We frequently see our competition post advertising with statements like, “98% success rate” on DUIs. Needless to say, this becomes rather confusing for the general public as they search for legal counsel.
They begin to think there is a “success rate” standard for DUIs. The truth is, no attorney can really back up such claims. Success in a DUI is based solely on the expectation of the client with regard to the facts of the case.
Don’t be fooled by meaningless numbers
To illustrate this point, let’s imagine you come to me with an assault charge. You ask what my “success rate” is for your situation? Well, that depends on your facts. Generally speaking, assaults happen without an officer present. Often, the witnesses are drinking or have some connection to the victim or defendant. There will be testimony of witnesses but very few indisputable facts. These are cases that have a lot of “gray” area and, hence, a jury gets to decide who to believe, who they like, and convict or acquit based on their vision of what really happened.
Conversely, a DUI is a crime where a trained professional witness is present throughout the entire incident. An officer is trained to take notes, observe, and convey the scene in a report. Generally speaking, the jury will see the officer as having more credibility than you and, therefore, there is less “gray” area and need for fact finding. That is not to say that an officer might be incorrect or have written an inaccurate report. In those cases, it might make sense to go to trial to attack the report or suppress evidence. However, when the State realizes that the evidence (report and BAC) have issues, they typically make a good offer to the Defense. Most Prosecutors don’t want to go to trial when they know they will lose. Therefore, if you are using a very experienced DUI attorney and there is a seasoned Prosecutor, both sides can predict with fairly decent accuracy which cases will result in a conviction. This is the reason that very few DUI cases go to trial. Quite simply, DUI outcomes are more predictable than most other criminal charges.
Therefore, when a new client asks me how I think their case will go or whether I will be “successful,” my response has to do with that particular client. If you are a high ranking member of the military and you need security clearance, my goal is to make sure that any “deal” we make will allow you to keep that clearance. If you are young and new to the work force, I want to make sure that your deal has no bearing on your ability to seek promotions in the future or limit your ability to drive to work. Basically, my “success rate” depends on how well I mitigate the damage of the DUI charge on your future. What might be good for you today (not serving another day in jail) might be very short-sighted in terms of your career or life goals. I want to make sure that when you look back in 2 years, you can honestly say that your DUI charge is totally behind you and I set you on a path that allowed for the most success in your future.
Ask for a real success rate
So, if you are tempted by the “98% success rate” advertising, please ask the attorney how they assess success. Have they contacted their clients 2 years after a trial or a plea deal and asked them if they lost out on a promotion? Did the client lose security clearance? Did that deal that looked great one week after the arrest, still feel like a good deal? Make sure you are getting solid advice. If you don’t know what your future might look like, there is even more reason to consult with an attorney who really knows how various resolutions for a DUI charge can impact you. Don’t close doors or create obstacles that limit your potential in the future. A DUI is a mistake in judgment that you made on one day. It is not a life sentence.
Witt Law Group is a DUI / Criminal Defense and Personal Injury law firm with locations in Bremerton and Gig Harbor Washington. We would be glad to help you with your case. Read our many happy customer reviews if you want a true gage of our “success rate.” Reach us at either office of CLICK HERE to fill out our online contact form.