Questions to Ask Before You Hire a DUI Lawyer

“Were you ever a DUI prosecutor?”

As Sun Tzu says in the Art of War, “Know Your Enemy.” In a Tampa DUI case, that may mean that you want your lawyer to have significant DUI prosecution experience, so they can anticipate what your prosecutor will try to do during trial.

The truth is that prosecution experience may not make a huge difference in your case. Just because your lawyer worked in the same office as the prosecutor handling your case, it doesn’t mean that the prosecutor is going to hand you a “Get Out of Jail Free” card. This isn’t some third-world country, and the system doesn’t work that like that.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a benefit to hiring a lawyer who has been a DUI prosecutor. For example, if your DUI lawyer has some significant DUI prosecution experience, they may better anticipate the prosecutor’s strategies during the trial and pre-trial negotiations. Your Tampa DUI lawyer may even have attended the same training programs as the prosecutor handling your case or have access to the same training materials.

In Florida, prosecutors’ primary DUI training program is the weeklong “DUI Trial Advocacy School,” sponsored by the Florida Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor program. This program includes lectures on legal updates and courtroom issues and a hands-on workshop covering every aspect of a DUI trial, from jury selection to closing argument. The Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor program also provides training on vehicular homicide and DUI manslaughter cases, pre-trial motion practice, and information on DUI expert witnesses.

Ask your Tampa DUI attorney if they attended one of these DUI Schools and when. If you’re lucky, you may even find one of the former prosecutors who taught at the training program the prosecutor attended, which can affect the dynamics of pre-trial negotiations and trial. (Think about how confident the Karate Kid would feel if he was scheduled to fight Mr. Miyagi. Not very, right?)

The other benefit of being a former prosecutor is that your Tampa DUI lawyer may have some insider knowledge that allows them to recognize the symptoms of office problems and pressures that can often affect plea negotiations and trial decisions. Some of these intangible issues are obvious to outsiders, but many are only recognizable to fellow “insiders” who have walked the same walk as the prosecutor.

Workload stress, shifting caseloads, vacation plans, case preparation problems, witness coordination problems, pressure from supervisors, training issues (or lack thereof), intern problems, reporting requirements, third-party pressures, recent win-loss records, and other factors can all be turned into a competitive advantage, but only if your attorney recognizes the symptoms.

If your Tampa DUI lawyer advertises that they are a “former prosecutor,” you should ask them how long they prosecuted and where. Not all former prosecutors are equal. After only 2 or 3 years, most prosecutors leave the office with just a tiny amount of experience under their belts. Others may have handled thousands of cases and taken dozens of serious felony cases to trial. Some leave the office because they planned to become defense attorneys, some leave for financial reasons, and others leave because they were fired for being awful lawyers. Make sure you ask the lawyer when they left the prosecutor’s office and why. Hardly anyone ever asks so the answer may surprise you.

At the Wilcox Law Firm, you’ll be working with a Tampa DUI defense attorney who has a unique insight into the prosecutor’s game plan. I know what prosecutors will try to do because not only did I attend their training, I was the one who trained them!

For almost a decade, I served on the faculty of every DUI Trial Advocacy School, training thousands of prosecutors (including many who are now local DUI defense lawyers) on what to do in trial. With this knowledge, not only can I anticipate what the prosecutor will try to do in your case, but I can also identify those intangible issues that we may be able to turn into a competitive advantage to help your case. 

To contact a former prosecutor who can help you with your Tampa DUI case, call (813) 940-4300 TODAY.

NEXT STEP: Schedule an Appointment to Discuss Your Case

If you’ve been arrested for DUI, no matter how bad the case looks, do NOT plead guilty without talking to a lawyer specializing in DUI defense. It may be possible to get your charges reduced (maybe even dismissed), but you’ll never know unless you talk to a DUI expert.

DUI cases are serious, with penalties harsher penalties than many felony cases. Additionally, the “hidden cost” of DUI insurance can easily easily cost you $30,000, $40,000, even $50,000! (Good news: You can avoid almost all of that if your DUI lawyer gets the DUI dropped or reduced!)

Many of the issues in DUI cases are extremely time sensitive, so you must act quickly.

If you want your best chance of avoiding a DUI, call an experienced Tampa DUI attorney today.

Tampa DUI Attorney Elliott Wilcox has handled thousands of DUI cases. A member of the National College for DUI Defense, a founding member of the DUI Defense Lawyers Association, and a life member of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Elliott's practice is dedicated exclusively to helping drivers accused of Driving Under the Influence (DUI). To talk with Elliott about your available options to continue driving and avoiding a DUI, schedule a phone appointment or call (813) 940-4300 today!

The Wilcox Law Firm
620 East Twiggs Street, Suite 304
Tampa, Florida 33602

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