By Adam Higgins and Richard Aitken
Narrow the Field
Law is a broad field. Like how one author might focus entirely on the mystery genre for their entire career because that is where their interests and talents are lie, lawyers often practice in a specific niche. The lawyer you hire to help with the sale of your house is unlikely to be the same lawyer who you hire to assist with a child custody hearing or the lawyer you hire to help with tax issues. If you’ve been charged with a DUI, an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada as well as a violation of the Highway Traffic Act of Ontario, the lawyer you’re looking for is a criminal lawyer.
If you’ve been charged with a DUI in Picton, begin narrowing your search by looking for criminal lawyers operating within a reasonable distance of the courthouse your matters will be processed in. What a “reasonable distance” is varies, but lawyers whose offices are within an hour to an hour and a half drive may be a good place to start. Once you’ve found your options you can begin narrowing it down further.
Do Your Homework
Let us say you’ve found a dozen law firms operating in the Picton area, including Belleville and Kingston. You likely won’t have the time and resources to meet with a representative from each, so you’ll need to narrow it down even further. Two ways you can do this are by investigating success stories the firm has published, and by looking at online client reviews. This gives you both the perspective of how the firm won past cases, and how the clients felt about the service they received. Specifically look to see if the firm or clients mention DUIs, this way you can learn more about the firm’s track record with DUI cases.
Through this method you’ll likely be able to remove a few firms from your list. Firms whose reviews aren’t strong, who have little experience with DUIs, or whose reviews simply turn you away, may not be firms you’re interested in meeting within person. Once you’ve shortlisted the firms it’s time for you to meet with them in person.
Meet the Lawyers
Consider reading reviews and past cases like reading a resume. It can be very informative, but you’ll also want to conduct an interview before hiring an employee, to get a feel for their personality. There are thousands of criminal lawyers in Ontario, all of them very different. If you’ll feel comfortable by a lawyer who acts very formal with you, then a lawyer who speaks casually with clients might be discomforting to you.
You’ll want to contact each firm to check if they have options for consultations. For some you may need to go to the firm in person, others might accept a telephone consultation. This will allow you to get the know the lawyer, as well it allows the lawyer to understand your specific case to provide an estimated cost and present you with an idea of how they would proceed, should you hire them. If you’ve shortlisted potential legal counsel well, you should only have a small list going into this part of the process. If one firm has a lawyer with a demeanor that comforts you, demonstrates a clear understanding of DUI defence, and has a price that you’re content with, then you’ve found your firm.
If you’ve been charged with a DUI in Picton, you have the choice to work through Aitken Robertson’s Kingston or Belleville office, whichever is more convenient for you. In fact, our lawyers are comfortable doing a fair amount of communication via telephone, so if travelling out of Picton is difficult for you then you can rest assured you’ll still be in consistent contact with your lawyer.
Aitken Robertson offers a free 30-minute consultation, during which one of our seasoned lawyers will consider the specifics of your case to give you an idea of what you can expect moving forward, both with the process and the fees. Our team has decades of combined experience in handling DUI cases and work together a collective of lawyers, rather than as a group of lawyers working individually. If you’re looking for DUI defence in Picton, contact our offices here so we can begin fighting the charges alongside you as early as possible.