Friday, April 11, 2014

Is your cut-rate attorney really doing their job? How did that pricing structure work out for you when all they did was plead you guilty?

I commonly post my successes but I do have cases in which a client is found guilty of the original offense by a jury and I readily admit that, but I simply don't plead people guilty (I can only remember doing this once in the past 5 years because that is what my client requested and it is their choice but I always try and at least put it to a jury).  That being said, I have noticed a strange, scary trend amongst some attorneys/firms.  It is the practice of offering a "pricing structure" or "cut-rate" (for example $1500 for any DUI charge).  Essentially I see these attorneys in court pleading their clients guilty as charged.  I never ever see them at a readiness hearing, the hearing wherein you are telling the court you are ready to go to trial or even at an evidentiary hearing (hearing where you actually cross-exam a cop and argue your case to a judge). 
What these attorneys/firms are "offering" under this pricing structure is to review the client's case and basically give up or tell them, "well this is gonna be a tough case and let's just plead guilty or the prosecutor is going to ask for jail above the minimum penalty."  That is done in an effort to quickly dispose of the case and make an easy buck without actually doing any work.  This is utterly despicable in my opinion.  I wonder if they even really review the case in its entirety to truly look for issues or do they just look at the breath test and tell the client they are screwed?
When I post a victory or dismissal this may seem like I am patting myself on the back, but it is really a notice to those attorneys out there afraid of a challenge.  If you are practicing DUI defense in King County and have not had an evidentiary hearing or trial in the last month, then you are not doing your job!  Attorneys offering "cut-rate" pricing structures to essentially plead people guilty and ask for mercy from the court because they are too chicken s$#t to try a case are cowards only out for money.  That is a disservice to anyone charged with a Seattle DUI and utterly reprehensible in my opinion.  If you don't want to stand up in front of a judge and cross examine cops or to speak to a jury or put forth a defense, then get out of this area of law, you are no good to anyone.  For example, I had a recent case wherein my client was charged with three crimes (DUI, Hit and Run, and Reckless Driving) with an alleged breath test of .211 and .217.  I cross-examined two cops, argued my strongest issues to a judge and they judge found in my client's favor, dismissing all the charge.  Now I know a ton of attorneys who would have done exactly what I did and I respect them and consider them my peers but I also can think of a few that are simply unable to articulate an effective argument to a judge and/or jury and who are basically timid court adverse cowardly attorneys who shouldn't be in this area of law.  Seem harsh?  Not one bit when you consider they sell out clients for monetary gain when the client's liberty could have been saved.  Imagine the client I just mentioned, if that client had hired one of these cut-rate attorneys and they plead him out then he found out he actually had a legitimate challenge to his case, they committed malpractice in my opinion.   
If you are looking for a Seattle DUI Attorney, don't be fooled by these cheap prices being quoted.  The cheap prices are quoted for cheap work.  You deserve a Pit-bull not a Chihuahua, don't be suckered in with clever marketing and high search engine rankings, those mean nothing. If your Seattle DUI Attorney has never had a DUI dismissed after they argued the case in front of a judge then they are inexperienced and you would be better off representing yourself.  If your Seattle DUI lawyer has never won a DUI jury trial, then why would you even hire them, to let them train on your dime? 
Please don't be fooled by clever websites and videos of the so-called experienced attorneys waxing on about DUI defense and the process of hearings, etc. when they wouldn't know the first thing to do in front of a jury and are too afraid to actually be an attorney!  Some attorneys are great at marketing but horrible in the courtroom (or too afraid to actually get into one and do work), which one do you want?       
About the author:
Nathan Webb, is a seasoned Seattle DUI Lawyer.  His practice of 10 years emphasizes DUI defense.  He has been repeatedly recognized as one of Seattle's Best Attorneys! He was recognized as a Top Seattle DUI Attorneys by Seattle Met Magazine, Repeatedly named a Super Lawyer Rising Star in the area of DUI Defense by Washington Law and Politics Magazine, and is Rated Superb for DUI Defense (perfect 10.0 out of 10.0) by