DUI FAQ – Table of Contents
- I was just arrested for DUI. WHAT SHOULD I DO NOW? (revised 11-06-2016)
- Was my DUI stop or arrest filmed and/or recorded by the police? (revised 11-12-2016)
- What might the police have recorded or filmed on video & can we get it? (revised 11-12-2016)
- When should I ask for a lawyer? Should I ask for a lawyer right away? (revised 11-12-2016)
- Should I cooperate with the police if I am stopped for a DUI? (revised 11-12-2016)
- Should I talk to the police if I am arrested for DUI?
- Should I take the breath test or allow a blood test if I am stopped for DUI?
- Am I OK just going with the public defender?
- But what if I cannot afford to hire a private attorney? Then should I represent myself (“pro se”) or get a public defender so I won’t have to pay a private attorney?
- Should I take a plea deal (prosecutor’s offer or sentencing recommendation) or go to trial?
- Do the cops really lie a lot on the police reports?
- Can I get the DUI charge reduced? (revised 10-22-2016)
- Will I get what I pay for in a DUI attorney?
- How will my car insurance be affected?
- What is a deferred prosecution of a DUI? Should I consider “going deferred”?
- Do I need an attorney for a DUI Review Hearing?
- Is there any way to avoid the mandatory minimum jail times for first and repeat DUI convictions, if conviction can’t be avoided?
- If I am convicted of DUI, will I still be able to drive?
- What does it take to become an HTO (Habitual Traffic Offender)?
- What is the DOL Hearing? I got a DOL Driver’s Hearing Request from the Arresting Officer – Should I apply for One?
- What are the issues at a DOL Hearing?
- What does SR-22 mean? What is an SR-22?
- How long will a DUI conviction be on my record?
- You say I shouldn’t have blown at the roadside or taken the field sobriety tests? What if I did, just trying to be cooperative with the cops? Am I stuck with it now?
- DUI-Marijuana/Pot — Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana (THC) – What should I know about this? Is it different for Adults and Minors?
- Will a DUI conviction affect my job, travel, educational grants or ability to travel abroad?
- If I am convicted of DUI will I be able to go to Canada?
- Does the Canada entry problem only apply if driving into Canada? What about cruise ships, or air travel with a lay-over in Canada?” (Common when travelling to/from Asia.)
- Can I negotiate my criminal DUI charge with the prosecutors myself?
- Should I ask my insurance company to help pay for or provide a lawyer?
- Attorney’s fees for DUI. What is a fair fee? How much should I expect to have to pay?
- What is a felony DUI?
- Why should I hire you, Mr. Weinberg, to defend me?
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) about DUI’s:
To help you get some of the questions you may have answered right now, since you are probably reeling from a recent DUI stop, arrest and charge and may be a bit confused in various ways, please refer to these FAQ’s, but if you have more questions that are not addressed here and are specific to the facts of your case, your criminal history, any open prior cases in other matters, etc., please call me now. I have the skills, intelligence, experience and compassion you will need in your lawyer and will fight for you from start to finish to get you the best possible outcome. However, these FAQ’s and answers are no substitute from coming in to meet with me and go over your case, but here are some of the initial basic questions that folks in your position usually have asked me:
- Will a DUI conviction affect my job, travel, educational grants or ability to travel abroad? Yes, of course it will, but the better question is exactly how and to what extent. This subject is far too complicated to treat fully and properly here, so consult an experienced Washington State Snohomish County and King County DUI defense attorney, like me, Phil Weinberg. I can tell you that a DUI alone is no longer grounds for removal (deportation) from the US for a noncitizen convicted of it, especially if they had no reckless driving or reckless endangerment charge along with it, and especially in the Western portion of the US where the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco’s immigration decisions are somewhat more liberal than those of the other 12 circuits. See also: what I reference below regarding the Washington Defender Association Immigration Project.
- If I am convicted of DUI will I be able to go to Canada? Entry into Canada is tough if you are convicted of a DUI. Unless you have some urgent need to go there, you will face huge obstacles when they see a DUI conviction or even a DUI charge at the border crossing. To answer immigration-related issues my criminal defense clients face, I often turn to the excellent website and services (for attorneys): http://www.defensenet.org/immigration-project. This is the Washington Defender Association Immigration Project, in Seattle. For questions regarding entry into Canada, which often become quite complicated I refer often to the WDA’s various Practice Advisories and to this informative WDA work on this topic:
Resources on Canadian Immigration Law & Crimes Issues
- Does the Canada entry problem only apply if driving into Canada? What about cruise ships, or air travel with a lay-over in Canada?” (Common when travelling to/from Asia.)
Cruises to Canada can be ‘hazardous’ for those with DUI or DWI (the old term for DUI) convictions, even though you are not driving! Many boat or cruise vessel passengers going to Canada by sea encounter problems entering Canada while on their cruise. The Canadian border authorities have been denying admission into Canada to cruise passengers convicted of DUI, which instantly shows on their computers going as far back as 20 years. Canada deems people who have ever gotten DUI’s as not desirable for entry into their country, whether they are driving or just on a cruise as a passenger. If this happens to you, you may be able pay a fee for a “waiver” to stay up there for no more than 30 days for about $200 Canadian money. Also, you may be able to have one and only one DUI conviction removed from their database for another $400 in Canadian dollars. There are certain special types of waivers, too, but they need to be applied for 6 to 12 months before you try to get into Canada, by boat, driving, walking, on horseback, etc. You may also have problems with any layover at an airport longer than a couple of hours, especially if you have a DUI conviction in the last 10 years. If you’re traveling to or from Asia or have any other airplane layover in Canada, please see the plethora of information regarding DUI-convicted individuals’ travel to Canada at this website: http://www.canadaduientrylaw.com/. This a complex and changing subject, so before making your travel plans see also the current information on the Canada Border Services Agency: www.cbsa.gc.ca and this official Canadian government website: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/infORmation/inadmissibility/index.asp?_ga=1.129991688.520205375.1450583366. It includes this comprehensive information:
Determine if you are inadmissible
Note: This is only a guide. A Canadian immigration officer will decide if you can enter Canada when you apply for a visa, an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), or when you arrive at a port of entry.
Some people are not allowed to come to Canada. They are known as “inadmissible” under Canada’s immigration law.
There are many reasons we may not let you into Canada, such as:
- you are a security risk,
- you have committed human or international rights violations,
- you have been convicted of a crime, or you have committed an act outside Canada that would be a crime,
- you have ties to organized crime,
- you have a serious health problem,
- you have a serious financial problem,
- you lied in your application or in an interview,
- you do not meet the conditions in Canada’s immigration law, or
- one of your family members is not allowed into Canada.
Normally, if you are inadmissible to Canada, you will not be allowed to enter. If you have a valid reason to travel to Canada, we may issue you a temporary resident permit.
If you have committed or been convicted of a crime, you have a few options.
If you have been convicted of driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs, you will probably be found criminally inadmissible to Canada. But as of March 1, 2012, you may be able to get a temporary resident permit for one visit without paying the C$200 processing fee. Find out more.
Also in this topic
- Can I negotiate my criminal DUI charge with the prosecutors myself? You can sometimes, but usually not. If they do negotiate with you, which is quite rare as it is not viewed as appropriate ethically or from the standpoint of fairness, though that’s a close call, please don’t expect much. They will see you as a slam dunk as you stand before them unrepresented by an attorney, unfamiliar with the criminal procedure, judges, rules of evidence, and often not even having seen the discovery (police report, video, photos, physical evidence, 911 call audio et al). With some (stricter) prosecutors, you would only do that if you want to just plead guilty as charged or for them to tell you they cannot negotiate with you and to hire a lawyer. They in general cannot or will not really negotiate with you. A better idea would be – give me a call.
- Should I ask my insurance company to help pay for or provide a lawyer? Insurance companies usually will not do that unless you are in a motor vehicle accident where they have in house counsel or a law firm on retainer and have a contractual duty to defend you in a lawsuit. For criminal defense there is little like that available. There are, though, some employers or legal plans where you are entitled to an attorney either for no charge or at a ceiling maximum hourly rate. In my experience such legal plan lawyers usually, though not always, are not very focused local or criminal defense practice, so beware of such ‘deals’ or saving money using such benefits. It may cost you more in terms of money, fines, jail time, your criminal record, etc. Check out the attorney’s criminal law experience and qualifications if you want to go that route.
- Attorney’s fees for DUI. What is a fair fee? How much should I expect to have to pay?Many firms on the East Coast charge huge fees in the range of $12,000 to $20,000 for even a first-time DUI offense, and often that covers only pretrial defense, too. In our Seattle-Bellevue-Everett-Tacoma area, it is reasonable for an average criminal defense attorney to charge a flat fee of $3,000 to $7,500 for pretrial defense of a DUI, but more if it is a felony DUI. It is also fair to charge extra for repeat DUI charges if more work will be required or if any review hearings on older open cases must be defended against in addition to the new DUI charge. It is customary and fair As well to leave trial as a separate fee to be paid only if you actually go to trial, but payable well before the trial so the lawyer gets paid for pretrial preparation before he starts doing that work. Generally, an experienced DUI attorney cannot advise you whether to go to trial until he sees your police report and talks with you in detail, maybe more than once, too. Trial is usually about $1,000 to $2,000 per day, is a huge amount of work for the lawyer, and also involves additional costs for investigation, often done at least in part by a private investigator, expert witness fees (breath test experts, psychiatrists, blood draw expert toxicologists, highway design or human factors experts if a piece of bad driving or a collision occurred that was more if not entirely the fault of negligent roadway design, improperly placed roadway signs, etc. than it was your fault, etc.) Trials are expensive and risky and in my ‘humble’ opinion too many lawyers take too many cases to trial. The reasons to go to trial should not include how much more money the lawyer will earn, but should focus primarily on whether the trial can be won, whether there was a reasonable, fair plea offer that was acceptable to the client and will not ruin the client’s life, business, job or family life, etc. but mostly on the chances of prevailing. It is quite tough to predict, almost impossible, as juries are unpredictable. But selecting the best jury is a major task, done at the beginning of the trial process at what we call voir dire (jury selection). I offer payment plans to those with gainful employment and acceptable credit, but I ask for at least half of the pretrial defense fee up front. My fees are always fair and have not increased that much in the past 20 years. I often feel that I should charge more but am not doing this just to make money. I love what I do, like to win and really want to help my clients. Although unfortunately not every client can afford a trial, if they really need one I will go out of my way to make that possible. I practice law every day, 7 days a week, every waking second. That’s what is required to do solo practice correctly and to win cases. If a person just wanted to make money, criminal and DUI defense is the wrong field. They should be doing corporate or probate law, going to medical school, or opening a restaurant or a construction business. This job is grueling hard work but, to me, it can’t be beat because it is dynamic, always interesting and gives a good lawyer the chance to exercise creativity, judgment, intelligence and to really make a major difference in someone’s life. See if that is going on with the lawyer you hire at the same time as you talk about the money. Some lawyers do very little for you after they cash your check for their DUI attorney’s fees. That’s not me!
- What is a felony DUI? One of the worst things that can occur to a client is to get a felony DUI in Washington State. I recently has one felony DUI client in Snohomish County Superior Court and another in King County Superior Court. The King County felony DUI client got a DUI in 2006 in Redmond and received a 12-month sentence that I plea bargained down from 18 months. He was elderly and physically sick and had some mild mental health issues, too – but the prosecutor didn’t really care and hard as I fought against it, with relentless negotiations, I could not keep him from going to prison for a year. His prior DUI was a Vehicular Assault DUI in which some person he ran into had some leg injuries. In the Snohomish County Superior Court felony DUI, that client’s prior was a Vehicular Homicide and he could not stop drinking after the new DUI in Monroe, Washington, either, thus his sentence was slightly greater. Unfortunately, neither of these felony DUI clients had a good defense for trial or any compelling facts for pretrial motion. Another felony DUI client I had in Snohomish County Superior Court had a prior Vehicular Homicide, then got a new DUI and retained me to represent him. A few weeks before sentencing he got another DUI. 8 years in prison. The judge complimented me for my exhaustive defense efforts for this client, who was a very nice guy and had a wonderful family, but in the end none of that mattered. These cases are tough to defend and often must go to trial, but that, too, is risky. Felony DUI’s in Washington state are the result of a DUI that is a Vehicular Assault or a Vehicular Homicide, or the result of getting one’s 5th DUI in a 10 year period, or any DUI a person gets of any type following conviction on any type of prior felony DUI. Due to the drastic consequences, which sometimes can mean 5-8 years in prison or more, these felony DUI’s must be fought hard and from the very outset. If you have been charged with one call me now or first thing tomorrow morning. You are in deep trouble and we need to get ‘rocking and rolling’ immediately and ‘big time’ with your aggressive, clever all-out defense. Don’t waste time getting legal help for a felony DUI. They can be won and they can come out better than worse, but we must leave no stone unturned and not get a late start.
- Why should I hire you, Mr. Weinberg, to defend me? I’ve successfully defended thousands of clients during my more than 28 years in practice. I know how the system works in all the courts in this region and am both hard working and effective. I also am accessible to you at all times, am tactful and discreet in how I represent my clients, and have very reasonable fees. I have many hundreds of former clients who’ve thanked me for my tireless work on their cases, refer me to their friends and family members, and who usually come back to me if they get into trouble again. Knowledge, Compassion, Hard Work and an aggressive defense. You want a lawyer who cares about you, takes your calls, works for the money you pay him or her, and delivers results. That’s why.
There is much for each of us to do and no time to waste. I look forward to your call and trying to figure out the best way I can help you.
PLEASE NOTE: The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements or websites. The best way for you to decide whether to hire me to represent you for your Washington State DUI Defense is for us to meet in person, if possible.
ATTENTION / DISCLAIMER: The presentation of information on this website is not intended to — and does not — constitute legal advice. Additionally, no attorney-client relationship is formed by accessing, viewing, or submitting information via this website. Please contact a Washington State criminal defense lawyer or attorney for a free initial consultation. This web site is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the State of Washington.