Most of these cases are going to start out in what we call General Sessions Court. The first appearance is called an initial appearance where the judge conducts an arraignment. At an arraignment the judge determines whether or not you’re going to plead guilty or not guilty and whether you are going to hire an attorney, ask the court to appoint you an attorney, or represent yourself pro se. At this point it is perfectly acceptable to enter a plea of not guilty. Most people believe that if they do not have an attorney at this initial appearance, the court is going to punish them. Often times the initial appearance is set very soon after arrest. If you are able to find an attorney in that short amount of time, I would question the attorney’s workload.
I recommend that a person take a reasonable amount of time and interview and investigate several attorneys before hiring one. I find later that sometimes people pay more for representation in a DUI case then they should. I cannot compare my legal services to that of another attorney. However, it is disturbing that people often associate the amount of the retainer fee to results when it is generally impossible to predict the future and what will happen in any given DUI and its fact pattern. I really think it’s important that the person be comfortable with the attorney who is representing them.
In any case, the representation is about the client. I tell my prospective clients and clients that it’s not about me; it’s about you. If you don’t think I’m the right person to be representing you, it’s not personal. I would like to know and I would like for you to tell me so that I can then ask what would make it different.
I try to represent my clients the way that I would want to be represented. I try to give the services and representation that I would want, I would want for my child, my wife or another loved one. I go above and beyond.