By Erin Gerstenzang

DUI First Offense Page.003Choosing the right attorney to defend your Georgia DUI is critical.  For many people, this is the first time you have ever had to hire a criminal defense attorney.  As you wade through the hundreds of options online, it can start to feel very overwhelming trying to determine which attorney is right for you. There are three critical areas of experience to focus on when choosing your attorney.

The first, is your attorney’s level of skill and knowledge in the field of DUI defense. When you are interviewing attorneys, you want to make sure that the person you are speaking with is  highly skilled in that area of law.

Ask your attorney what percentage of their practice is devoted to DUI defense.  Inquire as to whether your attorney is a recognized national speaker, who teaches other DUI defense attorneys.

You can’t always know their level of skill and experience until you see them in the courtroom, but asking about their experience teaching other attorneys is a reliable way to objectively measure whether your attorney’s level of skill is as advanced as it may have been advertised.

Second, find out if your attorney regularly practices in your court.  You may be speaking with a highly qualified attorney, but if he does not regularly appear in your court, he may not be able to fight for you as effectively as a qualified attorney who is familiar with that court.

Although the laws are applied similarly throughout Georgia, the personalities that comprise each court system, including the prosecutors, judges and jurors vary  dramatically.  Intimate knowledge of those personalities and court practices will improve the quality of your defense.  Make sure your attorney is a regular practitioner in your court.

Finally, when you meet with attorneys, it is critical that you are evaluating the trustworthiness of the person you are speaking with.  You will have to rely upon the advice of your attorney when making some of the most difficult decisions you have ever had to make in your entire life.  The consequences of your decisions will affect you, your future, and your family.  If you do not trust that your attorney will always have your best interests in mind, then you do not have the right attorney.

As attorneys, we are trained to represent individuals zealously and always put your best interests above all others.  Make sure the attorney you are hiring can and will do just that.