“Dump Truck” is what attorneys call other lawyers who only want to dump their clients by quickly pleading them guilty instead of offering a vigorous defense. Unfortunately, there are a number of such lawyers, and they can be spotted in several ways.
Warning signs of a ‘Dump Truck’ lawyer are any attorney who:
• Quickly leads the conversation into a discussion about plea bargaining as the primary focus (unless there are complications with the case which can only be discovered after reviewing the facts of your case). If the attorney is talking about a plea bargain or a deal during the initial consultation or before they have had a chance to review the facts of your case, you may want to consider hiring someone whose goal is not to plead you guilty.
• Promises to get it all taken care of quickly with no appearance by you. One such attorney may advertise “no court appearances, no time off work.” You cannot fight the charges that way. Not surprisingly, his ad also says “low cost.”
• Promises you an outcome. Quality attorneys do not promise, speculate or guarantee outcomes. An attorney, who promises to get you a DWAI, isn’t getting you anything you couldn’t achieve on your own.
• Promises low cost and quality representation. These are two traits that you do not find at the same time. If the attorney is primarily selling himself as a low-fee alternative, it means he is either not well qualified or he will spend little or no time in preparing the case. Far too often, both happen in DUI cases.
• Quotes a low fee over the phone after a very short conversation. He has already decided he will just go through the motions necessary to plea your case. It is reasonable to spend 1 to 1 ½ hours with a reasonable qualified attorney before deciding to hire him. There should not be a fee for this initial consultation. This consultation can be on the phone or even better, in person. Any attorney who is not willing to give you the time you need during the consultation stage will never give your case the time it needs once the check has been cashed.
• Meets you for the first time at court and wants money to be there. This is not representing you. He doesn’t even KNOW WHO YOU ARE OR WHAT YOUR CASE INVOLVES! Your first meeting should be in an office and it should be a detailed investigation into the case. Only then, can the lawyer give an initial evaluation and advise you properly about the next stages that your case should take.
• Charges you a trial fee that is higher than the amount for the preliminary matters. Successful DUI attorneys go to trial. They don’t discourage their clients from going to trial by having an escalated trial fee. If your attorney is charging two or three times more for trial than for the pre-trial matters, you may want to re-consider who you hire. Trial preparation should begin the moment you hire your attorney. Every case needs to be prepared from the start as if it is going to go to trial.
• Operates his/her firm with no office staff and meets you at a restaurant, law library or a virtual office downtown, because he has no actual office. It takes a great deal of preparation to properly defend a DUI case and a lawyer should have staff members to assist not only the lawyer, but you the client when the client calls with a question. Who answers their phones when they are in court and even worse, do you want your lawyer leaving the courtroom during your case to take a cell phone call?
Attorneys are only as good as their staff and you want someone who has surrounded themselves with quality people. You should be assured the attorney and his staff members are capable, willing, and ready to TAKE YOUR CASE TO TRIAL. In any discussion of your case, you deserve to be represented from a position of strength rather than weakness.