It can be scary being charged with drink driving, it has a devastating effect on people. Most people are represented by a solicitor and it is important to ensure that you get the right solicitor to represent you.
Most people charged with drink driving have never been to court before and do not know what to look for in a solicitor.
This guide will help you decide who should represent you.
1. Are they a solicitor? Some websites are run by non solicitors who will seek to advise you and then pass you on to a solicitor or barrister to represent you. Check that the website has the Solicitor Regulation Authority number on the website. It is a requirement for solicitors to put these details on the website, if they aren’t there then they probably aren’t solicitors.
2. Are they a specialist? Often a law firm will have a criminal department that will put up a website saying they specialise in Motoring matters. Does the website have links to other parts of the firm. Is motoring law just one of many things they do?
3. Are they happy to offer up front fixed fees? Or do they still work on the old hourly rate system so that you have no idea how much the bill will be when it arrives.
4. Do they offer real free advice? Some solicitors offer free initial advice but you have to register or pay a small fee. Free is free. How limited is the free initial advice. If it is ‘you need a lawyer’ it’s not really advice, check that it is an unlimited free first interview. Not everyone is the same and some people may need longer that others to explain their case. With us the clock is never ticking.
5. Are they available when you need them? It is not always easy to talk about these things at work in front of your colleagues. Will the solicitor talk to you after work or at the weekend when it suits you?
6. Are they being honest with you? Are their expectations realistic? Are they making promises that they may not be able to deliver? Are they telling you that they will get you off without revealing what the defence is? We will tell you if we think there is no defence. If a solicitor tells you they can get you off, ask what the defence is. If the answer is ‘we don’t know until we see the papers’ maybe there is no defence and they are being unrealistic and raising your hopes.
7. Are they able to tell you the likely outcome?
8. Do they know what they are talking about? How often do they appear in court? How long have they been doing it for. Do you want to risk your licence with a young solicitor learning as they go along?
9. Have they offered you any practical advice on how to reduce your disqualification?
10. Finally and most important do you feel at ease talking to them? If you aren’t comfortable working with them as a team then you shouldn’t commit yourself to them.
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