The Intoxalock Ask an Attorney series talks with attorneys across the nation to find out what changes are happening in the legal industry and how they are helping clients in new ways.
Most recently, these interviews have been focused on how defense attorneys are assisting customers as they navigate the DUI process during the time of COVID-19. We spoke with defense attorney Jonathan Dichter of DUIHeroes in Washington state to get his perspective.
How are you providing value to DUI clients during the COVID-19 pandemic and helping them through this confusing time?
DUIHeroes made a seamless transition to working virtually in mid-February. Our team has remained the same, and we are still available to our clients 24/7 if they need us.
We remain available, accessible, and open for business. When they have questions or concerns about their cases, we’re still here. We have found that the easiest way to provide value to our clients is to simply let them know we’re still here for them, and not going anywhere.
How are you working with and communicating with your DUI clients right now?
As soon as we made the transition to working remotely, we reached out to every single client to tell them. Our phone line remains answered by our staff at all times. We’ve also added the opportunity for our clients to still see us via Zoom meetings. This allows us to share our screens and show them their police reports, videos, and more. It’s as if the client is sitting with us in the office.
As courts and other state systems return to operation, how have things changed for clients, and what they need to do in your state?
Most court dates have been continued a few times at this point, and many trial cases have been pushed into the late summer. It’s unclear even now when we’ll end up back in court and what that will look like.
That being said, our staff is in contact with the court staff daily, monitoring the calendars and dockets and advising our clients of every change. When the court gives us instructions on how to appear remotely with our clients, we relay that information personally, and we are always ready to answer questions and help our clients through that process.
For clients who need IIDs installed, can they begin their compliance even during this time?
The IID compliance timelines have not been stopped by this pandemic. If you are required to have one for a pre-trial release condition, as a result of DUI conviction, or for IID license requirements, you can still be in compliance and continue that timeline. Since you may not be driving as often, it could feel as if your IID requirement time is flying by. Those with an existing interlock should absolutely continue their time requirements during this time.
We have remained in good contact with our vendors, including Intoxalock, and have sent our clients to service centers to get their interlock requirements met by completing their installations and calibrations. As essential businesses, these service centers remain open. Nothing about the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order suspends that need if it has been required by the court or the DOL.
If you are struggling through these times and you need help or have questions: ASK. You’d be surprised at how readily you’ll be able to find help or compassion. Ask our friends at Intoxalock, who are available 24/7 to answer your questions, or ask me - I’ll always listen and try to help.
How can clients reach out to you to set up a consultation?
Our DUIHeroes are available for appointments virtually and over the phone. We can be reached anytime directly by calling (425) 424-9401. You can learn about our firm’s mindset, vision, and how we treat our clients on our website. You can also find us on social media.
Jonathan Dichter, the founder of DUIHeroes, practices exclusively in the area of DUI and DUI-related defense. He is the author of “Innovative DUI Trial Tools, 4th Revision,” a nationally published DUI strategy guide for lawyers, whose content has been syndicated and published on ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX. Jonathan has also written and published a guide for his clients, “The DUI Survival Guide,” designed to help them understand what they’re about to go through as a defendant.
A 2003 graduate of Seattle University School of Law, Jonathan has been a career defense attorney, starting as a public defender in Shoreline, and transitioning to private practice in 2005. Since then he has focused on DUI defense and routinely lectures and teaches DUI attorneys his strategies and tactics. Visit his website at duiheroes.com