I can’t tell you how many people I meet with that just ask whether they should go ahead and accept the administrative license suspension from the DOL. It usually goes something like this, “I met with another attorney they said the DOL hearings are impossible to win, so should I just not challenge it and accept the license suspension.” My response is always, “Who the hell told you that!”
I’ll admit the DOL hearings are always an uphill battle. Especially for Seattle DUI Attorneys. For a couple of reasons really. First its a civil hearing so the burden of proof is less than in a criminal case. Secondly it seems like everything is stacked against the petitioner. The “judge” works for DOL. They also act as opposing counsel or the “prosecutor” if you will. And lastly its really in DOL’s financial interests to suspend a license because they get money when the license needs to get reinstated.
Now proponents of this process will tell you thats not the case. That an individual is afforded all the due process rights, blah, blah. But the reality is in most cases if you’re arrested for a DUI then your drivers license is going to get suspended. I mean statewide there is something like a 25% dismissal rate at these hearings.
What I listed above are just a few factors contributing to that low dismissal rate. In all honesty I think what really contributes to those numbers are attorneys who just phone in the DOL hearing. In other words they think they are going to lose, they don’t spend any time preparing, and they just go through the motions at the hearing itself. Their rationale is, hey Im going to lose this hearing anyway, so why put in the time and effort. I mean after all I think thats just human nature. You get beat down so many times, you just give up.
Well thats not how my firm does it. And I think our results speak for themselves. I put everything possibly into these hearings. I really treat it like a jury trial. My goal is to have as much of the case investigated as possible at this early stage. Meaning all witnesses have been interviewed, all videos have been subpoena’d, I spend several hours preparing for the hearing, another hour or so drafting my cross examination of the officer, another hour drafting my closing argument along with having every case I need handy. Overall its not uncommon for me to spend anywhere between 10 – 20 hours preparing for this hearing. Now some Seattle DUI Lawyers probably think thats crazy, but thats just how I was raised. Not to do anything half ass.
Now obviously I don’t win every hearing. But I feel like I win my fair share, and its above the statewide average. The reason being is not because Im smarter than other attorneys (most yes), or because Im lucky. I think the reason being is because I work harder than most if not all other Seattle DUI lawyers.
If you have been arrested for a DUI and you’re deciding whether or not to go forward and challenge the suspension. Do it. What do you have to lose? Other than $200.