A DUI, also known as a DWI, is a charge that is aggressively prosecuted in most jurisdictions. Washington, in particular, has stringent legislation governing a DUI. As such, if you are charged and successfully convicted for a DUI in Washington, you are likely to face stringent penalties associated with the charge.
In addition to the statutory penalties and possible suspension of your driver’s license, you are likely to have a ruined record. A criminal record means lost job opportunities and stigmatization from members of society.
Here is an overview of the critical facts you need to know about a DUI in Washington and how a DUI attorney from the Bugbee law firm can help you.
Understanding DUI Charges in Washington: The Legal Basis
A DUI charge is classified as a misdemeanor in Washington. For the prosecution to charge you and successfully convict you of this offense, they will need to demonstrate that you were driving:
- With a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .08 or higher
- With a blood THC (marijuana) level of 5.0 per millimeter or higher
- Under the influence of a combination of drugs and alcohol
- Under the influence or affected by an intoxicating substance
Equally important to note is that the BAC limit for commercial drivers is .04 or higher, while minors under 21 are .02 or higher.
What does it mean to be in “Physical control” of the Vehicle?
More recently, Washington introduced a stringent rule known as the “physical control rule.” Stated simply, the rule is to the effect that a driver can be charged with a DUI and convicted for being in physical control of the vehicle. In other words, you might face a DUI charge even if you were not driving the car.
The state’s logic for introducing the physical control rule is based on the fact that an intoxicated driver in a parked car has the potential to drive while intoxicated. Unfortunately, you may find yourself facing the even if you had pulled over to the side of the road after having too much to drink.
Admittedly the physical control rule is stringent and applies to anyone who is in physical control of a vehicle while intoxicated. Therefore, if you realize you can’t drive safely, you need to call someone to pick you up or get a taxi. Essentially, this will help you avoid Potential DUI charges.
Understanding Washington’s Implied Consent law
In addition to the physical control rule, Washington’s DUI statute also has an implied consent rule governing the DUI charge. Under this rule, if an officer with probable cause pulls you over at the side of the road, you are required to take a BAC test administered at the roadside.
Although you have a right to refuse the test, you risk getting arrested, and your driver’s license will be suspended for 1 year if you refuse. Additionally, you risk facing a conviction for DUI, which is accompanied by stringent penalties.
What are the Potential Penalties for a DUI in Washington?
If you are charged and successfully convicted for a DUI in Washington, you are likely to face stringent penalties associated with the charge. Typically, the DUI statute in Washington imposes a set of minimum penalties. Oftentimes, the penalties consist of mandatory jail time, fines, and driver’s license suspension. However, this will depend on several factors.
First-time DUI in Washington
If you are a first-time offender, the penalties imposed are not stringent. One of the critical things that the court will look at is your BAC level. Put briefly, if your BAC level were found to be under 0.15%, the following penalties would be imposed:
- A minimum of a day and a maximum of one year in jail.
- Fines of up to $ 5,000
- Driver’s license suspension of up to 90 days
- An ignition interlock device may be installed after completing your suspension period.
- Possible drug education
On the other hand, if your BAC level was found to be above 0.15, you are likely to face the following penalties:
- A maximum of one year in jail
- Fines between $ 1,078 and $ 5,000.
- Mandatory installation of an interlock ignition device
- Possible drug education.
Noteworthy is that in case you are convicted as a first-time offender, you may substitute jail time with electronic home monitoring.
Repeat DUI offender in Washington
You may be classified as a repeat offender if you’ve been charged with a DUI in Washington. Typically, the law imposes more stringent penalties on repeat offenders than first-time offenders. For this reason, you need a competent and qualified attorney to handle your case.
The following are some of the potential penalties likely to be imposed on you if you are a repeat DUI offender in Washington:
- Minimum of 45 days and a maximum of one year in jail
- Fines of up to $ 5,000.
- Driver’s license suspension of two years
- Mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device
That said, the potential penalties likely to be imposed on DUI offenders in Washington are stringent. They can have a significant impact on your life in general.
As such, if you are facing a DUI charge in Washington, you need to act promptly to avoid conviction. Essentially, a DUI attorney can help safeguard your rights and interests in the case and, at the same time, will work hard to ensure that the charges are reduced or dropped altogether.
Potential Defenses to a DUI charge in Washington
There are certain defenses that your defense attorney can invoke in your DUI case. These defenses are strategically aimed at impeaching the credibility of the prosecution’s evidence and, at the same time, defeating the charges.
Stated simply, some of the potential defenses applicable in your DUI case in Washington include:
- Errors in the BAC test
- Lack of Probable cause
- Violation of your Miranda rights
Facing a DUI charge in Washington? Contact a DUI Attorney Today
If you or your loved one is facing a DUI charge in Washington, it is imperative to act quickly to avoid conviction. Even when the case seems to have merit, it would be best to have a DUI attorney handle it. Essentially an attorney at the Bugbee law firm has skills and experience handling DUI cases I. Washington and will work hard to ensure that your case is successful.
Contact us today for a free case evaluation.
The seriousness of an assault charge in the state of Washington depends on the specific nature of the assault. But, whether classified as a misdemeanor or felony, an assault is always considered a violent crime in the eyes of the law.
These days there is a great deal of pressure on our law enforcement and the court system to prosecute violent crimes to the fullest extent of the law. Because of this, criminal prosecutors have a vast amount of resources at their disposal.
Therefore, if you are arrested and charged with an assault, you need to even the playing field by hiring a criminal defense attorney who can bring their resources and the resources of their law firm to your defense. Contact Bugbee Law Office at (509) 337-5082.