A judge will allow an exotic dancer charged with DUI and resisting arrest to be her on lawyer for a non-jury trial next week. The judge wanted to grant a “stand-by” public defender, however she rejected that idea saying, “Public defenders did not have a client’s best interests at heart” (According to a recent article). Further, she stated that her attempts to hire an attorney failed when she was quoted $2,000.
Let’s break this down:
Can a non-attorney represent themselves in court?
The answer is yes. Is it a good idea to represent yourself in court, absolutely not! Remember the old saying: “A man (woman) who is his own lawyer has a fool for his client.”
Can a person who cannot afford a Washington DUI attorney still have an attorney?
The Supreme Court rules that state courts are required under the 14th Amendment to provide counsel in criminal cases to those who cannot afford an attorney, Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 US 335 (1963). Washington State DUIs are criminal charges, thus everyone has the right to be represented by an attorney. Washington has codified the rule CrR 3.1 Right to and assignment of lawyer:
“The right to a lawyer shall extend to all criminal proceedings for offenses punishable by loss of liberty regardless of their denomination as felonies, misdemeanors, or otherwise.”
Washington State DUIs are at the minimum gross misdemeanor with the potential loss of liberty up 364 days. Therefore, by Washington State law, every DUI charged person has a right to an attorney.
Do public defenders have a client’s best interest at heart?
In my humble opinion, public defenders are the most over worked and underappreciated warriors there are. In any occupation there are going to be people who are great at their jobs and others who are not so great. However, in my experience many public defenders are very hard working and very strong advocates. However, they are overworked and may not have time to give the individual attention certain cases may need or participate in specific trainings to further their advocacy ability. Again, this is not true in all cases.
Why should you hire a Washington State DUI Attorney?
First off, you do not qualify for a public defender (make too much money) you will need to hire a private attorney. Washington DUIs are unlike any other criminal charge and there are certain things you will want your attorney to be knowledgeable about. Some examples are: The standardized field sobriety tests, National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) protocol, local police protocol, the specific breath testing machine or blood testing methods and so on. It is imperative to consult with an experienced Dui attorney if charged with driving under the Influence in Washington State.
Do Washington State DUI attorneys cost $2,000?
In my opinion, the $2,000 quote for resisting arrest and DUI is very reasonable and most likely on the low side. For a first offense DUI you can expect to pay in Washington State anywhere from $2,000 (questionably low) up to $10,000 or more. Our office is set up so we can keep our rates reasonable and competitive without losing any value.
I hope today’s news break down was helpful and we always appreciate your comments and if you need assistance with a Washington State DUI or have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.