How Do You Choose A Great Seattle DUI Attorney?
I'm Seattle DUI Attorney, Nate Webb, and in over a decade of practice representing those accused of DUI in Washington State, I see everyday how facing a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge is an extremely intimidating and fearful proposition. The criminal process you face is daunting, confusing, unfair and can seemingly never end. You will inevitably ask yourself, "How do I know who is the right DUI attorney for my case?" Results and Client Reviews are a very good start, but also personally meeting with an attorney can make all the difference in the world. Make sure you also check the attorney's recent DUI results, not results that are ten years old or only reductions from DUI to Reckless Driving or Negligent Driving, but DUI dismissals and Not Guilty DUI verdicts! Those kinds of results are key to showing the experience of your DUI attorney.
What are Normal DUI Fees?
Normal DUI Fees will typically range from $3500 on up for a very good DUI attorney (this range can vary a bit based upon many factors - DUI fees explained). If you see a significantly lower quoted fee, keep in mind the old adage, "there is always someone who can do it cheaper..." Each DUI case is different and it is important for your Seattle DUI Attorney to evaluate every aspect of the charges you face.
I can tell you that many people have come into my office thinking they are in an extremely poor position because of their DUI charge and we were still able to work out a fantastic resolution or even get a dismissal outright. Of course a DUI Dismissal doesn't happen in every case, but most are at a minimum reduced from the original DUI charge.
I will personally evaluate each client's case and implement specific strategies based upon my vast DUI experience.
How do you pick the best Seattle DUI Attorney for you?
Finding the best Seattle DUI Attorney is difficult because this particular area of practice is extremely competitive and some firms will stop at nothing to get you to hire them. You probably have seen numerous ads on search engines, buses and on radio and television, attorneys sending letters to your home, etc. but think about this, are they just trying to get you in to pay their high overhead costs or are they truly interested in achieving the best Seattle DUI results possible.
Results are the only true measure of a great DUI attorney, not high search engine rankings, clever websites, sales pitches, etc.
When you are attempting to hire a DUI attorney and fees are you main concern, consider this example: Would you hire the cheapest doctor to operate on your heart if you had to pay out of pocket or the most experienced with the best results? It's a pretty simple answer if you think about it that way.
If my potential DUI attorney has never received a Not Guilty verdict from a jury in a client's DUI trial, is that important?
Of course this is important. Imagine if you asked a surgeon how many times they performed a particular surgery and they said, "oh many times," then you followed up with "well how many of those surgeries were successful?" What if their response was, "well I'm still trying to get that first successful surgery completed, hopefully it will be yours."
Many alleged "experienced" Washington State DUI Attorneys have never, I repeat never tried a Washington State 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 earned a DUI Not Guilty verdict for a client?" You may be surprised at the answer.
Is it important that my DUI attorney has actually had a DUI dismissed for a client on the merits of their arguments?
Absolutely! 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. Sometimes a deferred prosecution will be applicable to your case, but that is something that must be evaluated by your DUI attorney).
The kind of dismissal I mean is a dismissal via argument to a judge after cross-examining an officer/trooper, for example what I was able to accomplish for this client - click here.
Differences between good and bad DUI firms
Beware of the high turnover DUI firms and cut-rate/pricing structure attorneys quoting super low fees, odds are they are offering super low service. Be very cautious of firms sending letters to your home to get you to hire them, they send those letters to every single person in Washington state charged with a crime just to get clients because they are a turn 'em and burn 'em type of firm. We don't send letters to you in hopes of you calling our firm.
To be sure about the best Kirkland DUI attorney, you need to actually look at their DUI results to see if they have truly accomplished anything or are they boasting about reductions from DUI down to some lesser charge. Yes, I too have pled client's cases down from DUI and this may be the best result available, but if your potential DUI attorney can only point to such a reduction as their best DUI result they aren't putting forth the effort to defend their clients.
The Webb Law Firm has achieved numerous Not Guilty DUI Verdicts and DUI Dismissals for DUI clients over the past ten years!
Doesn't a high search engine result mean that firm is a great DUI firm?
Nope. Know this, anyone can be "number 1" on or on the first page of a search engine result for "DUI attorney" if they are willing to pay enough; however, it does not mean, by any stretch of the imagination, they are an experienced DUI attorney/firm. All high search engine rankings mean are that the firm is willing to shell out thousands of dollars a month for advertising or SEO (search engine optimization). Keep in mind running a law firm requires great marketing and the ability to generate revenue through obtaining new clients but that does not a great attorney make.
Obviously, I am running a firm and must garner new clients for my practice to be successful, but keep this in mind, your attorney must first be successful in the courtroom to build a client base. Just "turning and burning" clients is not my method of operation, I want every client to be completely satisfied with my representation of their DUI charge and I strive for that daily.
Also take note that if you have been personally referred to an attorney who primarily defends those accused of a Seattle DUI, 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 as your Washington State DUI Lawyer. I know this is an "old-school" approach, but personal recommendations are better than throwing a dart at a computer screen or looking for the best looking ad in the old-school telephone books!
Seattle DUI charges are serious and you need true trial tested DUI experience, not Internet savvy, on your side!
A DUI charge is embarrassing but you are not alone, anyone can find themselves charged!
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, sports figures and so on 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! Many municipalities really have no tolerance to drinking and driving even though the legislature in every state of the nation has held that it is not against the law to drink and drive. I repeat it is not against the law to drink and drive, it is just against the law to be under the influence or have a breath alcohol concentration (BAC) or THC concentration above the per se limits (.08 for alcohol and 5.00 ng/mL for THC respectively).
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.
Is it important that my DUI attorney has handled numerous cases?
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, administrative codes, judges, and prosecutors in Washington State. That is, do they truly know how to defend a DUI case? If you were referred to your "family" attorney, make sure they practice in the area of DUI law; otherwise you are putting yourself at risk.
Another highly crucial piece of information you need to obtain is the attorney's knowledge of the BAC DataMaster and the Drager Alcotest (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.), while 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.
What kind of questions should I ask my potential DUI attorney?
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..." This means that if your tow truck driver or place you had your car impounded hands you the card of a DUI attorney, they are very likely in violation of this rule. Do you want to hire someone who has already violated ethics rules before you even met them?
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.
What do I do next?
This is your decision, your life and liberty at stake and you need to take the time to consider the many factors which can affect your choice. If you have questions about a Washington State DUI arrest, feel free to CONTACT Seattle DUI Super Lawyer, Nate Webb, for a free consultation.
Nate Webb, understands your anxiousness and can appreciate your circumstance.
Contact the Webb Law Firm and see what we have to offer, I'm sure you will feel comfortable and confident with our DUI representation.