The 2:00 am DUI phone call
I saw the other day a fellow Seattle DUI Attorney was putting on a CLE about the 2:00 am phone call. I wanted to check it out, but unfortunately I had Court at that last minute. But it got me thinking. When I was a public defender I used to get these phone calls all the time, and I would always get contacted by the DUI Attorney that was retained on the case later on. Here are some of the things I always noted and why I feel like they are important. Especially when it came to helping the DUI case later on.
The first thing I would always do is speak with the law enforcement officer who made the DUI arrest. Specifically I would ask the officer why the client was stopped, why the officer asked him to exit the vehicle, whether any field sobriety tests were administered, and lastly whether the officer was going to book the person arrested for the Seattle DUI or just release them.
I felt like these were important to know to get a little background before I spoke with the client. In fact the first thing most people want to know is why they were arrested and whether they are going to have to spend the night in jail. By finding out I was able to put the clients mind to ease a little.
The second thing I would do is ask the client a few questions. The main ones I would ask is what they were doing, how much they drank, whether they took any drugs (illegal/legal), whether they have been arrested for DUI before, and what is their drivers license status was.
Their responses would determine the DUI advice I would offer. For example if a person said they had 1 drink 3 hours before their Seattle DUI arrest and this was their first DUI, I would most likely tell them to take the breath test. However if they said they have 10 shots of tequila, they declined the field sobriety tests, and the Officer arrived on scene following an accident, I might advise them to decline the breath test as long as they understand the potential drivers license suspension one would face following their Seattle DUI arrest.
After I answered any questions the person arrested for DUI had, and after I advised them on the breath tests. I would take notes on several things I observed over the phone. Specifically whether they asked appropriate questions, whether their speech sounded normal. Sometimes if I felt it was I would ask them to repeat their alphabet to me, or count backwards from 54 to 36. Now it’s important I would ask them to do that if I felt they were going to recite those tasks correctly. If I didn’t think they were I wouldn’t do it.
Anyway those were just a few random thoughts I had for the day. Like I said there was a CLE for taking DUI phone calls in the middle of the night that I couldn’t make it to, but I wanted to throw my two cents out there.
About the author: Matthew Leyba is a DUI lawyer in Seattle. He is rated a 10/10 by Avvo.com and listed as a Suburb DUI lawyer in Seattle. He was also named as a Rising Star in the field of DUI Defense by Seattle Met Magazine.