Impaired driving is one of the few charges in the Criminal Code that can happen to almost anyone given the right circumstances. Really no one plans on driving while impaired. Things happen, unexpected decisions are made, all resulting in the police becoming involved. Given the consequences of impaired driving, not only loss of licence but the cost of getting it back with reinstatement fees, Back on Track and Interlock costs if convicted, the social stigma of a criminal record and far reaching implications relating to employment and insurance costs, defences need to be explored.
Unlike perhaps a speeding ticket, to defend an impaired driving charge, you need a lawyer. It would be difficult to navigate on your own. Paralegals are not able to represent those charged with a DUI.
HOW SHOULD I DECIDE WHICH LAWYER TO SPEAK TO?
- Ask around. Do you have any family, friends or work colleagues who have ever used a criminal lawyer or know someone who has? That is always a great starting point. Find out what their impression of the lawyer was and whether they would make a favourable referral.
- Go online. Google is a great place to check for reviews. Generally speaking, just like in checking hotel or resort reviews, the more reviews there are, the more accurate the consensus of the reviews will be. Look not only for good reviews but bad ones too. It will give you a better feel for other clients’ experiences with the lawyer. As well, obviously there are reviews sites other than Google, so check them out too;
- Check out the lawyer’s website. Does it contain useful information relating to the sort of charge that you are facing? Are there client testimonials on the website?
- Does the lawyer have a local office so that appointments are convenient for the client?
WHAT SORT OF QUESTIONS SHOULD I BE ASKING THE LAWYER?
In person consultations are always the best I think for both the client and the lawyer, but in the age of social distancing, perhaps it will take place by telephone or Google Hangout or something similar. Be prepared with a list of what you want to ask. You may want to consider asking:
- About the lawyer’s experience. How many similar sorts of cases to yours has the lawyer completed?
- As your charge is that of impaired driving, keep in mind that the law has substantially changed in the last year. To what extent has the lawyer taken recent courses to stay updated? Do they have any unique knowledge in this particular area of law?
- Don’t be shy to talk about money. How much will it cost to retain (hire) the lawyer? Does the lawyer have any idea of what sort of costs will be involved in the file, even if just an early estimate. Once the lawyer has had a chance to review all of the police evidence perhaps a more refined estimate of fees can be given. Does the lawyer expect the entire fee to be paid up front or is there some sort of a reasonable payment plan available? Does the lawyer bill by the more unpredictable method of by the hour or the more client friendly block fee method? Aitken Robertson prides itself with its modest initial retainer, and reasonable no interest monthly payment plan. With our block fees you will know exactly how much your case is going to cost you, in advance. We offer clients an initial 30 minute free consult to get to know us. We accept payments by email transfer, VISA, MasterCard, cash, and personal cheque.
- Are you left with a sense of confidence after speaking with the lawyer?
We would welcome the opportunity of reviewing your situation with you. To book the free 30 minute consult, please call 613-771-7260 or 1-800-668-1657.