When you are charged with a DUI you face a lot of confusing options in choosing a lawyer. When you conduct an internet search you find dozens of flashy websites from lawyers claiming to be DUI experts and some of those lawyers paid to be at the top of the search results. You might ask your friend who had a DUI a couple of years ago and she recommends her cousin who just graduated law school or her divorce lawyer who handles a couple of DUI cases a year. With all of these options how do you separate the skilled, experienced, knowledgeable DUI lawyers from the newbies, wannabes, and bleed 'em and plead 'em lawyers? The top factor in sorting them out is trial experience. This single factor is the easiest way to separate the wheat from the chaff and, frankly, you will find very few lawyers who have taken more than a dozen DUI cases to trial. When you choose a lawyer with extensive DUI trial experience you know the following:
- Your lawyer is a fighter. For some DUI cases trial is the only real option. Some DUI defendants are factually or legally innocent. In some cases the evidence is weak. Maybe the prosecutor is out for blood or maybe the client simply wants to go to trial. Shockingly, there are lawyers who claim to be DUI lawyers who rarely, or never, take a case to trial. Instead they convince their clients to plead guilty or take a pretrial diversion program because they are too afraid or too lazy to go to trial, or because they charged a bargain basement fee and want to close the case quickly.
- Experienced DUI trial lawyers get better plea offers. If you and your lawyer decide a trial is not the best option you may look for the best plea bargain you can get. Prosecutors have heavy case loads and only have time to go to trial on a small percentage of their cases. Prosecutors know which lawyers will fight them in trial and which ones will roll over. They make bad offers to the pushover lawyers because those lawyers have no option but to take it. They make better offers to the fighters because they know that is what they need to do to close the case.
- The seasoned DUI trial lawyer has confidence. At some point a lawyer and client sit down to discuss how to resolve their case. A lawyer with extensive DUI trial experience knows what will impress a jury or Judge and what will not, and can properly advise the client. A lawyer without trial experience is just guessing.
Kansas DUI defense lawyer Brian Leininger has 30 years of experience and has handled well over 3000 Kansas DUI cases. He has represented clients in around 80 jury trials and over 200 bench trials (trials to a Judge without a jury).