STAY OUT OF JAIL – WHY FAR LESS CLIENTS WHO HIRE ME GO TO JAIL
Phil Weinberg has been creatively resolving clients’ legal problems in the Seattle area for 28 years. He is a member in good standing of this state’s Bar Association. He is a member of the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Snohomish County Bar Association.
Phil Weinberg was one of the first attorneys in this area to introduce in 1992 a combined mental-health and chemical dependency approach to DUI defense, utilizing the help of a well-published, renowned psychiatry professor from Johns Hopkins University, John A. Liebert, MD, who specialized in the diagnosis and treatment of complex psychiatric problems, and also with the assistance of Seattle attorney Mike Frost, a pioneer on diminished capacity defenses.
As an example of just one special DUI / criminal defense approach Phil has developed and refined over many years, the Washington State DUI statutes now contain RCW 46.61.5055 (‘Alcohol Violators’), which sets forth the sentencing factors for DUI convictions, and contains a rarely used exception to the usual imposition of the applicable mandatory minimum jail time for a DUI conviction. It reads in part: “…the imprisonment may not be suspended or deferred unless the court finds that the imposition of this mandatory minimum sentence would impose a substantial risk to the offender’s physical or mental well-being…”
If one of Phil’s clients has some physical condition that cannot be well managed in the jail setting, he’ll try to pursue that as a basis to avoid jail time. But, those cases are challenging to prevail on to avoid jail time as the jails do have some health care on staff, it’s usually not of the best quality of medical care. Over the years, Phil has kept hundreds of people from going to jail based upon documentation from private mental health care professionals he routinely works with, including psychiatrists, psychologists, and licensed mental health counselors. Which professional to use somewhat depends on your budget, and which one’s expertise applies to your case and also somewhat on the client’s budget. If incarceration would impose a substantial risk to your mental well-being, Phil is skilled and successful at presenting that situation and its risks to the courts to keep you out of jail. Often, these clients did not realize that they suffer from mental issues, usually low level ones such as depression or panic anxiety disorders, until it eventually impacted their lives, resulting in legal and other problems. Many people self-medicate with alcohol and drugs to alleviate untreated depression, and similar emotional problems.
This defense approach is clearly not for everyone, and is just one example of Phil’s creative defense approach, but hundreds have benefited from it. You will probably not see other lawyers using this defense strategy as effectively or with such impressive results. It is a very effective approach to a case that is otherwise not winnable for a client with mental health issues. But, for other clients who do not fit this defense, Phil keeps up on the DUI laws that are constantly changing, to develop new arguments and strategies to deal with these changes, to challenge the probable cause for the DUI stop in the first place, to challenge the blood draws when there are blood draws, to attack breath test evidence, fight to suppress as much of the states evidence as possible, and to advocate for his clients with tact and effectiveness.
Phil always tries to understand the individual client as well as their case and takes a holistic and caring approach to solving their problems.
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