If you have been arrested for an alcohol-related driving offense (DUI), you need an aggressive and experienced Spokane criminal defense attorney. Our law firm has handled countless criminal law jury and non-jury trials in area courts and we know how to get results.
All states have strict DUI laws and Washington is no exception. Even first-time offenders are treated very harshly – a person could face jail time, fines, and possibly a loss of their driving rights for a mandatory amount of time. Drivers need to remember that a DUI charge applies to not only alcohol but also to drugs. Over-the-counter medications, prescription drugs, and illegal drugs that impair your driving could also result in DUI charges. Anyone who is arrested and facing DUI charges should contact a criminal defense attorney with experience handling DUI matters in Washington.
A Serious Criminal Offense
Police and prosecutors are aggressive about catching and punishing DUI offenders and Washington has some of the most extreme mandatory penalties in the nation. If you are convicted of either misdemeanor or felony-level DUI, the consequences you face are severe.
Potential penalties include:
Alcohol evaluation and treatment
The suspension of your license
A period of probation
If you have prior DUI offenses on your record, the mandatory minimum penalties are significantly increased. Vehicular homicide carries a mandatory prison term and vehicular assault has a harsh mandatory minimum sentence. You cannot afford mistakes in your defense against drinking and driving charges.
If the police have not followed proper procedures or if any evidence was not gathered or handled appropriately, we have the experience and tenacity to find out. Our DUI defense attorneys attack these criminal law cases from every angle.
BAC Levels & DUI Arrests
When you are stopped for a DUI, many times you will be asked to submit to blood alcohol testing. The level of alcohol (BAC) in your blood will determine what charges you will be facing. Commercial vehicle operators must have a blood alcohol level of less than .04, drivers under the age of 21 must have BAC of less than .02, and all other drivers must have levels of less than .08. Any amount higher will result in charges of DUI.
Testing for drugs is a bit more complex and is based on THC levels. It is possible that you could be charged with a DUI even if your blood alcohol is below the above-mentioned amounts if the officer believes that you were driving while impaired.
Ignition Interlocking Device License
Drivers who have had their license suspended for a DUI or a drug offense may be eligible to drive if they agree to have an Ignition Interlock Driver’s License (IIL). This license allows you to drive but you must meet certain eligibility requirements.
To qualify, you must:
Be a resident of Washington and your license cannot be expired
Have been arrested or convicted of DUI involving alcohol or drugs
Have been found guilty of reckless driving charges or have been involved in a vehicular assault or homicide involving alcohol or drugs
Not have had your license revoked because you were a minor or classified as a habitual offender
Understanding the Consequences of a DUI Conviction
After you are arrested, you may have to attend a trial to determine whether you are guilty of driving under the influence – this is a right of all defendants charged with a DUI. Your DUI defense attorney will help you determine whether you should ask for a jury trial or accept a “bench” trial, which is held by a judge only.
In addition to a life-long criminal record and the requirement of an ignition interlocking device, you could be facing the following sentences and penalties:
First offense: You could face jail time of up to one year (with a minimum of one day), fines of up to $5,000, and your license could be suspended for up to one year.
Second offense: You will face a minimum jail sentence of 30 days and may face up to one year of jail time. Fines can be as much as $5,000 and your license suspension could be as long as 900 days.
Third offense: Minimum jail time of 90 days or up to one year accompanied by fines of $5,000. In the event of a third conviction, your license could be suspended for three to four years.
It is important to remember that Washington’s look-back period on DUI charges is seven years. That means anytime you are arrested and convicted of a DUI, the DOL will review your driving record for prior convictions.
Contact the Spokane DUI Lawyers at Twyford Law Office
DUI charges are serious and you should seek immediate assistance from an experienced DUI defense attorney if you are facing these charges. In most cases, it is best to contact a DUI lawyer skilled in criminal law as soon as possible to discuss your options.
Call Twyford Law Office at (509) 327-0777 if you have been arrested for a DUI charge. Our Spokane DUI defense lawyers will work hard to protect your rights and provide zealous advocacy.