If you’ve been charged with a DUI offense in Washington, you need an experienced defense attorney to help review the charges and formulate the best strategy to defend yourself. DUI is a serious offense in Washington that attracts harsh penalties.
A conviction could lead to heavy fines (up to $5,000), imprisonment (up to 364 days), probation (up to 60 months), and license revocation or suspension (up to 4 years). For felony DUI, the penalties could be harsher, up to a $10,000 fine and up to 5 years jail time. The Washington State Department of Licensing also captures the DUI offense on your driving record, which could affect your employability, professional relationships, college application, and finding appropriate housing. The negative record could also attract higher auto insurance rates.
With the high stakes involved in a DUI charge, presenting weak evidence can easily lead to a conviction or a harsher sentence than you deserve. An attorney experienced in defending DUI charges brings the necessary expertise and legal knowledge to build a strong defense and fight for a favorable outcome. This could be case dismissal, charge reduction, or deferred prosecution at the least.
If you’re facing charges in Spokane, WA, or anywhere across the state and wondering, ‘What will a defense attorney do in a DUI case’, continue reading for a detailed answer.
What Is the Role of a DUI Defense Attorney
Once you’ve been charged with a DUI, you might wonder whether you need to hire an attorney. Maybe there’s compelling prosecution evidence to support the charges, or you could have been wrongly charged and believe you can defend your innocence.
In either case, you need an attorney on your case. Even with strong prosecution evidence, an attorney could identify weaknesses or inconsistencies and negotiate for acquittal or a less severe sentence. On the other hand, even if you’re innocent and there’s no sufficient evidence to support your claim, you could end up being convicted.
In a nutshell, once you’ve been charged with a DUI offense, legal representation becomes indispensable. Here is what a defense attorney will do for you in a DUI case.
Explain Your Legal Options
A DUI attorney will analyze the charges and advise you on your legal options. They will help you understand what the charges entail, possible outcomes, and the best defense strategy to explore. Based on the facts, they may advise you either to fight for the dismissal of charges or take a plea bargain for charge reduction.
Provide Legal Guidance
During interrogation, law enforcers might ask questions whose answers can be incriminating. A DUI attorney guides you on how to navigate interrogations, including what questions to answer and when to remain silent.
Leverage Their Knowledge of DUI Laws
DUI laws vary from state to state. A local DUI attorney has extensive knowledge of the state’s DUI laws. Having defended similar cases, they have a better understanding of the nuances of each case and can leverage their knowledge of the law to represent you aggressively.
Once charged with a DUI offense, the prosecution has the burden to prove your guilt. In your defense, you need to provide evidence to counter the charges and prove your innocence. A DUI attorney helps analyze the prosecutor’s charges for inconsistencies and develop an appropriate defense. They may scrutinize the police reports and other incriminating evidence (tests, arrest scene footage, etc.,) to reveal hidden facts such as lack of probable cause or test errors and gather evidence to support their argument.
Develop Defense Strategy
An experienced DUI attorney will review your case – charges, prosecution evidence, your statement and supporting evidence – then advise on the best defense strategy to adopt. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the arrest, you might have one or a couple of defense strategies to explore, such as test errors, lack of probable cause, or violation of Miranda rights.
Negotiate with Prosecutors
A DUI attorney can negotiate with the prosecutors for a charge reduction in exchange for a guilty plea. They can also spot inconsistencies in the prosecution evidence and leverage their negotiation experience to request the charges to be dropped or reduced.
Contest License Suspension
Once you’re arrested for a DUI offense, you have 7 days from your arrest to request a hearing with the Department of Licensing to contest your license suspension. A DUI attorney can represent you in the hearing and table evidence to demonstrate why your license should not be suspended.
Represent You in Court
Hiring an attorney experienced in defending DUI cases ensures you get the best representation when the case goes to trial. They also leverage their knowledge of court procedures and filing deadlines to submit the necessary paperwork, paying attention to all requirements and ensuring nothing is missing that could weaken your case.
Potential Defenses in a DUI Case
Upon examining your case, the attorney may suggest various defense strategies based on the available evidence. Case dismissal is the most sought-after outcome in any DUI charge. However, depending on the arrest circumstances and the defense’s strength, you could seek other determinations such as charge reduction or deferred prosecution.
Here are some of the possible defenses an attorney may explore:
Lack of Probable Cause
A law enforcer must have probable cause for stopping you, such as erratic driving or following too closely. If there was no probable cause to pull you over, you could use ‘improper stop’ as a defense.
Violation of Miranda Rights
If the police officer didn’t give the Miranda warning (you have the right to remain silent…) before arresting you, you could use this as a defense. When your Miranda rights are violated, you could request the exclusion of any statements you made during the trial.
Inaccuracy of Tests
DUI assessments, including field sobriety tests and breathalyzers, are not infallible and often subject to human error and environmental factors. Field tests depend on subjective evaluation by officers, and various conditions like medical issues or road circumstances can influence the outcome. Similarly, breathalyzers require precise calibration and maintenance, with any deviation potentially leading to incorrect readings. Successfully disputing these results in court involves more than casting doubt; it requires a strategic defense, often necessitating expert testimony to pinpoint specific procedural missteps or external influences that could render the tests unreliable.
An adept DUI attorney can leverage these nuances to challenge the prosecution’s evidence. By dissecting the technical and procedural aspects, they can undermine the credibility of the tests, a move that could be pivotal in achieving a case dismissal or charge reduction. This intricate process underscores the necessity for experienced legal representation skilled in navigating the scientific and legal intricacies of DUI cases.
Are You Facing a DUI Charge? Reach Out to Us for Aggressive Representation
If you’ve been arrested for DUI, you should consider engaging an experienced DUI defense attorney to protect your rights and fight the charges the best way possible. In case you were wondering what a defense attorney would do in a DUI case, we hope we have answered your question. At Bugbee Law, we provide aggressive DUI defense in Spokane, WA, and across the state. Contact us today for a free consultation.