Make your own decision as to whether a gung-ho beginner or a seasoned, experienced professional is best for you. Sometimes passion can outpace experience. But most people want an attorney who has been doing this a while. The firm principal, David Cmelik, has been practicing since 2002 with over 4,250 criminal cases completed. In the end, it's your decision and you should make an informed decision as a legal consumer.
Those seeking an attorney to handle a drunk driving case (OWI, sometimes referred to as DUI or DWI in other States) or other criminal matter often start with a web search. Find a local attorney's website and look carefully at it for the information you need to become an informed legal consumer. Do they communicate an exclusive limitation to the practice of criminal law, offer a primer on the law that snared you or a loved one in a Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Waterloo, or other Iowa arrest? It's important to glean as much information from the local attorney's website before making a call. Avoid non-local websites that purport to catalog the "best" attorneys for Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Such sites might be little more than for-pay sites that prioritize "premium" profiles for attorneys who pay more to be at the top of the list.
After sifting through a law firm website to learn more about a Cedar Rapids, Iowa, attorney, if you or a loved one is comfortable with the information so far gleaned, make a phone call. Is the attorney readily available to discuss the case with you? Or do you have to make an appointment to come in, wade through layers of gatekeepers, paralegals, and receptionists that add to overhead and separate attorneys from clients? You need answers to important questions fast during a time of legal crisis.
An attorney in a criminal law crisis wasn't in the budget this month or even this year. Attorney hourly rates and retainers can vary widely. When contacting a Cedar Rapids, Iowa, OWI attorney who practices exclusively in the area of criminal law, after finding out whether an initial consultation will be free, discuss the criminal charge, in this case, OWI, with the attorney, and whether additional charges have also been leveled against you or a loved one. Find out (1) what his or her hourly rate is; and (2) find out what they will request for a retainer. Calling an attorney up and saying, "what do you cost?" will get you nowhere because the attorney does not have a specific understanding of your case and thus it isn't really the right question. Because Iowa attorneys cannot charge a "contingency" fee in criminal cases, most likely you will be paying an hourly rate and a retainer for services rendered. This retainer may be partially refundable if the case finishes early. Additional fees may be required if the case becomes more protracted than either client or attorney expected. Potential clients who call me universally fail to ask competitors what hourly rate will apply. You owe it to yourself to become an informed legal consumer and know both retainer amount and hourly rates that will apply.