I was at the DMV today for a few administrative license suspension hearings. In between hearings I was speaking with another local dwi lawyer who I respect and would have no problem referring a case to. Also, present was a prosecutor for some State Police cases. He is also a prosecutor I highly respect, as I trust him and he really knows New Hampshire DWI laws and puts together his case very well. (While this does make my job harder, and I certainly lose some cases when he is the prosecutor, I do enjoy knowing that all the work and preparation in defending a dwi case is required as the prosecutor will also be very well prepared). In discussing some past cases, the topic came up about lawyers willing to go to trial, as opposed to pleaing every case. The prosecutor mentioned that myself and the other lawyer present were on his list of lawyers who will take cases to trial.
Having a reputation for going to trial can certainly help out clients. If the prosecutor knows or believes the defense lawyer hates having trials, there is little incentive to make favorable plea offers.
Additionally, actually having trial experience is important if your case does go to trial. Do you want a lawyer who it will be his first actual trial, or one who repeatedly is willing to fight for his clients and make sure the State can prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt?
Finally, even in some cases where you might be found guilty, if the sentence was the same or less after being found guilty, it certainly is worth it to go to trial. A lawyer who handles many similar cases should have a pretty good idea of what you should expect at the time of sentencing, if you are ultimately found guilty.