Five Critical Spokane DUI Issues
Here are the next vital steps for you:
- Get your car out of impound! It's expensive and will likely cost around $300.00. The longer you wait the more expensive it will be.
- You probably have a first appearance or arraignment set in Spokane County District Court or Spokane Municipal Court. Depending when you were arrested for the DUI, your first appearance may be the next day (arrested before midnight), same day (arrested after midnight), or the following day (just depends - ask us).
- Call a Spokane DUI Lawyer to help you with your first appearance. It is wise to avoid handling this by yourself, if you can. Why? Because the court will be deciding your release conditions. Sometimes the court can pile them on. We've probably handled over 1,000 DUIs in our careers, we can usually tell you what to expect. At the very least, know that your first appearance is not the place to argue your case or take responsibility. Your job is to plead not guilty! Regardless of how you feel about it, plead not guilty. Our system is set up for that. If you try to plead guilty at this stage the judge will likely freak out and tell you to wait until you have sought legal advice.
- After you enter a not guilty plea, and get your next mandatory court dates, you can start to breathe again. Still stressed out? Yes, of course you are, but know that we can usually help you do some major damage control, and also prevent you from getting hit hard with penalties and other consequences.
- Be aware that you have another separate case as well - the DOL DUI Hearing. You should have gotten a couple of documents from the arresting officer explaining this. If you want to fight for your driving privileges, you must fill these out completely and mail them in within 20 days of your arrest. So, the clock is ticking. We usually tell clients not to send them in right away. We are happy to explain the reasons for that in more detail later. If you fail to send in the DOL hearing request form, you license will most likely be automatically suspended. Also, ask us about the confusing form letter you are going to get in the mail for the Department of Licensing. (Watch our DUI Lawyer Spokane Video.)
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How Do I Choose a DUI Lawyer in Spokane?
Let me say CAREFULLY! Not all Spokane DUI Lawyers are the same. Don't get me wrong. There are several good ones, but also a lot that will see you as their next pay check.
If the first words out of the DUI lawyers mouth are about money, you know what they really care about. You need someone who wants to hear about your case, and tells you what they can likely do for you, before they start quoting fees. For example, we have discussed and handled so many of Spokane DUI offenses that after we hear your story, and your BAC results, we can tell you what the norms are for settlement for a case like yours.
Also, watch out for firms that use scare tactics. Unless you have an extreme case, or prior DUI charges, nobody should tell you that you are facing major jail time. The norms are actually much lower than most people expect. There are no guarantees, but if you are told a high number or feel that scare tactics are being used, call around - your instincts are probably right. However, there are mandatory minimums for jail under Washington's driving under the influence statutes. But, there are ways to avoid jail altogether in some cases. Again, we are happy to discuss this issue with you.
Are you breathing yet?
Another issue is retainer fees. Some firms will quote very high fees, some will be mid-range, and some will be low. If you get a high quote, ask that attorney why they are worth that. If they get defensive about it, they probably aren't worth that. If they are they should roll off a list of training and accomplishments.
Firms that offer super low fees, are probably cutting corners or just starting out. Now, there is nothing wrong with a lawyer who is new. I was once new. However, make sure they have enough experience to properly handle your case. Believe me you don't want to be the test case or part of the learning curve. Just know that your rear is on the line, and you should be careful. You have to be able to trust the DUI lawyer that you choose, and you should have a good feeling about hiring that person. I'm not telling you to use the force, but I am telling you to use your brain and your gut.
Forgive me, but I have to slip a shameless plug in here. Our DUI Lawyers in Spokane prefer to offer flat fee retainers and payment plans. Flat fee means one price and no surprises. Hourly fees are scary and can be abused. That's why we stopped using them. Clients already have enough stress, and they don't need to have uncertainty with their legal costs.
Here is an important observation from our legal team: most drunk driving cases take between 10 to 30 hours to complete. We say that with your DOL hearing and DUI case, both of which we include in our flat fee, the total time needed to solve a typical case is usually 10-15 hours. We are basing that estimation on our collective experience (around 1,000 cases). It really depends on the complexity, and these estimations are not including any trial preparation. However, most cases do not go to trial. We can explain that more to you another day.
Nobody should be making guarantees or promises. It is our position that this is unethical and unfair to do to clients. It's okay if the attorney gives you a range of what the possible outcomes are, but not a guarantee. The bottom line is that sometimes cases go sideways.
Okay I Hired A Spokane DUI Lawyer Now What?
Normally, it can take up to 90 days to settle your case. Sometimes a bit longer, if you have some sticky issues, or a pain in the you know what prosecutor.
If you have an average range BAC of .08 to .14 (ish give or take), your case can most likely be amended to something less than a DUI. The honest answer for those with higher BACs, is that you are in a higher risk category as far as settlement is concerned. However, that does not mean that your case cannot be settled favorably. You'd be amazed at what a little strategy and hard work can do for a case.
Your attorney should be there to answer your questions within a reasonable time. You should get a call back within the same day or next day, unless they are in trial or something. Our policy is same day responses (we make this 99% of the time, but we are human right).
Also don't be afraid to ask the same questions that you asked when you were hiring your counsel. We know that there is a lot of stress at this time, and you are getting a ton of information (its like trying to drink out of a fire hydrant at times - difficult). Remember you are paying for legal services, and you should feel comfortable enough to ask any legal question.
Lastly, your Spokane DUI lawyer's job is to find the best options and alternatives for you. You should feel like you are being educated on all the reasonable options, so you can make the best informed choice about your future.
If we can help you, please let us know. Our initial consultation is free, and we promises only straight talk and real answers. You deserve the peace-of-mind. Hang in there, it will get better!