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Choosing the Best DUI Lawyer For Your Sonoma Case

Choosing the Best DUI lawyer for your Santa Rosa Case

How to Find an Experienced Sonoma County Drunk Driving Defense Lawyer

Sonoma County has roughly one DUI arrest for every hundred drivers, which is one of the highest percentages of arrests per hundred drivers in the Bay Area. The police regularly patrol the roadways near the wineries and casinos, targeting locals and tourists driving home or back to their hotels. Whether you are local to the area or visiting from out-of-state, being arrested for drunk driving in Sonoma County is a traumatic experience.

You have probably already spent some time in jail, had your car towed, and maybe missed a flight back home. You have also been given notice that your California driving privileges will be suspended by the Department of Motor Vehicles in 30 days (unless you request a DMV administrative hearing within the 10-day window). You know you need a lawyer to help mitigate the circumstances, but you are not sure how to choose the best DUI lawyer for your case in Santa Rosa.

What to Watch Out For

Keep in mind that when you are charged for DUI in Sonoma County, your arrest becomes part of the public record. This means you will receive numerous mailings from slick marketers. In reality, most attorneys that engage in these marketing practices do not personally handle your case. Instead, they hand it off to an inexperienced lawyer who will do very little to help you.

If you look online, you will find numerous "pay to play" badges and certificates that are meaningless and designed to make a lawyer or firm look far more accomplished than they truly are. For example, you may see a claim such as "recognized as a top 1% trial lawyer" or something similar. There is usually no valid basis for this type of claim.

Another popular scam is to claim something like "we get cases dismissed for 99% of our clients." In a typical case, the defendant faces two criminal charges: driving under the influence of alcohol and driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .08 or above. If the defendant pleads guilty to one of the two charges, the other one is almost always dismissed. So while the aforementioned statement may be technically true, it means very little in regards to the attorney's track record and their ability to help their client successfully defend the charges they are facing.

Questions to Ask a DUI Lawyer

The best way to judge a DUI attorney is by their actual credentials and reputation. Here is a series of questions to ask to find the best lawyer for your case:

1. What is your Martindale-Hubbell™ rating?

The highest rating an attorney can obtain from Martindale-Hubbell™ is A-V. Lawyers with this rating have demonstrated a high level of competence and ethical practice.

2. How long have you been practicing in Sonoma County?

Your attorney should have in-depth knowledge of the Sonoma County DUI process, how to negotiate with prosecutors, and the most effective defense strategies to secure a positive result. Don't buy into the "Combined Experience of 20-plus Years"--ask the lawyer how long he or she has personally been practicing DUI defense!

3. Are you Board-Certified by the National College of DUI Defense (NCDD), as approved by the American Bar Association (ABA)?

Board-Certification by the NCDD (as approved by the ABA) is awarded to a select group of attorneys across the country. In fact, only five attorneys in all of California have this distinction. Lawyers who are Board-Certified have demonstrated a high level of experience, knowledge, and competency defending individuals charged with DUI.

4. Do you handle each case personally, or do you pass them off to associates?

Some firms give DUI cases to inexperienced associates who will not provide the skilled representation you need to effectively handle your case. Be sure that the attorney you speak with is the one who will represent you in court and at DMV administrative hearings.

5. How often do you take cases to trial?

There are many DUI attorneys who have very little trial experience. This makes it difficult for them to negotiate the best deal for you, because prosecutors know they will likely never try the case. Choose a lawyer who has a proven track record of success bringing cases to trial.

Speak with a Skilled Santa Rosa DUI Defense Lawyer

For over 30 years, attorney Paul Burglin has successfully represented clients charged for DUI in Sonoma County. Attorney Burglin is the only lawyer in the Bay Area who is Board-Certified by the National College of DUI Defense (NCDD), as approved by the ABA. He is also a Regent for the NCDD and Editor-in-Chief of its National Journal.

Paul Burglin co-authors California Drunk Driving Law, a two-volume legal guide with hundreds of creative and decision-based legal defenses, authoritative case interpretations, and answers to most questions that arise regarding DUI defense. His depth of experience and successful track record are major reasons he is frequently sought out by judges, prosecutors, and DMV hearing officers when someone close to them is in legal trouble for DUI.

For a discreet and confidential consultation with attorney Paul Burglin, contact us at 707-320-4007 today. We serve clients arrested in Santa Rosa, as well as the cities, towns, and unincorporated areas of Sonoma County.

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