No one condones DUI; however, the legislative intent is one which clearly allows persons to consume alcohol or marijuana and drive as long as they are not affected (under the influence). Unfortunately, the government has taken the position that somehow the legislature, even with the .08 and 5.0 ng limits, really meant that our state is a no-tolerance state and nothing could be further from the truth. This is why I vigilantly represent persons charged with a Washington State DUI (or BUI - operating a vessel under the influence).
Listen, anyone can find themselves charged with a DUI, I have seen Supreme Court Justices, Members of Congress, Judges, Prosecutors, DUI Attorneys, multi-millionaire celebrities and sports figures arrested for DUI. It happens! It happens because sometimes it is hard to gauge our abilities after we drink and believe it or not sometimes cops are mistaken about what they see, especially when they simply smell one beer on your breath! I have to remind juries about this fact all the time, it is not against the law in any state to consume alcoholic beverages and drive, you are only breaking the law if you are "under the influence or affected by" what you consumed or are over the legal limit within two hours of being stopped. That's why I'm here, to help you when you find yourself in this situation.
If you have been arrested for a DUI anywhere in Washington State, it is important that you retain knowledgeable representation from a truly experienced, recognized Seattle DUI Attorney. That being said, one of the most difficult challenges you initially face is the prospect of locating and selecting a "DUI" attorney from within the vast array of websites, blogs, search engine ads, letters sent to your home (yes, some attorneys use this tactic, I do not!) and other solicitations. It may be uncomfortable to candidly ask for assistance from family and friends in your efforts to locate a skilled Washington State DUI attorney and you may feel it is necessary to initiate a search on your own using the internet.
Know this, anyone can be "number 1" on Google search results for "DUI attorney" if they are willing to pay enough, it does not mean, by any stretch of the imagination, they are an experienced DUI attorney, all it means is they are willing to shell out thousands of dollars a month for advertising or SEO (search engine optimization).
Keep in mind if you have been personally referred to an attorney who primarily practices Seattle DUI Defense, that may be a highly significant factor in assessing the skill, experience, and reputation of the particular attorney or firm and is something you should take into consideration when deciding who to retain. I know this is an "old-school" approach, but personal recommendations are better than throwing a dart at a computer screen! Seattle DUI charges are serious and you need true trial tested DUI experience, not Internet savvy, on your side!
Of course, one of the many pieces of information you want to gather from one of the numerous DUI defense attorneys or firms is the number of DUI cases they have handled and their familiarity with the numerous statutes and administrative codes in Washington State. That is, do they truly know Seattle DUI Defense?
Another highly crucial piece of information you need to obtain is the attorney's knowledge of the BAC DataMaster (the "breathalyzer" used in Washington State) if you submitted to a test as well as how the blood testing procedures work at the Washington State Toxicology Lab. I always subpoena the blood test results in every DUI blood draw case (alcohol, THC, drug, etc.), some so-called DUI attorneys don't even know how to do that or what those results are as they have never seen them - simply amazing! You would also want to know that if you refused (or were alleged to have refused) a breath test how that would affect your liberty and driving privileges.
Additionally many alleged "experienced" Washington State DUI Attorneys have never, I repeat never tried a DUI case in front of a jury, much less won one. I have, many times! Ask any potential attorney, "when was the last time you received a Not Guilty verdict in a DUI case?" You may be surprised at the answer.
Also, if your supposed "experienced" DUI attorney hasn't had a DUI dismissed on the merits via argument then they are not truly experienced (I don't mean a deferred prosecution - make sure you ask them because any attorney can get a dismissal this way - they just convince you to enter into alcohol treatment, file paperwork and then brag they "got a dismissal for a DUI client," don't be fooled, ask! Now, that being said, sometimes a deferred prosecution will be applicable to your case, I'm just making the point that if the attorney you are interviewing only has dismissals based upon a deferred prosecution, they haven't really been in the trenches). The kind of dismissal I mean is a dismissal via argument to a judge after cross-examining an officer/trooper. If you are interviewing an attorney and they have never received such a ruling, then they are not truly experienced.
During your interview with a potential DUI attorney, ask them, "when is the last case you had dismissed at an evidentiary/motions hearing?" and then ask for the case number. Many many so-called "experienced DUI attorneys" have NEVER accomplished this feat. Why, they are more interested in turn-over of clients than fighting for them. More likely they are working at a firm trying to "cut their teeth" (get experience) with your case or are running a big DUI firm, shuffling cases off to associates after making outrageous promises (I've seen this first-hand). Do you want someone learning on your dime?
New "Seattle DUI" Lawyers pop up all the time in search engines with very clever, nice looking wesites, but the true measure of a Seattle DUI attorney is very simply RESULTS, the Webb Law Firm has delivered unparalleled Seattle DUI results.
If you choose to search through websites trying to find a Seattle DUI Lawyer, it may be helpful to know that all lawyers are bound by a strict set of Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) which govern appropriate advertising campaigns and limits. I recently saw an ad stating "Best DUI Dismissal Rate in Seattle," in my opinion, that is a violation of ethics in advertising. That attorney has no idea how he or she stacks up to all other results in Seattle DUI cases, it is simply hyperbole. For example: RPC 7.1 states:
Seattle DUI defense "attorneys are held to strict standards and shall not make a false or misleading communication about the lawyer or the lawyer's services. A communication is false or misleading if it contains a material misrepresentation of fact or law, or omits a fact necessary to make the statement considered as a whole not materially misleading."
Furthermore, RPC 7.3 (a) states: A DUI lawyer shall not directly or through a third person, by in-person, live telephone, or real-time electronic contact solicit professional employment from a prospective client when a significant motive for the lawyer's doing so is the lawyer's pecuniary gain...
So, certainly direct phone calls and email contact offering representation from a Seattle DUI attorney on your DUI charge is a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct. Undoubtedly you may be concerned with the cost of DUI representation in Washington State, but take to heart these facts to put your hiring decision in perspective and keep these helpful tips in mind:
a) The lowest quoted fee/bid may not necessarily be in your best interest when selecting a Washington State DUI Lawyer: the DataMaster ("breathalyzer" you may have blown in to) when originally introduced in Washington State was selected because its original manufacturer, Verax, underbid the competition by thirty percent even though the State Patrol's own research showed that another machine "performed superior to the rest." So, consider that the experience, skill, and knowledge of DUI laws and cases in Washington are how the attorney bases his or her fee. All the time I have people call me just to ask what my fee is, not how many years I've been practicing or if I have ever had a case dismissed on the merits. Do you want someone representing you who is charging the least amount of money or do you want experience, skill, advocacy, and persuasiveness in the courtroom?
b) A DUI conviction cannot be expunged in Washington (i.e. it will remain on your record).
c) You will be denied entry into Canada if you have a DUI conviction and will not be eligible to even apply for "rehabilitation" for entry into Canada until after 5 years have elapsed since all sentences related to the charge have been satisfied.
d) Reputation is key: prosecutors, judges and even Washington State Troopers and Police Officers who respect an attorney or firm can go a long way when deciding on whom to hire. So ask a judge, police officer or other attorney what they think of the Seattle DUI attorney you are considering retaining; who better to ask for a referral.
Nate Webb, understands your anxiousness and can appreciate your circumstance. Contact me and see what I have to offer, I'm sure you will feel comfortable and confident with my DUI representation.