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Hiring an owi lawyer

How do I hire the right attorney to defend me against Wisconsin drunk driving charges? How much will it cost?

hiring a drunk driving defense attorney

Hiring an attorney to represent you on a drunk driving charge isn't difficult; many criminal defense attorneys will take on drunk driving cases upon payment of a retainer for their services. Hiring an attorney who is experienced in defending drunk driving charges, and who will take all of the necessary steps to ensure your best defense possible is much more difficult.


Wisconsin attorneys cannot state that they specialize in or claim certification in any one particular area of law. There are however ways to determine if an attorney holds particular credentials that would indicate that they are much more experienced in defending people against drunk driving charges. Those credentials include:

  1. National College of DUI Defense membership because the NCDD has a limited enrollment that precludes attorneys for their lack of commitment to practicing in DUI defense. Additionally, there are levels of membership that can reveal particular expertise, such as a Board of Regents member, which can only be obtained by appointment by the board. A state delegate must also be appointed.
  2. Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers accepts application from all criminal defense attorneys, so although it does not discriminate those who are not credited with prior DUI defense work, it does evidence a membership that has access to other experienced criminal and drunk driving defense lawyers.
  3. Authorship of books, published articles and other legal papers indicates a distinct expertise.
  4. Lack of disciplinary action. To determine if your attorney has been disciplined, you can visit the Wisconsin State Bar website and conduct a search of their name.


Drunk driving cases are not simply traffic tickets with an additional element - alcohol or drugs. They are very complex cases that can involve medical and technical expertise in addition to expertise in the law. Some of the key aspects of experience include an attorney's past cases, appellate work, classes (taught, as well as taken) in the areas of blood tests, intoximeter's, field sobriety testing and evidence.

case history

Under Wisconsin law, a DUI defense attorney cannot promise results or even indicate that their past results are indicative of future performance. Even so, experience and their results are one of the best indicators to you of the attorney's credentials for a current DUI case.


Attorneys who write and publish articles about drunk driving law and defenses often will not do so unless they are an authority on the subject. Some attorneys however do so for the publicity. One of the tests that you can use is to seek out those who have published articles in legal trade journals such as Wisconsin Defender or other paper periodicals that maintain a knowledgeable editorial staff. Attorneys who author books, particular treatise that are used by other attorneys and judges, are experts in their area of law, and those sources can be relied upon for validating credentials.


Price is often an indicator of years of experience in a particular area of law. There are however those who charge higher prices to cover their advertising costs, as well as those who are very experienced yet charge lesser prices. When determining the attorney to hire, price should not be only factor considered, and it should be considered in the light of the attorney's other credentials.

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