Do You Need an Outside DUI Lawyer, or a Local Lawyer?
[caption id="attachment_245" align="alignright" width="200"] Attorney Andrew Mishlove
OWI Defense Specialist[/caption]
As the only true (board certified) DUI specialist in Wisconsin, I travel the state defending DUI cases. Of course, after 32 years, I know most of the counties in the state pretty well. I am, however, often asked whether it wouldn't be better to have a local lawyer, especially in a smaller community. There are advantages and disadvantages to a local lawyer, or for that matter, to an outside lawyer.
First, though, let's put some myths to rest.
Myth #1- A local lawyer is not going to be able too "pull strings" because he or she golfs with the DA, or some such thing.
Myth #2 - A local lawyer is not going to be overly friendly with the prosecutor or be afraid to fight for you. Nor is an outside lawyer going to be seen as a carpetbagger, or slickster from the big city.
Most professionals are just that: professionals. What you know is, in fact, more important than who you know.
The fact is, the community of DUI defense lawyers in Wisconsin is relatively small. The good DUI defense lawyers are well-known and well-respected statewide. In fact, I enjoy traveling the smaller outlying counties in the state, where people just seem to be more polite and friendly than in the big city. Most often, I am treated like a visiting dignitary.
What then, are the advantages to a DUI specialist?
First, we have more experience actually fighting DUI cases than most other lawyers. Many lawyers are skilled at plea negotiations, but I, for example, have a history of success defending thousands of DUI cases, and over 250 DUI jury trials. This type of experience is rarely matched by lawyers from smaller communities.
Second, we have specialized training and skill that only a few lawyers possess, such as specialized knowledge of DUI evidence, law, blood test science and breath test science. Very few lawyers, for example, are trained, let alone have a history of success, challenging blood test results.
Some lawyers from small towns may have this knowledge and experience. A general practitioner, or general criminal defense lawyer, however, is less likely have a wealth of experience and training in high-level DUI defense. So, if you are consulting a local lawyer, take care to learn about that lawyer's actual training and experience.
Nevertheless, a local lawyer will have knowledge of the judges, prosecutors and customs of the county, that an outside specialist may lack. This can be important knowledge; especially regarding sentencing options, treatment programs, etc.
The good news is that you can have the best of both worlds.
A good DUI specialist will have excellent consulting relationships with local lawyers. In Wisconsin, we are fortunate to have a supportive and tight-knit network of DUI defense lawyers and criminal defense lawyers, active in WACDL, the Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
We regularly consult each other on local customs and resources, just as many lawyers regularly call me up to ask about DUI law and science. I often associate local lawyers as counsel in my cases; and local lawyers often bring me in as co-counsel to handle the more technical aspects of the case.
Learn more about DUI Defense Specialist Andrew Mishlove.