Among the things I’ve learned as a Michigan DUI lawyer and author of more than 800 articles is that most of the lawyers handling OWI cases are decent and honest people, but are also virtually indistinguishable from one another. In other words, professionally speaking, they’re almost all just about the same. Slick marketing professionals take advantage of the fact that most people are somewhat impatient, a bit lazy, and don’t want to get caught up in and endless search for a lawyer – all to the client’s disadvantage. Some websites allow potential clients to compare multiple attorneys at once, seemingly streamlining the process. Yet when you do line up a group of lawyers, you’ll find they all say the pretty much the same things: “tough and aggressive,” or “I will fight for you” (like you came looking for a wimp); “20-plus years experience,” (that’s nice, but tons of other lawyers (me, included) have that, as well); “Free consultation” (every lawyer does this, to some extent), or “Call 24/7” (even good room service isn’t available 24/7, so how desperate is that?). Whatever else, the best lawyers respect their time, because it’s important, and don’t do evening or weekend appointments, much less answer the phone at all hours of the night.
So how do you find the best DUI lawyer without looking forever, or being bombarded with self-serving marketing tactics, endless glowing testimonials, or meaningless slogans like “proven results,” or worse, yet, giving your contact info to someone who won’t leave you alone? To do this right, you ARE going to have to invest at least a little time. This is an important decision and should be treated as such. To be clear, I do have something of a self-interest here – but – because I confine my DUI practice to the Metro-Detroit area (meaning primarily Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties), those interests are limited, and I want this article to be helpful for anyone in Michigan (and perhaps beyond) who needs to hire a lawyer for a drinking and driving case. Everyone facing a DUI knows it’s serious, and doesn’t need to be reminded of all the potential negative legal consequences and punishments (most of which aren’t going to happen, anyway). You should run away as fast as you can from any operation that resorts to fear-based marketing tactics, or, on the flip side, who tries and make it sound like that they can simply make everything go away. Before you can ever find the “best” lawyer, you must first decide what kind of lawyer you’re looking for.
Price does matter, because not everyone can hire from the top shelf, and that’s okay. Someone on a budget should not waste time considering unaffordable lawyers (not that high fees mean a lawyer is particularly good, anyway). The money issue, however, should be tackled first, because it does help thin out the herd of potential candidates. Not to be outright cold about it, but this does require something of a choice between cost and quality. Paying a lot does NOT necessarily (or even often) add up to getting a good lawyer, much less one who is really great, but it’s also true that financial limitations will prevent you from being able to select from among the very best. That said, most people looking to buy a Porsche could not afford a Bugatti, either, so that’s a kind of choice that almost everyone faces, at least to some extent. Key here is to remember that you will never get the best at a bargain price, but also that high prices don’t translate to superior skills, either. That’s why it’s important to put some effort into this.