One of the most frustrating and difficult aspects of practicing in the area of DUI Defense is dealing with Prosecutors. Think about it. A Prosecutor is the one person who can have the most impact on your clients future if they are charged with a DUI. How is that possible you ask? Well the Prosecutor is the one person that stands between your client possibly pleading guilty to a DUI as charged, or getting it reduced to a lesser offense.
The successful DUI Attorney has to learn how to effectively negotiate. Essentially this means convincing the Prosecution to either dismiss or reduce the DUI charge. This one little skill is probably the most important thing a DUI Attorney needs to do. So what is the best way to negotiate with a Prosecutor.
First, always try to negotiate in person. In my experience it is often more difficult to tell a person no to their face as opposed to over the phone or through email. Additionally it shows the Defense Attorney is willing to take the time out of their schedule, travel to the Prosecutors office, and meet in person. I think it shows a certain level of professionalism that most Prosecutors appreciate.
Secondly don’t start off with the good guy reduction. Every Prosecutor has heard how a defendant is a good guy. How they are sorry and they are never going to do it again. Blah, blah, blah. That will get you nowhere and is often considered a waste of time.
Lastly and probably the most important is to bring a legal issue to the Prosecutors attention. Show them why a piece of evidence may get suppressed or excluded. Point out case law why the charge may be dismissed due to a constitutional issue. Believe it or not most Prosecutors have no problem reducing a case as long as there is a reason to do so. Providing a real legal issue, and not just saying your client is sorry is going to go a long way in getting the DUI charge reduced to a lesser offense.
Obviously every DUI case is different. And every Prosecutor is different. But if the Defense Attorney can follow these three tips then they will automatically in my opinion have a better chance to convince a Prosecutor to reduce a driving under the influence offense to a lesser charge or possibly even get it dismissed.
Matthew Leyba is a Seattle DUI Lawyer in Washington State. He represents those accused of DUI and other serious traffic offenses. He is currently rated as a Top Seattle DUI Lawyer by Avvo, and currently listed as a Rising Star in the area of DUI Defense by Super Lawyers Magazine, an honor less than 2.5% of all Attorneys receive.