If you're been arrested for a DWI, you need to have an adequate defense, which means you need an attorney who is well-versed in New Hampshire DWI law and has experience in DWI defense.
Their practice should focus heavily on DWI defense and not be just one item in a large laundry list of services they are willing to provide. Most good DWI attorneys limit their practice to DWI, other criminal defense cases, and perhaps one or two other standard legal areas. You want someone who will actively help you defend yourself, who has the energy and capability to look at all of your options, and who is not just pencil-whipping your defense while collecting large, unearned fees.
Getting Started: Pull together a list of available DWI attorneys
While you can use the yellow pages or search on the Internet, contacting the New Hampshire Bar Association and paying the small fee for a referral from them may be your best option. If you have a friend who was successfully defended on DWI charges, get a recommendation from him or her. Talk to the court clerks or even a trustworthy police officer about which of the attorneys on your list they would be most likely to trust. Compare the profiles of the attorneys to determine if any of them have had specific training in DWI defense or are involved in any DWI associations.
Consult DWI Attorney Associations
A good DWI attorney will be associated with the National College for DUI Defense, Inc., the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and/or Martindale-Hubbell. A good DWI attorney will also be certified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in an International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) approved field sobriety testing and certified as an Evidentiary Breath Alcohol Technician. These certifications will exemplify that your attorney will be more likely to know when the testing has been appropriately performed and he or she will know all of the weaknesses of particular testing protocols as well.
What it really may come down to in your attorney choice, once you have determined a short list of highly-experienced attorneys, is personality and compatibility. You need to be able to feel trust in your attorney, and you need to have faith in his or her abilities. While there are no guarantees that a good attorney will be able to always defend DWI cases successfully, you should be confident enough to believe that your attorney will find the very best option possible for you and not take an easy way out. Even if you cannot afford the best lawyer in the state, you may be able to work with a partner or associate of the top attorney and still have access to his reputation and expertise.
On this note, if you come across an attorney who makes any kind of promises about getting you off, or if the attorney asks you to be dishonest, lie on the stand, or in any way compromise yourself, DO NOT associate yourself with the attorney.
This post contains excerpts from The DWI Book, the definitive guide to protecting your rights in the face of New Hampshire's tough DWI/DUI laws.
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