Who is the Best DWI Lawyer in Houston? DWI Lawyers come in all shapes and sizes. The better question is, “Who is the Best DWI Lawyer for you!”.
Let’s talk about the things you need to consider.
You have to consider the experience a lawyer has. It is hard for a lawyer fresh out of law school to have enough cases under their belt to be able to handle any situation. On the other hand, just because a lawyer has 30 years of experience, those years mean nothing if they walk in and suggest that their client’s plea guilty on every case!
There is good experience and there is bad experience. It is important to specifically ask lawyers about their experience with DWI cases. If a 20 year lawyer decides on a whim that they are going to start taking DWIs for the first time in their career, then those 20 years are worthless to you. A good DWI lawyer should be able to explain to you everything that is about to happen before it happens.
Eric Benavides has been a DWI Lawyer since 2008. He has never been a prosecutor, he has been a defense attorney since day 1. Since 2008 he has defended countless individuals on DWI cases. DWI cases are his #1 type of case.
Knowledge of DWI Defense
A criminal lawyer is not the same thing as a DWI lawyer!
DWI is a very specialized area of law. While the concepts of DWI cases are the same to criminal cases, the procedure, and the science make these cases unlike any other cases in criminal law. While a criminal lawyer with experience should be able to handle almost any criminal charge. A criminal lawyer without a deep understanding of DWI cases is worthless to you.
An ALR Hearing is extremely important in your defense! This is a hearing that must be requested within 15 days of your DWI arrest to try to save your license. It is a win/win scenario. If the officers do not show up, you never lose your license. If they do show up, then your attorney has a chance to cross examine them and get a certified record to use against them at your trial. Would you be surprised that most criminal lawyers have no clue how to even request an ALR hearing? If your potential DWI Lawyer doesn’t talk about your ALR Hearing, run the other way.
Your lawyer should also be comfortable talking to you about the science, and about the training they have done to continue to make themselves better in the field of DWI Defense.
Eric Benavides is a member of the National College for DUI Defense, along with the DUI Defense Lawyers Association. He is certified to administer the NHTSA Standard Field Sobriety Tests. By being one of the few lawyers who has taken this certification multiple times, he is one of the few DWI Attorneys who has MORE training than the officers who arrest you. In 2018 he was awarded the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association DWI Trial Warrior Award. The only way a lawyer can get this award is if they qualify by completing at least 5 specialized DWI education programs in a period of 2 years. These 5 seminars are in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, and New Orleans.
Training matters. Not only for the Attorney, but also for you.
DWI Trial Experience
Would you be surprised to know that a very small percentage of DWI Lawyers have more than 3 trials under their belts? There are thousands of lawyers who claim to be DWI Attorneys, but if they have never been in trial, they do not deserve that title.
Eric Benavides is proud to be a trial lawyer. He is in trial multiple times a year fighting for his clients. He has multiple Not Guilty verdicts, and multiple in trial dismissals and suppressions to his name. Not only can he tell you about these case, but he can show you the paperwork.
You need to ask a potential lawyer if they have been to trials, and if they have won trials. If you aren’t sure what their experience is, one good place to do research is through reviews.
You would be shocked at how many individuals hire someone without knowing anything about them. The internet is a powerful tool. Type the Attorneys name into google and read their reviews. The best person to ask about an attorney is someone who has hired this lawyer, someone who has sent people to this lawyer, or another lawyer who has fought in the courtroom alongside this lawyer.
Eric Benavides takes a ton of pride in his work. His reviews reflect that.
The number one complaint about DWI Lawyers outside of the courtroom is communication. If you are putting your life in someone’s hands, the least they can do is answer your questions. Ask an Attorney what type of access you will have to them. If they say only their office number, you better be careful. Sometimes it is hard to get past the secretary.
Eric Benavides believes in being as accessible as possible to all his clients. Every client gets his business card with his office number, cell number, and email. Clients are encouraged to text or call. All messages are responded to in a timely manner. Communication is rule #1.
Size of the Firm
This one is important, and in the DWI world, bigger does not mean better. Another of the top complaints of individuals hiring DWI Lawyers is that once they sign the contract, the case gets assigned to a junior lawyer in the firm. This is likely a lawyer with less experience then the person you thought you were hiring. It is very important to ask this question. Every single court date is crucial. You want the lawyer you hired in court, even if it is not a trial setting. Every chance to talk to the prosecutor matters. If the lawyer with the experience and knowledge isn’t there for you, are you getting the defense you deserve?
Eric Benavides handles all his DWI cases personally. You will not be pushed to a junior associate. Barring some sort of extreme conflict or emergency, Attorney Benavides will be by your side every time you are in court.
Be wary of DWI Lawyers who charge for a consultation on a new case. Believe it or not, there are attorneys who never go to court and make all their money off consultations. These are probably lawyers who know that you likely will not hire them. They would rather get $50 – $200 per person knowing that they are probably wasting everyone’s time.
Eric Benavides never charges for consultations on new cases. If your intent is to find a lawyer for a pending charge, the consultation is always free.
Cost and Your Goals
Lawyer prices are all over the board. You can find a DWI lawyer who will charge you $100 per court date, and you will find another who wont start without a $20,000 retainer.
When asking yourself about lawyer fees you also need to ask, what is your goal on this case. If you don’t care about your criminal record, and your goal is just to save money and plea guilty, then anyone will work for you. The $100 attorney can easily fill out plea paperwork for you and get your case disposed of quickly. What they might not tell you is all the consequences that follow that conviction.
If your goal is to take the case serious (which if you have gotten to this point in the article you obviously are), then you need to review everything on this list and find the attorney that is best for you. You might not be able to afford a DWI Lawyer who is great and charges $10,000 – $15,000. But you might be able to find a great DWI Lawyer who charges less than that and can still give you a great chance of success in your case. It is extremely important to balance the cost of your attorney with the cost of what a DWI conviction would cost you.
Eric Benavides prefers to sit down with all of his clients in person to talk about their particular case. There are situations where a case will cost more, and there are situations where a case will cost less. The number one goal of Attorney Benavides is to figure out a fair fee for everyone. You are encouraged to see our Houston DWI Lawyer cost page which will give you an idea of the possible costs of hiring a lawyer, the costs of being charged with a DWI, and the potential costs after being convicted.
The final, and possibly most important tip in finding the Best DWI Lawyer in Houston for you, is hiring someone who you feel comfortable with.
This is a person who you need to trust, and someone who you need to get a good vibe from. Remember, a DWI case can last anywhere from a few months to a few years! You need to have someone who is going to have your back from day 1 until the case is over.
Eric Benavides makes it a point to get to know each client on a personal level. The more he knows about you as a person, the more he can express who you are to the prosecutors. Sometimes that intimate knowledge can be the difference in a win or a loss.
Who you are as a person matters. You are not just a number, not just a DWI case. You have a family, you have a career, you have a story, and that will never be forgotten at this firm.