Many clients want to know if we think there is any chance that their case will be dismissed. Often, the answer that a lawyer gives them will be a determining factor in hiring that lawyer. Consequently, many firms will advertise with ads that say “We win 95% of the time!” or some other click-bait type slogan. It is critical that consumers understand what those claims mean.
First, there were approximately 30,000 arrests for DUI in 2019. According to Washington Courts data, DUI charges were dismissed by the Court or Prosecution’s Motion on 3,645 occasions. That is a bit misleading unless you are a defense lawyer. As you can see from the image, 2,855 of those dismissals were on Prosecution’s Motion under “other.”
The category “other” encompasses a myriad of options. It can mean that the Prosecution realized that the blood result won’t be returned before speedy trial runs. Consequently, the Prosecutor will “dismiss” the charges but file them again once once blood results are available. It can mean that a defendant successfully completed a 5 year Deferred Prosecution and the Prosecutor is now dismissing the charge. It can also mean that the defendant entered into a Pretrial Diversion Agreement that did not include a lesser charge but was a straight dismissal after “being good” for a period of time. The bottomline is that, while it might appear that nearly 10% of DUI cases are dismissed, that would be an inaccurate view of the data.
So, How Do Attorneys Claim To “Win” 97% Of The Time?
The key is determining the definition of “win” by the lawyer. For some, it is getting a Not Guilty verdict when the case goes to trial. However, depending on the state and county, about 2-10% of DUI cases go to trial. If you do the math, even if your potential lawyer had 10% of cases dismissed and another 10% of cases receive defense verdicts at trial, you still don’t get 97% success. Clearly, there is a lot of gray area in the definition of success when it comes to DUI defense.
What Should I Consider When Looking At “Success” For My DUI?
At Witt Law Group, our definition of success is dictated by the client. Obviously, we want to make any criminal charge disappear for our clients. That is always our first intention. We fight aggressively to expose every legal challenge possible and seek to suppress any evidence that should be inadmissible. However, we are also extremely skilled negotiators who will focus on our clients’ most pressing needs and fears. If you have been arrested for DUI, most people have a lot to lose—including freedom.
Despite those fears, we will never fudge the numbers. Statistics can be manipulated but, in the end, if a client doesn’t feel heard and aggressively represented, it isn’t a win. Every case and every client is unique. When the prosecution’s case is very strong, the client may simply want to mitigate damage to their lives and career by entering into a diversion agreement. Alternatively, some clients feel very strongly that they want to go forward with a trial and put their unique set of facts before a jury. For a person with a CDL who drives for a living, the jury trial could be worth the gamble. For clients who are in the medical or educational profession, their professional licenses are at stake and a trial may not be worth the risk. They might want a strong negotiator to reduce the charge or have the charge dismissed after a period of “good” time. Each client’s needs dictate how we strategize a “win.”
We have a highly successful strategy for finding any and all legal challenges to your arrest. There are many layers to this process and the complexity of options often depends on the availability of evidence (i.e. lapel and dash cam footage, witnesses, legality of the stop, etc.) as well as factors such as criminal history. Each case is thoroughly analyzed for extensive legal issues and facts that support your defense. While only a small percentage of our cases must go to trial, all of our cases are prepped for trial. Whether in negotiation or in front of the jury, we always seek a win for our clients.