Skip to main content
Nathan L Webb
Avvo
Pro

Nathan Webb’s Answers

52 total


  • What is a reasonable fee for a DUI attorneys in the Seattle, WA area

    How can I tell what is a "reasonable fee" for a DUI lawyer. Some websites quote stuff like $2500 and others say it will be more than $500. How do I know I'm not paying too much or I'm not paying to get the worst guy in town?

    Nathan’s Answer

    As with most situations in life, the experience level of the firm or individual is a major factor to consider when making a decision about retaining legal assitance. The more experience the lawyer has, quite reasonably the higher the fee; however, make sure you are comfortable with the attorney overall and make sure that he or she limits their practice to DUI defense. There is nothing more concerning than to witness an attorney not know how a particular court has already ruled on substantial evidentiary issues (i.e. suppression of a breath test) and present a plea to the court on behalf of his or her client. It is reassuring to most clients when the judge knows the attorney by name.

    As far as fees in Washington go, I have personally see them range from $3000 to $10000 for a first offense. Of course, many factors will need to be considered by the attorney prior to quoting a fee, here are just a few: (1) the individual's criminal history, specifically prior DUI convictions or charges, (2) the court where the case has been or will be filed, (3) the breath test results or if a breath test was refused, and (4) were there any agrravating factors (i.e. passengers in the vehicle or an accident involved). I always pose this analogy to my clients about fees - if you were paying out of pocket for a knee surgery, would you want to go with the doctor who quoted you the lowest fee? Remember, experience matters.

    You also want to be sure to inquire about how far the quoted fee will take you. For example, some attorneys will only take the case up to an evidentiary hearing (a hearing to challenge probable cause, the reason for the stop, admissibility of a breath test, and admissibility of other legal issues) and will charge a higher fee to hold that hearing. In addition, some will then charge an additional fee for trial. Most attorneys will give you a flat quote for the entire services up to and through trial, so be sure to ask. For solid representation, you can expect to pay at least $4500 for a first offense.

    See question 
  • Under WA state law can a third party be held accountable for another person getting a DUI

    I had been drinking and this girl called me up from a psych ward and asked me to come there and pick her up because she wanted to leave AMA because she wanted to do some drugs. So I went over there and picked her up and she drove us to somewhere ...

    Nathan’s Answer

    Although this issue has arisen with respect to person's asking other persons to leave their home or place of business after they have been drinking, there is no third party liability in the context of DUI in Washington State. The short answer is No. You would want to explain the circumstances to your attorney so that he or she could calculate the ingestion of alcohol and/or drugs over the course of the evening to help them better identify the amount in your system for argument later.

    See question 
  • Sobriety tests

    I failed a field sobriety test, but I wasn't drunk. They arrested me and I tested below the limit on the breathalyzer at the station. I've still been charged with DUI. Can they do that?

    Nathan’s Answer

    In Washington State, the government can attempt to prove DUI by satisfying one of two prongs under the DUI statute. Under one prong, called the per se prong, the government has to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that an individual operated a motor vehicle in the state and that within two hours of driving had an alcohol concentration of .08 or higher.

    The other prong, which would apply to this scenario, requires that the government prove that the individual operated a motor vehicle within this state and was under the influence of or "affected by" intoxicating liquor or any drug. Therefore, the government does not necessarily have to have a breath test into evidence to attempt to prove DUI, but it is certainly subjective and subject to scrutiny. The "field tests" you took, you probably did pass, but the determination was made by an officer who has complete discretion to rate the results of the "test." The government has been much more active in charging persons who blew under the legal limit with DUI and that is another reason you need a skilled DUI attorney to assist you when facing these charges.

    Please feel free to contact me to discuss your DUI arrest.

    See question 
  • 2nd DUI consequences

    I am being charged with a DUI for the second time this year. What are my likely consequences?

    Nathan’s Answer

    DUI convictions in Washington State carry mandatory minimum penalties. Subsequent offenses within a seven year period carry minimum penalties if there is a conviction on the subsequent offense. A DUI charge is one that has yet to be adjudicated and the consequences are yet to be determined. The penalties for a second offense are dependent upon the outcome (e.g., plea bargain, guilty plea, dismissal or acquittal) of the initial pending charge. For example, if you had a DUI conviction earlier this year and the mandatory penalties were imposed and you subsequently were charged, you would face a review on the original charge, wherein the court could (and probably would) revoke some of the suspended jail time and fines. A second conviction would also require that the court impose mandatory minimum penalties (as outlined by the sentencing statute for alcohol violators, RCW 46.61.5055) which include at least 30 or 45 days in jail (for a second offense within two years) and fines, fees, a license suspension, ignition interlock requirements and probation. You would want to discuss in detail, the circumstances surrounding your original charge and sentence imposed with a skilled DUI attorney. Please feel free to contact me regarding a DUI charge in Washington State.

    See question 
  • DUI on my own property

    I own rural property that I use for 4-wheeling; can I be arrested for DUI while driving on my own property?

    Nathan’s Answer

    The DUI statute in Washington is clear that you must drive a vehicle "within this state" to be charged with DUI; however, operating a vehicle on your property, even while intoxicated, has been adjudicated and there is precedent on the matter. The situation would really depend upon the circumstances of your case, for instance, were you near a public road or did you have immediate access to a roadway. This scenario would require discussion and analysis of the facts, but there have been circumstances where operating a vehicle on your own property, even if intoxicated, has been determined to be up to the property owner's discretion.

    See question 
  • DUI

    If I have been drinking and get arrested, what can a lawyer do for me that I can't do myself?

    Nathan’s Answer

    This is a question that arises more than you might think. To sum it up without going into too much detail it depends upon what a DUI conviction would do to you personally, financially, emotionally, and whether your employment would be at risk. Moreover, would losing your license adversely affect your quality of life or employment? If you answered yes, you need an attorney skilled in DUI defense to assist you with the myriad of consequences faced when charged with DUI. The prosecutor is knowledgeable about DUI law and consequences and what the State or City needs to prove for a conviction. The average layperson is unaware of the many challenges that can be brought when faced with a DUI charge. In addition, an individual charged with DUI also faces losing their driving privileges and the Department of Licensing employs attorneys fight to make that happen, no matter what happens to the criminal case. Persons charged with DUI are at an extreme disadvantage from the get go and unless you have the time, energy, resources, experience and knowledge necessary to defend yourself, a DUI defense attorney is a necessity.

    Please contact me to discuss the implications of a DUI charge in Washington State.

    See question 
  • DUI and jail and losing license

    If I am caught drinking and driving in Washington, what will happen to me? I hear that you automatically go to jail and lose your license. If so, for how long are you in jail and when do you get your license back?

    Nathan’s Answer

    Contrary to public opinion or belief, it is not against the law to legally drink and subsequently drive in Washington State. However, it is against the law to drink and drive and to either (1) have an alcohol concentration of .08 or more (as shown by analysis of the person’s breath or blood) within two hours of driving, or (2) to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor or any drug. This means that you can consume alcoholic beverages and drive so long as (1) your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is not above .08 or more within two hours of driving, or (2) you are not affected by what you drank (determining whether an individual is “affected by” what they drank is entirely subjective and subject to much debate). It is a civil infraction to have an open container in a vehicle in Washington State.

    If you are convicted of DUI (as defined by Revised Code of Washington 46.61.502 or 46.61.504) you will face mandatory minimum penalties such as jail time and loss of driving privileges. The penalties imposed depend upon: (1) whether this is a first offense, and (2) if the alleged alcohol concentration is above .15 or the individual is alleged to have refused to submit a sample of his or her breath or blood. As you can assume, individuals will face much more significant penalties for subsequent offenses (i.e. offenses committed within a seven year period).

    Please contact me to discuss the implications of a DUI charge in Washington State.

    See question 
  • Will getting a DUI conviction affect my car insurance rates?

    I recently got a DUI conviction. Will it affect my car insurance rates? And how would the insurance company find out about it?

    Nathan’s Answer

    Although I am not an insurance agent, I do know that insurance companies will raise rates for persons convicted of DUI. The amount would depend upon your prior driving record and whether you have previous convictions. A DUI conviction will also result in the need for the driver to obtain “high-risk” (i.e. SR-22) insurance in addition to their regular liability and/or comprehensive coverage. The driver will be required to carry the high-risk insurance for a period of at least three years.

    The Department of Licensing (DOL) is notified by the court of any DUI conviction. In turn, your insurance provider will most assuredly find out that you have a conviction when they perform their scheduled checks with the DOL or you apply for renewal or a new policy.

    Please contact me to discuss the implications of a DUI charge in Washington State.

    See question 
  • DUI versus open container laws

    Can I be charged for DUI if I have an open bottle of alcohol in the car, even if I don't blow over the limit or drive dangerously?

    Nathan’s Answer

    Possessing an open container of alcohol is simply a civil infraction in the state of Washington. Simply having an open container of alcohol in your vehicle would be an arguably insufficient basis for a Driving Under the Influence arrest. Caveat: You can be charged with DUI by just admitting to drinking in Washington State. Troopers, officers and deputies often arrest persons based solely upon admissions to consuming alcohol or by just observing the odor of alcohol and they exercise great discretion when deciding whether to arrest an individual for DUI. The question then would be whether the trooper, officer or deputy had probable cause for the arrest. On its face, even though probable cause is a lower burden than proof beyond all reasonable doubt (i.e. burden of proof required to convict in the criminal context), it is a burden nonetheless and must be satisfied. Probable cause for an arrest is a hotly disputed evidentiary issue that a trial judge would determine. If you would like to further discuss this matter, please visit my site at: http://www.WashingtonDUIArrest.com for further information.

    See question 
  • Is conviction for DUI a felony or misdemeanor?

    Can a DUI be considered a felony? I know nothing is ever a felony misdemeanor, because something is either a felony or a misdemeanor, and can't be both. I had a background check for employment purposes and didn't get the position because of a f...

    Nathan’s Answer

    With the circumstances you have explained, your DUI conviction from 10 years ago is not the felony on your record. Recently (July 2007) the legislature promulgated a statute making a fifth DUI conviction within 10 years a felony. The prior DUI conviction you had was a gross misdemeanor under the statute and the maximum penalty on that charge is 365 days and a $5000 fine. DUI convictions do vary by circumstance state-to-state in whether they're considered a felony or a misdemeanor.

    See question