or a flat fee. With an hourly fee, you will only be charged for the time the attorney actually spends working on the case. However, many DUI attorneys charge a flat rate. For example, the attorney might charge you $5000 to handle your case from start to finish.

If the attorney charges a flat rate, you should ask what all is covered in this flat rate. In some cases, the flat rate only covers expenses up to trial. If you choose to take the case to trial, then an extra fee will be required. You should also think about motions, motions are not included in flat flee pricing. Further, there may be extra fees to pay for expert testimony or other litigation expenses. Unfortunately, these litigation expenses are necessary to have a good chance of winning at trial.

Finally, you should ask if the flat fee covers any DMV administrative proceedings as well. These proceedings are not criminal in nature, so the criminal defense flat fee may not cover these matters. It is important, however, for the same attorney to represent you in both the administrative and criminal proceedings. This ensures your legal strategy is coherent and will make your defense more efficient as the criminal attorney will already be knowledgeable about the facts of your case.

Please reach out to an attorney today. We would love to discuss your case and begin working towards a swift and positive resolution of your DUI charge, so you can get back to your everyday life.

Our Firm and Fees

The Farrish Law Firm offers payment plans, as opposed to many other firms, and we are willing to negotiate payment plans if necessary. To schedule your free initial consult call 513-621-8700 during regular business hours or 513-403-9699 – 24 hours a day.