HIRING A LAWYER
What kind of a lawyer do I need?
First of all, you should be aware that what may seem to you to be a hopeless case may actually be one that can be successfully defended, especially if you are represented by a layer who is both knowledgeable and experienced in DWI/DUI defense. The State has the burden of proving each and every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt; often an experienced DWI lawyer can find ways to prevent the prosecution from meeting that burden. Constitutional issues can often be raised that prevent the State from introducing evidence it needs to convict. The State may not have followed statutes or regulations. It may simply have a weak case and be unable to prove your guilt when you are represented by a skilled DWI defense attorney. In addition, many people benefit greatly from either a negotiated reduction of the initial charge or by receiving a lesser punishment than they might expect if not represented by counsel. In almost every DWI there is a considerable range from the best possible outcome to the worst possible outcome. Often, license losses can be substantially reduced, and in many cases jail sentences can be avoided or reduced in length. It simply makes good sense to consult a lawyer who is both knowledgeable and experienced with DWI defense in order to see what your prospects may be.
In the State of New Hampshire, many police departments have non-lawyer prosecutors; DWI law has become more complex. Sometimes, the burden of appearing at ALS hearings and at DWI trials becomes overwhelming for the State, especially for the smaller departments. Court dockets are busy and prosecutors often overworked. An accomplished, experienced, and hard-working DWI defense attorney can frequently use the complexity of the law and the busy conditions of the judicial system to benefit clients. With frequency that may surprise you, it is possible to receive a substantially smaller license loss, fine, or jail sentence than you would if you chose not to be represented. Sometimes, the prosecution can be persuaded to withdraw the administrative license suspension, saving months of license loss; often more serious charges are reduced in exchange for a plea. Even if you think your case is hopeless, at least consult an attorney, for he or she may be able to help more than you think. Either Ted or I will let you know if we believe our firm can be of assistance or not. Frankly, some cases do not present good possibilities of acquittal; even in cases of this sort, plea negotiating or plea bargaining often results in the defendant's sentence being reduced substantially from what might be expected. Even if your case is one that is likely to lead to a conviction, it is our experience that you can still often achieve a far better outcome from hiring a lawyer than not.
What happens at an initial consultation?
At our initial meeting, we obtain necessary information about you and your personal situation, including your health, the facts and circumstances surrounding your arrest, your objectives, discuss the law with you, and attempt to answer any of your questions. We will then evaluate for you, as accurately and honestly as we are able, what we think we may be able to accomplish on our behalf. We will then discuss legal fees with you. Since in almost all cases we charge a fixed or set fee, you will know in advance precisely how much your defense will cost. You will also be informed when in the proceedings those fees are due. You will be given the opportunity to decide what you wish to do. If you decide to retain our services, we will enter into a written fee agreement. Fees usually run from $2500.00 to $6000.00, or even more in certain rare cases, depending on the seriousness and the number of the charges, the location of the Court, the issues that may be involved, and your objectives. On some occasions we enter into hourly rate fee agreements. We always discuss the amount and the timing of the payment of legal fees with prospective clients in advance of their deciding to retain our services.
What should I bring with me to our first meeting?
We will want to examine copies of all the documents that you were given, such as bail receipts, summons, or complaints, breath test printouts, police notices, etc.
How much will my legal fees be?
The initial consultation is always free; if you do not choose to retain OUR services, that first visit costs you nothing. We do accept VISA, MASTERCARD, and DISCOVER if you prefer to pay by credit card. The usual fee arrangement is that you pay a portion of the expected fee as a retainer prior to our beginning work on your behalf. You will be sent an original and a copy of the written fee agreement at that time and asked to sign and return a copy to our office; if you wish, you may obtain a draft of that agreement prior to your leaving from your original interview. Fees of highly experienced and successful DWI/DUI practitioners may seem high, but they are necessary, because the most effective strategy for effective representation of DWI defendants demands not only substantial DWI knowledge and experience, but also hard work and the expenditure of significant time. Ted and I do not choose to defend DWI cases on a cut-rate basis, for the only way that can be done is by not devoting sufficient time to do the job right. Why not set up an initial consultation? Why not get your case honestly valuated? After all, it is free. Simply call me at 603-667-6568 or Ted at 603-513-1919. If you use email, feel free to email and request a return call. Or, you can complete and submit our Questionnaire, which is most helpful to us, as it provides us with much of the information we need to determine how and when we need to act, as DWI law presents some critical time deadlines. We will get back you as soon as we can. All information about you and your charges, including information submitted in the questionnaire, is confidential and will not be shared with anyone outside LOTHSTEIN LAW OFFICE without your prior permission.