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12 Very Good Questions To Ask Every San Diego DUI Attorney

The Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring Any DUI Attorney to Represent Your San Diego Driving Under the Influence Case. NOTE: We urge you to print this page and use it as a questionnaire when you are interviewing prospective law firms. Click here for a printable version of the checklist.
1. Is your firm an Exclusive DUI Defense Firm?

DUI San Diego, LLP has been an exclusive DUI Firm from its inception. The San Diego Union Tribune DUI San Diego the “absolute gold standard” for DUI defense in San Diego County. DUI cases are complex and require an attorney to be knowledgeable about the area of law and to work diligently to get results. A DUI is really two cases: the DMV Hearing and the Criminal Court. Unlike many other firms that will accept murder, drug, or other cases, DUI San Diego is an exclusive DUI practice and will not be distracted with other types of criminal or civil cases.

2. Are you ever asked to teach other lawyers how to properly defend DUI Cases?

Mr. Casey has been invited by numerous organizations of attorneys to address their members. They have done so locally, statewide and nationally. They have both been asked by the San Diego Public Defender’s Office to teach their deputy public defenders how to properly defend a DUI case, and continue to do so.

3. Are you on the teaching faculty for the prestigious National College for DUI Defense?

Cole Casey is one of only five (5) California attorneys, and the only San Diego attorney ever to hold a seat on the teaching faculty for the prestigious National College for DUI Defense (NCDD) held at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. A list of California attorneys who serve as NCDD faculty members can be viewed here. The NCDD is the oldest and most prestigious DUI Defense educational entity in the world, providing training and seminars to DUI attorneys nationwide. The NCDD only invites the most respected, skilled, and knowledgeable attorneys to be on the teaching faculty, as their mission is that of teaching other attorneys how to defend DUI cases. In fact, an attorney may only be a member of the teaching faculty if they have first lectured to the student body at an NCDD conference within the last two years.

4. Have you ever been invited to teach at National College for DUI Defense Conferences?

Cole Casey is the only San Diego DUI Defense attorneys that have been asked to speak/teach at NCDD conferences. Mr. Casey was asked to speak at NCDD conferences because of their experience and proficiency in the very specific field of DUI Defense. Mr. Casey has spoken at numerous NCDD conferences, has conducted workshops for lawyers from all over the United States, and he most recently spoke at the NCDD 2014 Winter Session.

5. Have you been selected as one of San Diego’s Top Attorneys by the San Diego Daily Transcript?

G. Cole Casey has been selected as Top Attorneys in San Diego by their peers right here in San Diego. Both have been listed in the San Diego Daily Transcript, San Diego’s legal publication, as such. Once again, they are the only San Diego attorneys specializing in DUI Defense that have ever been selected for this honor.

6. Have you been designated a Super Lawyer?

Only the top 5% of attorneys in each state are selected for inclusion in the Super Lawyers registry. G. Cole Casey has been named a Super Lawyer, and is the only lawyer in San Diego who specializes in DUI defense to receive this honor.

7. Have you been named the Best of the Bar by the San Diego Business Journal?

G. Cole Casey was designated as the “Best of the Bar” by the San Diego Business Journal in it’s inaugural selection process in 2014 and 2015. Once again, he is the only San Diego attorney specializing in DUI defense to have been awarded this prestigious honor.

8. Are you a “Specialist Member” of the California DUI Lawyers Association (CDLA)?

The CDLA designated G. Cole Casey as a “Specialist Member” because of his extensive experience, skill and expertise in the area of DUI Defense. The CDLA designates only certain members to be specialist members because of their recognition and most importantly their results in defending DUI cases. Mr. Casey served on the Board of Directors for the CDLA for 7 years.

9. How many active cases are you currently handling?

A common rule of thumb is that no individual law firm should be handling over 30 cases per lawyer at any given time. That is the upper limit. So, a solo lawyer should have no more than 30 cases. A two-lawyer firm should have no more than 60, and so on.

IMPORTANT: Most solo practitioner DUI lawyers run what is called a “volume” practice. It is very common to see these lawyers in the San Diego courts with 10 or more cases on calendar at a time, every day of the week. In reality, they take virtually every case that comes through the door, whether they can actually help the client or not, whether the client needs their services or not, and they typically charge a low fee that is representative of the amount of time they actually expect to spend working on the case. In fact, with regularity they use what are called “contract attorneys” or “appearance attorneys” to help them deal with the large volume of cases they have. Contract attorneys are not employees of the attorney, and will know nothing about your case at all. Rather, they are usually young, inexperienced lawyers hungry for any time in court, and typically will appear on a lawyer’s behalf, working for many lawyers at once, for a fee of around $50.00 per appearance. Their role is simply to be a warm body showing up in court, to fulfill the most basic obligation of the lawyer (just showing up) and nothing more.

DUI San Diego, LLP never, under any circumstances, use contract attorneys or appearance attorneys.

10. How many DUI Trials have you done as a defense attorney?

Many so-called DUI lawyers attempt to create the illusion of their proficiency as a DUI trial lawyer by telling you how many DUI trials they have done. They may also tell you that they spent a brief stint as a prosecutor and prosecuted DUI cases. Please be aware that trying a DUI case as a prosecutor is a far different thing than doing so as a defense attorney. As a prosecutor, you are provided with all of your necessary witnesses, everything is prepared for you, you are given a script to follow, and you know that there is always an inherent bias by jurors against a DUI defendant. A prosecutor, after reviewing the evidence and hearing the testimony, always has the power to reduce charges, or completely dismiss a case if the evidence just isn’t there for them. So, prosecutors are usually trying only those cases that are solid and easy victories for them. Therefore, a prosecutor should never lose a DUI trial. Ever.

However, trying and winning a DUI case as a defense lawyer requires an entirely different skill set. It requires creativity, tenacity, and an ability to get a jury to overcome their inherent disdain for someone who drank and drove. The defense does not have built in law enforcement witnesses, investigators, and expert witnesses from the local crime lab. The defense attorney must build a new trial team for each individual case, and build that team based on the evidence of each client’s unique situation. Only attorneys who have mastered this, with results readily available, can call themselves true “DUI Trial Lawyers.” Yet, many lawyers will advertise that they have done a certain number of trials, and won most of them, when in reality most of those trials and wins were done while they were a prosecutor. This is very misleading and should be clarified with the attorney up front.

So, ask any lawyer you meet with exactly how many DUI trials they have done as a defense lawyer.

11. Of the DUI cases you have taken to trial, as a defense lawyer, how many have you actually won?

Again, many so-called DUI trial lawyers may tell you they have tried 40, 50, even 100 DUI trials. That’s impressive, until of course the follow up question has been asked as to how many they actually won. How many resulted in full acquittals, (meaning Not Guilty ALL charges)?

In a typical DUI trial, there are 2 charges brought by the prosecution. They will charge violations of both Vehicle Code section 23152(a), which is “driving under the influence of alcohol” and 23152(b), which is driving with a .08 BAC or greater. These are two separate charges, and a DUI jury is asked to reach verdicts on both counts individually. This means a jury can find a DUI defendant Guilty of both, Not Guilty of both, or Guilty on one charge while Not Guilty on the other.

Sadly, many lawyers will mislead the public by proclaiming they achieved something like “.12 BAC—Not Guilty !!” Be careful here. What that typically means is that the jury found the driver Not Guilty on one of the 2 charges, but Guilty on the other. Be advised, this is still a Guilty verdict. The driver still ends up with a full-blown DUI conviction.

Until you see “Not Guilty ALL CHARGES,” you are not seeing a win by the defense. You are seeing a half-truth, and more importantly, a conviction for DUI. Please visit our Case Results page. Please, match them up against any firm in San Diego County.

12. Do you have an A+ rating with the San Diego Better Business Bureau?

DUI San Diego has consistently been rated A+ with the Better Business Bureau because we strive to give clients not only the best result possible, but we also focus on providing excellent service and communication as well. Just as any other business, if the attorney you are speaking to is not rated or is rated below an A+, you should ask why not.

Note: If the attorney or firm you are speaking with is unable to answer any of these questions, then you are not speaking with a firm that is qualified to defend you in your DUI case.

12 Very Good Questions To Ask Every San Diego DUI Attorney

The Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring Any DUI Attorney to Represent Your San Diego Driving Under the Influence Case. NOTE: We urge you to print this page and use it as a questionnaire when you are interviewing prospective law firms. Click here for a printable version of the checklist.
1. Is your firm an Exclusive DUI Defense Firm?

DUI San Diego, LLP has been an exclusive DUI Firm from its inception. The San Diego Union Tribune DUI San Diego the “absolute gold standard” for DUI defense in San Diego County. DUI cases are complex and require an attorney to be knowledgeable about the area of law and to work diligently to get results. A DUI is really two cases: the DMV Hearing and the Criminal Court. Unlike many other firms that will accept murder, drug, or other cases, DUI San Diego is an exclusive DUI practice and will not be distracted with other types of criminal or civil cases.

2. Are you ever asked to teach other lawyers how to properly defend DUI Cases?

Mr. Casey has been invited by numerous organizations of attorneys to address their members. They have done so locally, statewide and nationally. They have both been asked by the San Diego Public Defender’s Office to teach their deputy public defenders how to properly defend a DUI case, and continue to do so.

3. Are you on the teaching faculty for the prestigious National College for DUI Defense?

Cole Casey is one of only five (5) California attorneys, and the only San Diego attorney ever to hold a seat on the teaching faculty for the prestigious National College for DUI Defense (NCDD) held at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. A list of California attorneys who serve as NCDD faculty members can be viewed here. The NCDD is the oldest and most prestigious DUI Defense educational entity in the world, providing training and seminars to DUI attorneys nationwide. The NCDD only invites the most respected, skilled, and knowledgeable attorneys to be on the teaching faculty, as their mission is that of teaching other attorneys how to defend DUI cases. In fact, an attorney may only be a member of the teaching faculty if they have first lectured to the student body at an NCDD conference within the last two years.

4. Have you ever been invited to teach at National College for DUI Defense Conferences?

Cole Casey is the only San Diego DUI Defense attorneys that have been asked to speak/teach at NCDD conferences. Mr. Casey was asked to speak at NCDD conferences because of their experience and proficiency in the very specific field of DUI Defense. Mr. Casey has spoken at numerous NCDD conferences, has conducted workshops for lawyers from all over the United States, and he most recently spoke at the NCDD 2014 Winter Session.

5. Have you been selected as one of San Diego’s Top Attorneys by the San Diego Daily Transcript?

G. Cole Casey has been selected as Top Attorneys in San Diego by their peers right here in San Diego. Both have been listed in the San Diego Daily Transcript, San Diego’s legal publication, as such. Once again, they are the only San Diego attorneys specializing in DUI Defense that have ever been selected for this honor.

6. Have you been designated a Super Lawyer?

Only the top 5% of attorneys in each state are selected for inclusion in the Super Lawyers registry. G. Cole Casey has been named a Super Lawyer, and is the only lawyer in San Diego who specializes in DUI defense to receive this honor.

7. Have you been named the Best of the Bar by the San Diego Business Journal?

G. Cole Casey was designated as the “Best of the Bar” by the San Diego Business Journal in it’s inaugural selection process in 2014 and 2015. Once again, he is the only San Diego attorney specializing in DUI defense to have been awarded this prestigious honor.

8. Are you a “Specialist Member” of the California DUI Lawyers Association (CDLA)?

The CDLA designated G. Cole Casey as a “Specialist Member” because of his extensive experience, skill and expertise in the area of DUI Defense. The CDLA designates only certain members to be specialist members because of their recognition and most importantly their results in defending DUI cases. Mr. Casey served on the Board of Directors for the CDLA for 7 years.

9. How many active cases are you currently handling?

A common rule of thumb is that no individual law firm should be handling over 30 cases per lawyer at any given time. That is the upper limit. So, a solo lawyer should have no more than 30 cases. A two-lawyer firm should have no more than 60, and so on.

IMPORTANT: Most solo practitioner DUI lawyers run what is called a “volume” practice. It is very common to see these lawyers in the San Diego courts with 10 or more cases on calendar at a time, every day of the week. In reality, they take virtually every case that comes through the door, whether they can actually help the client or not, whether the client needs their services or not, and they typically charge a low fee that is representative of the amount of time they actually expect to spend working on the case. In fact, with regularity they use what are called “contract attorneys” or “appearance attorneys” to help them deal with the large volume of cases they have. Contract attorneys are not employees of the attorney, and will know nothing about your case at all. Rather, they are usually young, inexperienced lawyers hungry for any time in court, and typically will appear on a lawyer’s behalf, working for many lawyers at once, for a fee of around $50.00 per appearance. Their role is simply to be a warm body showing up in court, to fulfill the most basic obligation of the lawyer (just showing up) and nothing more.

DUI San Diego, LLP never, under any circumstances, use contract attorneys or appearance attorneys.

10. How many DUI Trials have you done as a defense attorney?

Many so-called DUI lawyers attempt to create the illusion of their proficiency as a DUI trial lawyer by telling you how many DUI trials they have done. They may also tell you that they spent a brief stint as a prosecutor and prosecuted DUI cases. Please be aware that trying a DUI case as a prosecutor is a far different thing than doing so as a defense attorney. As a prosecutor, you are provided with all of your necessary witnesses, everything is prepared for you, you are given a script to follow, and you know that there is always an inherent bias by jurors against a DUI defendant. A prosecutor, after reviewing the evidence and hearing the testimony, always has the power to reduce charges, or completely dismiss a case if the evidence just isn’t there for them. So, prosecutors are usually trying only those cases that are solid and easy victories for them. Therefore, a prosecutor should never lose a DUI trial. Ever.

However, trying and winning a DUI case as a defense lawyer requires an entirely different skill set. It requires creativity, tenacity, and an ability to get a jury to overcome their inherent disdain for someone who drank and drove. The defense does not have built in law enforcement witnesses, investigators, and expert witnesses from the local crime lab. The defense attorney must build a new trial team for each individual case, and build that team based on the evidence of each client’s unique situation. Only attorneys who have mastered this, with results readily available, can call themselves true “DUI Trial Lawyers.” Yet, many lawyers will advertise that they have done a certain number of trials, and won most of them, when in reality most of those trials and wins were done while they were a prosecutor. This is very misleading and should be clarified with the attorney up front.

So, ask any lawyer you meet with exactly how many DUI trials they have done as a defense lawyer.

11. Of the DUI cases you have taken to trial, as a defense lawyer, how many have you actually won?

Again, many so-called DUI trial lawyers may tell you they have tried 40, 50, even 100 DUI trials. That’s impressive, until of course the follow up question has been asked as to how many they actually won. How many resulted in full acquittals, (meaning Not Guilty ALL charges)?

In a typical DUI trial, there are 2 charges brought by the prosecution. They will charge violations of both Vehicle Code section 23152(a), which is “driving under the influence of alcohol” and 23152(b), which is driving with a .08 BAC or greater. These are two separate charges, and a DUI jury is asked to reach verdicts on both counts individually. This means a jury can find a DUI defendant Guilty of both, Not Guilty of both, or Guilty on one charge while Not Guilty on the other.

Sadly, many lawyers will mislead the public by proclaiming they achieved something like “.12 BAC—Not Guilty !!” Be careful here. What that typically means is that the jury found the driver Not Guilty on one of the 2 charges, but Guilty on the other. Be advised, this is still a Guilty verdict. The driver still ends up with a full-blown DUI conviction.

Until you see “Not Guilty ALL CHARGES,” you are not seeing a win by the defense. You are seeing a half-truth, and more importantly, a conviction for DUI. Please visit our Case Results page. Please, match them up against any firm in San Diego County.

12. Do you have an A+ rating with the San Diego Better Business Bureau?

DUI San Diego has consistently been rated A+ with the Better Business Bureau because we strive to give clients not only the best result possible, but we also focus on providing excellent service and communication as well. Just as any other business, if the attorney you are speaking to is not rated or is rated below an A+, you should ask why not.

Note: If the attorney or firm you are speaking with is unable to answer any of these questions, then you are not speaking with a firm that is qualified to defend you in your DUI case.