There are a lot of lawyers who will represent drivers who have been charged with DWI. Obviously, there are many different skill levels which are offered by these attorneys. It should go without saying that any attorney willing to represent a DWI defendant, should have a basic knowledge of applicable law, court procedure and be persuasive in trial and pretrial hearings.
However, I think there is something that goes beyond these basic requirements to allow an attorney handling DWI cases to be effective. DWI cases are hard. To succeed in these cases, it’s essential that the attorney brings more to the case than these basics.
So what is it that makes a difference in DWI representation?
First, it’s incredibly important to be patient. We know that our clients want cases to be resolved as quickly as possible, but the truth is that patience in DWI cases, as in most other things, pays off. For example, the State has the obligation to provide all applicable discovery, i.e., records produced in the course of the DWI investigation. These days, it seems that many police departments, including the State Police, are incredibly strained in meeting this legal requirement. Failure of the state to do so could result in the DWI case being dismissed against the defendant!
Secondly, the lawyer has to be persistent in ferreting out all of the information available, including both mobile and in station video recordings. These recordings can show that assertions in written DWI reports prepared by police are simply incorrect.
As important as patience and persistence are, it is even more important to remember that DWI representation must be personal. The attorney must recognize that the client coming into their office for the first time, comes with a great burden on their shoulders. An attorney must recognize this and let the client know that the lawyer’s job is to take over this burden and do everything possible to get the best result. Attorneys must also understand that achieving a result from the court, prosecutor and officer, is very difficult and that the lawyer’s ability to communicate and persuade are key in achieving the result desired, whether it be by plea or trial.
Patience, persistence and making it personal then, make the difference by not just providing representation, but rather providing representation at the highest level, to achieve the best results.