DUI SUCCESS RATE*
OTHER CRIMINAL CHARGES SUCCESS RATE*
*dismissed or reduced
this is not a guarantee of result – every case is unique
The process of a DUI case
After arrest, the criminal prosecution process will begin. The first step is the Arraignment. Subsequent hearings will be called Pretrial hearings. If the case is set for trial, the hearing prior to trial will be called a Readiness hearing. If there are Motions to be argued, your lawyer or the state will set a date to argue. There are many types of Motions that can be argued and there is an element of strategy as to whether to a lawyer wants to do this. If you make a prosecutor argue a Motion, you are likely going to trial and any pre-motion plea offers will be getting worse.
Arraignment is typically your first hearing before the judge. This hearing is usually very quick and you will do almost no talking. The judge may ask if your name is spelled correctly on the Complaint and then ask if you understand the charges against you. The judge is not asking if you agree with the charges. You should answer, “Yes, Your Honor” or “No, Your Honor.” Your attorney will do the rest of the talking.
The purpose of the Arraignment is to set conditions of release and insure that you will return for future court dates. If there is a risk you might not return because you have FTAs or warrant history, the judge may impose bail. There may also be bail if you have DUI history.
Conditions of release are also set to ensure the public is safe. For example, there may be a requirement for an ignition interlock device or a scram bracelet. The judge will also tell you to abstain from alcohol and non-prescribed drugs for the duration of your case. If you had a high breath test, an accident, or prior offenses, the conditions of release will be more severe.
If you want to know more about what to expect at your Arraignment, there are two additional county-specific pages below. Whether you must appear in person or appear via Zoom varies by city and county. For more details, check out Kitsap County and Thurston County, which include some information regarding cities within those areas.
People get most nervous about the word Pretrial because they think the case has been set for trial. You should not panic about those hearings but, the more you have of them, the more likely you are going to trial. Criminal cases require experience to truly understand the risks of delaying a case and, typically, this means the best DUI attorneys are also former prosecutors. Our attorneys have that experience.
If you have a public defender who is not actively trying to negotiate your case, you should be very assertive about your desire to resolve the case. Additionally, you do not have to use a public defender. You can hire a private defense attorney any point to take over the case.
The longer you delay a case or require a prosecutor to do more than the typical DUI case, the more likely you will be going to trial. Based on the facts and law, that may not be in your best interest. However, it is important for defendants to understand that a prosecutor does not have to negotiate a case. The prosecutor can simply set the case for trial. So, if your current attorney is dragging out your case without a strategy in mind, realize this may backfire on you.
Our consultations are 100% free so there is no risk.
Call us now to discuss your specific concerns.
If your attorney thinks it is relevant and helpful, motions will be filed to argue deficiencies in your case. There are many motions that are possible. Examples of motions are:
- Motion to dismiss for lack of probable cause to arrest
- Motion to to dismiss for unconstitutional delay in charging
- Motion to dismiss for speedy trial violation
- Motion to dismiss for insufficient evidence
- Motion to suppress for violation of access to a lawyer
- Motion to suppress involuntary statements
- Motion to suppress a breath test
- Motion to suppress evidence of a blood test
There are many more motions that a defense attorney can argue on your behalf if the facts warrant it. Experienced defense attorneys will not file frivolous motions because it can greatly harm a defendant’s case. It can also signal that the defense must take the case to trial.
Even if you win one of the motions but it is not dispositive (your charges won’t actually be dismissed when you win the motion) the state might still have plenty of evidence to convict you. This is where experience matters. The best DUI attorney argues for your rights but always with the primary focus being the best end result. Filing motions might not be the best end game strategy.
Are You In Panic Mode?
If it is the weekend or late at night and you are reading this page, you are likely in full blown panic. You are getting basic information on most law firm pages but the majority of the information is just inducing more panic. That is not productive. Take a deep breath.
This hearing can be called different things depending where you are criminally charged. However, attorneys understand that a Readiness hearing means that the prosecutor and defense attorney must tell the court there readiness for trial. A trial date might be set or re-set and the attorneys can address issues such as witness availability or evidentiary issues. Most cases are resolved prior to readiness but they can also be resolved at this hearing.
There are many ways to seek a “delayed” dismissal or other alternative resolutions that are best for the client. Sometimes, where the state has a great case against you, the best result is trying to plea to a lesser charge (see information below). All of the possible resolutions must be considered by your attorney. The options you have will depend on where you were criminally charged. Nearly all cities and counties in the state have slightly different options for resolving DUI cases. We have county / city specific DUI pages below.
It would be great if dismissals were the norm. Unfortunately, those are rare in all DUI cases because DUI charges are fairly easy to prove for a prosecutor. The elements of the crime do not require intent and we have a per se standard as well the affected by prong. In most cases, the best course of action is to try for a “delayed” dismissal, which we call alternative resolutions.
If someone has DUI history, there was a refusal, or the facts are particularly bad, there may be a need to seek a resolution that results in a reduced charge. All of these options are very fact-specific and require our attorneys to review Discovery.
Examples of “lesser charges” for DUI or Physical Control
- Reckless Driving (RCW 46.61.500) —This can be counted as a prior and has a license suspension from the criminal case. You may also be suspended from DOL.
- Negligent Driving 1st Degree (RCW 46.61.5249) —This can be counted as a prior but there is no license suspension from the criminal case. You can still be suspended from DOL depending on the outcome of your DOL hearing.
- Reckless Endangerment (RCW 9A.36.050)—This can be counted as a prior but has no license suspension. You can still be suspended from DOL depending on the outcome of your DOL hearing.
- “Prior” means, if you are convicted in the future for another DUI charge, your prior resolution of a DUI reduced to Reckless Driving, Negligent 1st Degree, or Reckless Endangerment will likely count against you at sentencing and used as a prior DUI offense to increase your minimum penalties on the new case.
DOL suspension on lesser charges
Even if you are offered a lesser charge and avoid the mandatory license suspension through your criminal case, this does not mean you will avoid the license suspension through the Department of Licensing. If you failed to request the DOL hearing or lost at the hearing, you still face the administrative license suspension. If you have been arrested for DUI, check daily on the status of your license. If you drive on a suspended license, you face an additional criminal charge (DWLS).
All criminal charges, including DUI, have the potential to have immigration consequences. If you are charged with a crime and are not a US citizen, be sure to notify your attorney. You will want to simultaneously consult with an immigration attorney for resolution options or to fully understand long-term consequences.
Can I drive?
Most likely. If you are a client of ours, we will cover whether you have this option as well as the process for you to get a special license during the period of your suspension.
When you sign up with us, we can address any questions you have about job applications or notifying your employer. You may have additional notifications if you hold a professional license.
Criminal defense attorneys charge flat fees. This is a set price but may not include a trial fee. Trials are extremely rare in DUI cases because experienced defense attorneys can typically get better and more certain results in a negotiation than putting the case before a jury.
Hiring a private attorney is not cheap and it causes a lot of stress for most people. We understand. It is important to talk this out with an attorney and not a call service. You want to make sure you know who your attorney will be (and that your case is not passed around) and whether the attorney is a good fit for you.
In the interest of transparency, if you are price shopping for a DUI attorney, we are likely not the cheapest firm. We believe our experience and success rate justifies what we charge. At the same time, we keep our overhead as low as possible so we can pass that benefit onto prospective clients. If you are calling around, you will find that, due to our efforts to keep low overhead, we are also not the most expensive. We are proud of that fact.
Most of our clients come to us through referrals due to our reputation for success. We reject the “high volume” approach that many private firms must use. We do not run high priced ad campaigns or appear on the radio because we don’t have to. We have a winning reputation and always try to save our clients money in terms of long-term financial consequences of a DUI.
We keep our caseload small and offer very personalized attention. If that matters to you, do not hesitate to reach out 7 days a week so we can discuss your case. We are probably more affordable than you think.