What to Know When Choosing a Lawyer for Your Case
- Do I need to hire a DUI attorney?
- How do I choose the right attorney?
- What questions should I ask when interviewing DUI attorneys?
- What are the benefits of hiring a DUI lawyer?
- Should I hire a lawyer who only handles DUI cases?
- Do I need a private investigator?
- Should my lawyer visit the scene of my arrest?
- Why should I hire Attorney Mark W. Garka?
1. Do I need to hire a DUI attorney?
In Washington State, time is a very influential factor following an arrest. You have only 30 days to request a challenge of a driver's license suspension. This is why it's so essential to seek the services of a trained and qualified legal professional. A drunk driving conviction carries serious consequences. Unlike some states, a DUI conviction in Washington State will result in a criminal conviction, not a minor traffic violation or a misdemeanor.
Convictions can result in some very serious consequences, including:
- Establishing a criminal record
- Possible jail time
- Expensive fines and court costs
- Suspension or revocation of your driving privileges
- Lengthy probation periods
- Expensive high-risk insurance
- Home detention
- Ignition interlock device
When you seek the assistance of a Snohomish County DUI lawyer, you gain an extremely talented and aggressive representation. We are skilled in the defense of violations in the Washington State court system.
We will carefully examine all of the evidence related to your charge and study all aspects related to your case, including:
- The reason for stopping your vehicle
- The legality of your arrest
- The validity and admissibility of sobriety tests performed in the field
- The validity and the admissibility of breath test results
Our firm focuses on the defense of DUI arrests – and the intricacies of these arrests. Using the services of the Law Office of Mark W. Garka, PLLC can save you money in fines, legal fees, insurance rates, and the ability to continue to work and drive. Remember, it's always your right to have an attorney present at any point in questioning.
2. How do I choose the right attorney?
If you've been arrested for a DUI in Washington State, you need legal counsel to represent you. When choosing your legal representation, you need someone to protect your interests, but how exactly do you go about finding a good attorney? There are certainly enough lawyers throughout the state, but for this very time sensitive defense, you need someone who understands DUI arrests and is skilled at defending clients. There's more to being a DUI defense lawyer than merely hanging a shingle or advertising that you serve DUI clients.
When you look for an advocate, there are a variety of questions you should consider:
- Is the attorney a member of the National College of DUI Defense? Members of this organization have extensive experience and training in DUI cases – it's their primary focus.
- Is the attorney a member of any organizations dedicated exclusively to the defense of DUI? It's important to find an attorney that is gathering constant information about DUI defense. If the attorney is splitting their defense among several different disciplines, you may receive a watered down defense.
- How many DUI cases has the lawyer handled in their career? For experienced attorneys, this will be a number somewhere in the hundreds, if not thousands. You can tell a lot about the services of a firm by their experience in defending clients. You want someone who has an extensive record of DUI defense and a formidable reputation with the prosecution and judge.
- Does the attorney have experts or investigators available to assist with the defense of the DUI? Most firms work with a team of experts to examine the evidence of your arrest carefully. These experts can increase your chance of having the charges dismissed or reduced. You need a lawyer that brings a team approach to the defense.
With the right representation, you improve your situation immeasurably. Don't hesitate to find the best attorney to defend you on the DUI charge – it's your best option for the future.
3. What questions should I ask when interviewing DUI attorneys?
Following an arrest for a DUI, you face several impending court proceedings and you need help navigating the difficult legal process. Unfortunately, there's more to being qualified as a Washington DUI lawyer than merely passing the bar exam. Not all attorneys have the same skills. You will have to ask questions to make certain he or she has the skills to defend you. After all, this is one of the most important charges you'll face in your life.
Here are some questions to ask as part of the interview process:
- Do you focus solely on DUI defense?
- Are you a member of the Drunk Driving Defense Task Force?
- Are you a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the American Bar Association?
- What is the quoted price for the defense expenses?
- Do these quotes include an appearance at the Department of Licensing Hearing, expert fees, and any additional retesting procedures?
- Do you have specialized training in Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTS).
- Do you have specialized training with the BAC Datamaster?
Having a Washington State DUI attorney who focuses only on DUI defense is one way of having someone in your corner who has the knowledge necessary to assist you. They have the staff, reputation, and skills to aggressively defend you against your DUI charge. This could result in a minimized sentence, reduced charges, and limited fines.
4. What are the benefits of hiring a DUI lawyer?
Knowing what to expect after a DUI is very important, and hiring effective legal counsel can be absolutely essential when you need to protect your name and reputation. When looking to hire someone to help you, cost should not be your only concern. It is possible to find a Snohomish County DUI lawyer with a great deal of experience at a reasonable cost, and you need to find someone who is willing to provide you with personalized attention and who knows all of the different ways to challenge a DUI in order to really help you as much as possible.
One thing you should seek when trying to reduce punishment for DUI is an attorney who will devote personal attention to helping you clean up the mess that a DUI can leave behind. This means seeking out an advocate who will help you enroll in alcohol or drug awareness and treatment classes, victim impact classes, and more.
While it is commonly said that you get what you pay for, choosing the most expensive law firm does not guarantee the best results. No legal professional can guarantee the outcome of any case, but finding a lawyer who charges reasonable fees and has excellent experience can make all of the difference in the world.
Take the time to use resources to help you find someone who exclusively focuses on DUI cases and who has the experience and credentials needed to leave you feeling confident that they will be able to help you overcome your DUI. With the right attorney at your side, punishment for DUI doesn't have to mean simply accepting whatever the prosecutor offers you.
At the Law Office of Mark W. Garka, PLLC, we work hard to help protect your driver's license, your freedom, and your reputation, and we inform you of what to expect after a DUI.
5. Should I hire a lawyer who only handles DUI cases?
If you find yourself charged with a DUI, don't trust your case and your future to just any lawyer. Instead, look for attorneys who have a proven track record of success dealing with the DUI process. The legal profession, like most professions these days, has become highly fragmented. While any lawyer who has passed your state's bar can represent you, you're can increase your chances of favorable results if you are dealing with legal advocates who focus solely on the practice of defending DUI cases.
While most legal processes are intricate and detail oriented by their very nature, the DUI process in particular requires a lawyer who is thoroughly familiar with your state and local laws. This isn't to suggest that other lawyers could not competently represent you, but legal representation who works with the DUI process every day may be in a better position to fight for you or work out a favorable plea bargain.
If you can, find a lawyer who does nothing else. If you were facing open heart surgery, you wouldn't want a general practitioner to operate on you. You would want a heart surgeon, preferably one who deals with your particular procedure day in and day out. You should be no less selective about who represents you in court during the DUI process. After all, you could be facing jail time, loss of your driving privileges, and considerable fines. While these may not be life threatening, they are certainly lifestyle threatening.
At the Law Office of Mark W. Garka, PLLC, our Snohomish County DUI attorneys focus our practice solely on the representation of individuals who have been arrested for and charged with DUI in Washington. We remain current on local, state, and federal laws in order to consistently provide our clients with high-quality legal counsel. If you are in need of representation for a DUI case, trust that we have the experience, knowledge, and skill to diligently defend you.
6. Do I need a private investigator?
If you have received a DUI charge and an attorney you are speaking with does not suggest using a private investigator, they may not be looking out for your best interest. Some law firms will charge for this type of service, and it is well worth the cost, especially if you have refused to submit to a breath test or are accused of DUI with children in the car. Very few attorneys will offer this service for free.
There are a select few attorneys who refuse to charge for this service because they know how important a private investigator is to winning your case. Investigators are often people who have good contacts with local law enforcement officers who are on the job which helps them understand how the other side operates. They will go as far as evaluating the scene of your stop for any inconsistencies or unfairness during sobriety evaluations. Investigators can often unveil discrepancies in incident reports and videos that may explain a slight loss of balance or lack of coordination during your DUI evaluation which could ultimately result in a “not guilty” verdict.
Just because an officer is giving a sobriety test doesn't mean they are properly trained in field sobriety testing. Also, a history of disciplinary actions may reveal the “real” reason a law enforcement officer arrested you. A private investigator can be the difference between winning and losing your case, especially if the arresting officer has prior disciplinary history. They may also uncover a lack of training or violation of breath testing protocol.
If you have been accused of DUI with children in the car or you refused a dui breath test, make sure to hire an attorney who will do everything they can to defend your innocence. Make sure you hire the Law Office of Mark W. Garka, PLLC. We work in connection with a private investigator to help increase the chances of a favorable outcome on your behalf.
7. Should my lawyer visit the scene of my arrest?
When hiring a DUI attorney in Washington State, be certain to hire someone who is willing to take all of the steps necessary to help win your case. One step that many lawyers fail to take is to visit the scene of the DUI arrest. Yet, this is one of the most important steps to take. By visiting the scene of the arrest, our legal team at the Law Office of Mark W. Garka, PLLC can build a better case on your behalf.
This is because we can determine other factors that may have contributed to a wrongful arrest, such as:
- Uneven ground that may have caused you to fail a field sobriety test
- Passing traffic that may have contributed to your behavior
- Whether or not it would have been possible for the arresting officer to have a legitimate reason to stop you
By reconstructing the arrest and evaluating the arrest scene, our Snohomish County DUI attorneys can better determine if the proper procedures were followed, if there could be witnesses to the arrest, and other important factors that can help win your case.
8. Why should I hire Attorney Mark W. Garka?
If you are facing punishment for DUI, Washington State has very specific laws and penalties. At the Law Office of Mark W. Garka, PLLC, we examine DUI cases from the moment of first contact with law enforcement to the very day of a potential trial, scrutinizing every action to find information and tools to help our clients' cases. We know how to fight a DUI from beginning to end, and work to foster a great rapport and collaborative relationship with each and every client we represent.
Attorney Mark Garka has more than 15 years of experience in handling cases related to DUIs and has the knowledge to help you combat the charges you face. Additionally, Attorney Garka has a Superb 10.0 Rating on Avvo, a testament to our skill in tenacity while defending your rights.
The Law Office of Mark W. Garka, PLLC's practice is built on the principle that every DUI defendant deserves the very best representation and a fair adjudication process. We want you to know that you do have someone who is on your side and we are ready to fight for you. We will exhaust every option as we seek the most favorable outcome possible.