DUI DEFENSE LAWYER
We are experienced Traffic Violation Lawyers who, since 2005, have represented clients that have traffic violation charges or related issues in the greater Puget Sound area. We provide aggressive legal representation in court, act as your agent in negotiating alternative outcomes to contested hearings, and provide advice and counsel to our clients in the best methods to minimize the potential impact of a DUI given your specific circumstances. For a free consultation call 206-816-9110, or fill out the form below for a callback.
Driving Under the Influence
Potential Consequences of a DUI
A Driving Under the Influence charge is one that the State of Washington takes very seriously. There are significant penalties that may be imposed upon conviction, even for a first offense. There is mandatory jail time and fines, a mandatory license revocation by DOL, once re-licensed there is a required installation of an ignition interlock device, SR-22 Insurance, and a probation period. There are other serious consequences for a DUI conviction. You will now have a criminal record, which could effect your future employment, finding housing in the future may be more difficult if you rent, loans, ability to rent a car could be effected. There could also be a social stigma associated with a DUI conviction may effect not just you but also your family. If you have been charged with a DUI in Seattle, King, Pierce or Snohomish counties, you should consult an experienced Criminal Defense lawyer. We may be able to successfully challenge the case against you, or we may also be able to reduce the consequences of a prosecution.
What is Driving Under the Influence?
Under the Revised code of Washington (RCW) 46.61.502, a person is driving under the influence when operating a vehicle if they have a .08 percent or higher blood alcohol concentration (BAC) within 2 hours of driving, or blood THC level of 5 nanograms per milliliter within two hours after driving. Penalties are increased for those with a .15 BAC or higher. DUI may also be charged for a combination of alcohol and marijuana; when under the influence of controlled substances, such as cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, and other narcotics; and also when under the influence of medications both prescribed or sold over-the-counter such as depression medications, pain killers or sleeping agents that can also create an intoxicating effect. Legally possessing the medication is no defense.
A DUI is typically a gross misdemeanor except in certain circumstances. Gross Misdemeanors carry a penalty of up to 365 days in jail and up to a $5000.00 fine. There are mandatory minimum penalties: if you are convicted of a first DUI with a BAC of under .15, you may serve between a minimum of 24 hours to a maximum one year in jail. Electronic home monitoring may be an option. A minimum of $945.50 in mandatory court costs/ fines (or a maximum of $5,000.00). A BAC over .015 increases minimum penalties to at least 48 hours in jail and a minimum $1,245.50 in mandatory court costs/ fines. The judge can suspend your license for at least 90 days. You may also have to install an ignition interlock device on your car. This device requires you to pass a breath test to start your car. You will also be subject to a mandatory suspension by DOL.(See below)
Penalties also increase for each DUI conviction within a seven-year period, making it critical to get an attorney to look out for your interests from the very first arrest. As an example, a second DUI conviction within seven years and a BAC that is under .15, has a minimum of 30 days to one year in jail and 60 days of electronic home monitoring, and a fine between $500 and $5,000 and require you to install an ignition interlock device.
Other ramifications of a DUI conviction: Probation for five years, along with probation costs as much as $60 per month. Court ordered drug and alcohol evaluation and treatment if the evaluations call for it. DOL will also automatically order a license suspension of 90 days, to go into effect 45-60 days either after your arrest, or after the lab results for the blood test come back showing that you were over the legal limit. You may request a DOL hearing within 7 days for $375, so make sure that you address with DOL is current. You may be required by DOL to have an ignition interlock device and SR-22 high-risk insurance in order to drive.
Defending a DUI charge
On the legal side of the case, we will examine the traffic stop, arrest and evidence to determine if police procedure was handled correctly and if it is possible to suppress evidence. This includes in part:
- Was there probable cause for the officer to stop you ? (often a traffic infraction)
- Was there probable cause for the officer to detain you beyond the scope of the infraction?
- If field sobriety tests were done, were they dome properly and what were the results?
- Were the BAC or blood tests done appropriately?
- Were any of your constitutional rights were violated
If procedures were not properly followed or your constitutional rights were violated, we may be able to get evidence suppressed and argue for reduced or dismissed charges.
As in any criminal proceeding, if the assessment of your case is not favorable, then we may be able to negotiate a reduced charge for you. A person will want an experienced attorney to negotiate on their behalf, as they may be able to significantly reduce the impact of a DUI charge. We also help guide you through the actions that you need to undertake to comply with the reduction agreement. These can include a alcohol or drug assessment, to see if you have a problem with substances, and a treatment program if the assessment finds that you do. Probationary periods. Driving classes and Victim Impact classes. Deferred prosecution may be an option, or a deferred sentencing to a lesser charge.
A physical control violation is different from a regular DUI because you do not have to be driving the vehicle to be charged with the offense. If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 or higher, you can be arrested and charged if you’re found anywhere within the vehicle, including in the passenger or back seat, or even outside of the automobile. The arrest happens when the police officer determines that you were in physical control of your vehicle, even though you were not in the act of driving it. The statute is RCW 46.61.504.
-A person is guilty of being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug if the person has actual physical control of a vehicle within this state:
(a) And the person has, within two hours after being in actual physical control of the vehicle, an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher as shown by analysis of the person’s breath or blood made under RCW 46.61.506; or(b) The person has, within two hours after being in actual physical control of a vehicle, a THC concentration of 5.00 or higher as shown by analysis of the person’s blood made under RCW 46.61.506; or(c) While the person is under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor or any drug; or(d) While the person is under the combined influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor and any drug.
The Similarly to a DUI, a physical control is a Gross Misdemeanor, upon conviction with a penalty of up to 365 days in jail and up to a $5000.00 fine. There are mandatory minimum penalties: if you are convicted of a first DUI with a BAC of under .15, you may serve between a minimum of 24 hours to a maximum one year in jail. Electronic home monitoring may be an option. A minimum of $945.50 in mandatory court costs/ fines (or a maximum of $5,000.00). A BAC over .015 increases minimum penalties to at least 48 hours in jail and a minimum $1,245.50 in mandatory court costs/ fines. The judge can suspend your license for at least 90 days. You may also have to install an ignition interlock device on your car. This device requires you to pass a breath test to start your car. You will also be subject to a mandatory suspension by DOL.(See above under DUI).
Along with the regular DUI defenses there are other defenses, such as where the keys are, if the engine is cold, if the vehicle is safely parked, and more.
Underage DUI Attorney (Underage client, not the lawyer)
Were you charged with DUI and are under 21? RCW 46.61.503 makes it an offense for persons under the age of 21 to operate a vehicle after consuming alcohol, and the BAC (blood alcohol concentration) that will result in DUI charges against a minor is 0.02. So basically any concentration of alcohol at all. It is not necessary for the individual to be showing signs of intoxication for the charges to be filed. This BAC level might be registered after consuming only one beer or glass of wine. Minor DUI is a misdemeanor, and penalties in Washington State include a maximum of 90 days in jail and a fine of $1,000. There is often a probationary period of up to two years, the person may be required undergo an alcohol assessment, attend alcohol treatment classes, receive drug counseling, perform community service, submit to random testing, and/or attend a DUI victim’s panel. If convicted, the individual will have a 90 day driver’s license suspension. There are several issues that must be addressed quickly if you are hoping to avoid the extreme penalties of a conviction. Along with the criminal charges of minor DUI being defended; suspension of your driver’s license must be addressed at a hearing before the Department of Licensing as otherwise suspension is automatic. You must request this hearing quickly, 20 days from the date of the arrest or confirmation of a BAC. If convicted of minor DUI, along with the DOL and any court ordered suspension, you will be required to purchase high-risk Sr-22 insurance for 3 years subsequent to the conviction. If you have registered at a BAC level of 0.08 or higher, you will be prosecuted as an adult and, if convicted, you will be subject to adult penalties.
Minor in Possession, and Minor in Possession Through Consumption.
If under 21, you may also be charged with Minor in Possession simply by possession of alcohol (MIP), or by being found to be under the influence. (MIPC) You do not have to be driving a vehicle to be charged with MIPC, only to have a BAC of 0.02. Both are petite misdemeanors, with up to 90 days in jail and a $1000 fine on the table, along with probation.
How Can We Help?
If you would like to know more about your Washington Driving Under the Influence charge and what we might be able to do for you, please call us at 206-916-9110. A Consultation is free.
You may also contact us for a free consultation callback regarding how we may be able to help using the following form:
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