Deciding who to hire to represent you for your DUI can have a real impact on your future. There are a lot of lawyers out there, so make sure you ask the tough questions to make sure you are getting the best, and getting what you pay for. Ask any lawyer these ten questions before deciding who to hire in order to find the best DUI defense attorneys, who have the knowledge and experience to fight for you.
Have you been involved in the arrests of over 500 people for DUI as a former police officer in Arizona?
YES. Before I became an attorney, I was a police officer with both the Mesa Police Department and the Phoenix Police Department. This gives me the unique perspective of knowing what a DUI case looks like from the cops' point of view. I was involved in the arrests of hundreds of people charged with DUI. I know what the police look for, how they write their reports, what kinds of information gets left out of reports, and the tricks they use to arrest people for DUIs. Let me use this experience for your benefit.
Have you prosecuted DUI cases before a judge and jury?
YES. As a former prosecutor, I have tried numerous DUI cases before a judge and a jury. The work of a prosecutor is different than a defense attorney. A prosecutor has to prove all elements of a crime in order to seek a conviction. A defense attorney just has to create enough doubt to get a not guilty verdict. As a result, I know exactly how prosecutors think, and how they use the information available to try a case. Let me use this experience to fight for you.
Have you defended DUI cases successfully before a jury?
YES. I have focused my legal practice as a DUI defense attorney. Using my former professional experience as both a cop and a prosecutor, I am in the best position to help those on the other side of the law, people charged with a DUI. I have successfully tried numerous cases before a jury, with charges being dropped or greatly reduced.
Were you certified to perform the field sobriety tests the police officer performed on me?
YES. As a former police officer, I was trained and certified to perform Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs). The police are trained to look for a number of signs that a driver is impaired when administering field sobriety tests, and score each person on a point system. I was trained and certified to perform these tests, and understand how they work. As a result, I know when police did not properly administer these tests, so we can use this information in your favor.
Were you certified to perform the eye test (Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus) the police officer performed on me?
YES. The HGN eye test is another field sobriety test that police officer's use to see if someone is impaired. I was certified to perform this test as a former police officer. In fact, I administered this exact test to hundreds of impaired drivers. I know what the cops are looking for, and how they use this information against you. I can use this training to identify errors in how the police performed the eye test, and potentially get this test thrown out of evidence so it can't be used against you.
Were you a certified DUI officer specializing in illegal drug/prescription drug cases?
YES. Not every DUI involves alcohol. Driving under the influence of drugs, even if they are prescription drugs, is against the law. However, like alcohol, different people are affected by drugs in different ways. Juries, judges, and even most lawyers don't understand the complex nature of drug interaction. I was a certified officer specializing in both illegal and prescription drug cases. I understand how drugs work in the body, and how they can impact the ability to drive.
Do you know the tricks and shortcuts the police take, and how to use them to win in my case?
YES. After a DUI, you may not have a positive impression of the police. Trust me, I've been there. As a former police officer, I know the tricks and the shortcuts the police take when they pulled you over. I understand what they are looking for, and what they say to try and get you to implicate yourself. I know what police reports look like, and what kind of information is intentionally left out of those reports.
Will you represent me in the Motor Vehicle Division Driver's License Hearing?
YES. A DUI is more than a criminal case, it also results in a Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) hearing. You are not only fighting against a criminal record with jail time and high fines, you are also fighting against losing your license to drive. The MVD hearing is different from the criminal proceeding, and not every lawyer has experience before both tribunals. In fact, some lawyers, such as public defenders, cannot represent you during your MVD hearing. I will be the lawyer representing your during both proceedings, because I understand the importance of keeping your license.
Will you be the attorney handling every part of my case personally, including interviewing police officers?
YES. Some of the bigger law firms run a slick sales pitch by having you consult with their top lawyer or salesman, the one with all the supposed experience, and the supposedly successful record. Then, once they have your check in hand, they will pass your case off to an inexperienced associate who has never had a successful jury trial. I understand that you hired me, because you want me to be your lawyer. I take that trust very seriously, and want you to know that I am the only one who will be handling your case, including interviewing police officers, visiting the scene of the stop and speaking with expert witnesses on your behalf. Once the police know that I was a former officer myself, they know that they cannot fool around and usually answer the questions I ask them.
If I go to trial, will you be the attorney who fights for my rights in court?
YES. When you called my office, you got me on the phone. Not an associate straight out of law school, and not a lawyer who usually handles immigration or divorce cases. I am the lawyer you hired, and I will be the one who fights for your rights in court. You wanted the former cop, the former prosecutor, the experienced DUI defense lawyer to handle your case, and that is exactly what you'll get. From the day you walk into my office until the end of your trial, I will be the one to represent you and defend your rights.
If your lawyer can answer YES to all ten of these questions, you are in good hands. If they can't, then you may want to speak to another attorney who can. Your job, your family, and your livelihood may be at stake. An attorney who can answer YES to all these questions understands a DUI case from inside out, and from both sides of the courtroom. Very few DUI lawyers have worked as a police officer and a prosecutor, to understand exactly how DUI cases are investigated and prosecuted.
If you have been arrested for a DUI anywhere in the Phoenix Metro Area, call the one local DUI attorney who is a both former police officer and prosecutor. Ask me these 10 questions, and any others you have, to make sure I'm the best lawyer for you. Take action NOW by contacting me, Jonathan Warshaw, at (480) 787-0014.