Archive for March, 2009
When choosing a Tennessee attorney to handle your DUI charge, you should be certain to research your potential lawyer. Because of the serious consequences associated with a Tennessee DUI conviction, which attorney you hire is one of the most important decisions you make. In addition to the considerations discussed in our previous post, Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Mo – Hiring a TN DUI Attorney, you should consult the following resources:
- Visit the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility website to search for the attorney. The Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility governs the licensing of Tennessee attorneys. The website will provide information on whether the attorney is in good standing (able to practice law in Tennessee) and whether the attorney has ever been disciplined (e.g. suspended from the practice of law).
- Determine if the Tennessee lawyer or someone in the firm is certified as a specialist in the area of DUI Defense. Such information can be obtained from the website of the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization.
- Determine if the attorney has been rated by Martindale-HubbellTM and if his rating (or that of the law firm) is an “AV.” The “AV” rating represents an attorney who has legal abilities that are “very high to preeminent” (A) and whose ethical standards rate “very high” (V).
- Consult Avvo.com for additional information on the lawyer. Avvo provides a rating system for attorneys and was designed to assist consumers in selecting a lawyer. The benefit of Avvo is that you can review endorsements of the potential attorney from his or her peers, as well as read reviews from actual prior clients of the attorney.
- Finally, you should visit the attorney’s website. Review the site for the attorney’s biography and resume, as well as information pertaining to Tennessee DUI law.
- Don’t overlook contacting your friends, family, police officers and court personnel known to you or your friends, your employer, and other attorneys who specialize in other areas of law to obtain a short list of lawyers with excellent reputations.
Saint Patrick’s Day is often associated with the consumption of alcoholic beverages. If you are celebrating this holiday in such a manner, you should be careful to recognize that your alcohol consumption may impair your ability to drive. You may not realize that your own ability to know if you are impaired or under the influence may be affected by alcohol. The safe way to celebrate is to be certain you have a designated driver who is not drinking alcohol or taking any medications or drugs. If you even think you may be impaired, you should call a cab or get a ride with a friend.
Even if you conclude that you are not too impaired to get behind the wheel, keep in mind that a law enforcement officer could reach a different conclusion. Should you be stopped and suspected of driving under the influence, you may find yourself with several questions relating to Tennessee DUI laws, such as:
- Am I required to take the field sobriety tests?
- Do I have a legal right to refuse a breath or blood test (chemical test)?
- Do I have a right to select between a blood or breath test?
- Do I have a right to consult with my lawyer prior to taking field sobriety tests or a chemical test?
- Do I have a right to obtain my own blood alcohol test?
A successful result to your DUI charge requires a high level of commitment on the part of both you and your lawyer. Before hiring a DUI lawyer, you should take a moment to seriously consider some important questions.
How important is your Tennessee DUI Case to you? Are you prepared to:
- Spend 1 ½ to 2 hours during the initial meeting with your lawyer?
- Communicate and meet with your lawyer frequently and assist him or her in the preparation of your case?
- Assist your lawyer in the investigation of your case by meeting with an investigator; obtaining relevant medical records; answering a detailed questionnaire?
- Meet with your attorney at his or her officer early on the morning of each court appearance so that you may know what to expect and be prepared for your court appearance?
How important is your Tennessee DUI Case to your potential lawyer? Is he or she prepared, at a minimum, to:
- Devote 1 ½ to 2 hours for the initial interview?
- Explain the court procedures to you in detail?
- Educate you on the elements of a Tennessee Driving Under the Influence Charge?
- Provide you with detailed information about the penalties associated with a Tennessee DUI?
- Attend DUI defense seminars to stay up to date on the legal and scientific developments available in defending your DUI case?
- Become so intimate with the laws relating to the crime of DUI and the necessary trial skills that he or she is asked to teach other lawyers, judges and police officers about DUI laws?
- Be readily available to answer your questions and concerns?
- Devote hours to the investigation and preparation of your Tennessee DUI case?
If you can answer “yes” to all of your questions, be certain the Tennessee DUI lawyer you hire can answer affirmatively to the lawyer questions posed above. Only then can you be assured that you have the best chance of obtaining a successful result.