Gagner Law
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4500 9th Ave NE Suite 300, Seattle, WA 98105

Court Process

I was arrested for DUI – what do I do now?

There are a number of time sensitive issues that must be addressed shortly after your arrest. If you fail to handle these important issues, there may be serious consequences - including the revocation or suspension of your driver’s license. If you fail to appear at your arraignment hearing, a bench warrant may issue for your arrest. In the days immediately following your arrest, it is critical that you contact an experienced DUI Attorney right away. Gagner Law will help you take care of these critical time sensitive issues. Call today for a free consultation.

Arraignment

At your arraignment hearing, the Prosecutor (or in some jurisdictions, the Court) will read to you the formal criminal charges the Government is filing against you. The Judge will determine whether there is probable cause for the charge(s). You will enter a plea of not-guilty. In very rare instances, a client will opt to plead guilty at this initial hearing. Three things will happen after you plead not guilty. First, the Court will set a bail amount. Second, the Court will establish conditions of release. Finally, the Court will select your next Court date. Depending on the jurisdiction, this next court date may be referred to as a “pre-trial hearing” or a “pre-trial conference.”

Bail and Conditions of release

In order to justify setting bail for any monetary amount, the Court must establish that either a) you pose a flight risk b) you pose a public safety risk c) you are likely to intimidate witnesses or d) you will likely interfere with the administration of justice. The Judge will look at the facts of the case as well as your overall criminal history in determining whether any of these three factors are present. Gagner Law will help argue on your behalf to convince the Judge that bail is not required in your case. If the Judge still decides to set bail, Gagner Law will help you find a trusted bail bondsman to post bail so that you will not be taken into custody.

Once the bail amount is settled, the Court will also decide whether or not to set any conditions of release. In an assault charge, the Court will likely require that you not possess any weapons and that you not have any contact with the alleged victim. For most driving offenses, the Court will require that you not drive without a valid license or insurance. For a DUI, the Court may order that you abstain from alcohol while the case is pending, or even require that you place an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. Gagner Law has argued at countless arraignment hearings. We will advocate for the least restrictive conditions of release, and will help you clearly understand any conditions the Court does impose.

Pre-trial hearing/Conference

This is a critical phase in your case, and the most important time to have a former Prosecutor negotiating on your behalf. As a City Attorney, Gagner Law negotiated close to ten thousand criminal cases. We’ve heard every plausible argument that can be made. The importance of hiring someone who’s worked across “enemy lines” cannot be overstated. Gagner Law knows how to think, speak, and act like a Prosecutor. We know what kinds of arguments are persuasive, and how to highlight weaknesses in the Government’s case in order to secure the best possible resolution for our clients.

It is very likely that you will have anywhere from two to four pre-trial hearings before your case is resolved. This can be frustrating for clients who feel like their case is moving too slowly. Unfortunately, justice is rarely swift. Often times the police department is “back-logged” and cannot provide the necessary evidence that your defense team needs in order to carefully evaluate your case. Before we make any final decisions, Gagner Law will want to conduct a thorough investigation. This means we’ll review all evidence (i.e., police narratives, accident reports, surveillance videos, breath test tickets, toxicology reports, etc). We’ll also interview any and all witnesses the Government intends to call on your case – the State Trooper, arresting officer, alleged victim, civilian by-standers, state toxicologists, breath test technicians, etc. We’ll also work tirelessly to find any possible defense witnesses.

One of three things will happen at your pre-trial hearing. First, the parties may reach a plea bargain. If so, you will stand before the Judge and enter the disposition (which can range anywhere from a guilty plea to a dismissal of all charges). If your defense team and the Prosecutor have not reached a resolution, the case may be continued to gather additional evidence or for further negotiations. If negotiations reach a stand-still and the Prosecutor refuses to make a reasonable offer on your case, then Gagner Law will set the matter for trial.

Motion hearing

Depending on the facts of your case, Gagner Law may request a motion hearing. At this hearing, Gagner Law may attack the basis for the traffic stop, the sufficiency of evidence supporting the arrest decision, or the manner in which the breath test was conducted. Setting the case for a motion hearing provides your defense team with two distinct advantages. First, it gives us a chance to hear the Government’s evidence prior to an actual trial. Additionally, it gives Gagner Law the opportunity to persuade the Judge to suppress certain evidence or even to dismiss the case outright if the officer violated any of your Constitutional rights.

Trial

As a person accused of criminal activity, you have a Constitutional right to a jury trial. After a thorough investigation of your case, Gagner Law will advise you on whether or not you should accept any plea bargains offered by the Government. Ultimately, the decision to accept or reject a plea bargain is yours. As a Prosecutor, Gagner Law negotiated with hundreds of different public defenders and private attorneys. We quickly came to know which attorneys were afraid of taking a case to trial, and which attorneys thrived in trial. Some attorneys will do nearly anything to encourage their clients to accept a plea bargain. Preparing for trial is arduous and time consuming. Trial itself is often an exhausting experience for both the client and the attorney. Gagner Law, however, loves taking cases to trial. We’re not afraid to litigate any issue, and we’ll stand by your decision to force the Government to meet their burden of proving the case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Some attorneys who advertise themselves as “experienced” trial attorneys can count the number of trials they’ve completed on one hand. Gagner Law has litigated more than fifty trials from start to finish. We’re not afraid of any Prosecutor or of any Judge. If you decide to take your case to trial, Gagner Law will fight tooth and nail for an acquittal.

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