Memorial Day for Delaware Lawyers
Memorial Day weekend is just a few short days away. The boardwalk, the beach, the smell of the ocean and Thrasher’s French fries, crowds, sunburns and all those things we associate with the first weekend of summer will be upon us. Unfortunately, along with all the pleasant experiences, there are also some things we hope to avoid on Memorial day weekend at the beach; traffic tickets, noise complaints, DUI, disorderly conduct and drunk in public are some of the more unpleasant that many will experience this weekend. Far too many have learned the hard way about the Delaware saying “Came down on vacation, left on probation”.
Most Delaware lawyers who work in the criminal and traffic courts, particularly in eastern Sussex County, receive a spike in phone calls the week after Memorial Day weekend which continues throughout the summer. For the minor offenses, the phone call typically begins with, “I don’t know if I need a lawyer…..” and ends with “if I just pay the fine, will I have a criminal record?” Because the answer to the second question is invariably, yes, you will have a criminal record, the response to the first inquiry is yes, you do need a lawyer. For the more serious offenses, the question becomes “If I don’t know a lawyer in Delaware, how do I know who to hire?” The answer to that question is often more who NOT to hire. You don’t want to hire the attorney who did your neighbor’s real estate closing to handle your traffic ticket, DUI or disorderly conduct charge.
While your friendly real estate lawyer may be a great transaction lawyer, criminal and traffic charges are a different animal. You want to find a lawyer who has experience negotiating the ins and outs of the court system and who knows how to put even your simple traffic ticket in the best position to cause you the least headache. For more serious matters, you want to put yourself in the best position to defend yourself and minimize or eliminate the consequences of a criminal conviction.
Luckily, Sussex County has several excellent criminal defense and traffic law attorneys. To determine the best one for you, review their websites, asks your friends and most importantly talk to the attorney. Ask them questions about their experience, how they intend to address your case, what are your responsibilities and what are the attorney’s responsibilities? Simply talking to the attorney and asking them questions, even if you can only talk to them on the phone, will often let you know whether you feel comfortable with that lawyer and whether they will be responsive to the needs of your case.
As you would with other important decisions, when you hire an attorney, do your homework. If you have any questions contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 302-855-9300 in Sussex County or 302-697-2499 for Kent and New Castle County.
Ron Phillips has been a lifeguard for 35 years and a surfer for 37. In his spare time, he moonlights as an attorney and is a partner in the law firm of Murray Phillips & Gay. You can email Ron by clicking here.