D.U.I - Criminal & Traffic FAQ's
What constitutes driving under the influence?
In Washington, driving a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol may subject you to a charge of Driving Under the Influence if 1. It is within two hours after driving, one’s blood alcohol concentration is at or above the legal limit of .08%; 2. One is, at the time, under the influence of any affecting liquor or drug; 3. One is affected by a combination of any liquor or drug. The court can find you guilty of Driving Under the Influence by 1. Driving within two hours of having a BAC of .08%; 2. Driving a motor vehicle when one is, at the time, under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
What is the potential penalty for DUI in Washington State?
A first time offender whose blood alcohol concentration tested at least 0.08 or who refused a BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) test faces up to all of the following:
- One day to one year in jail
- Fines and fees of up to $8,000
- DUI, alcohol and/or drug treatment
- 90 days to two years of driver’s license suspension and the ignition interlock device
- Steep insurance rate increases
Can a DUI be defended?
Every DUI case can be defended. Sometimes BAC breath tests are unreliable. Scientists have shown that “breathalyzers” can be thrown off by circumstances from what you’ve eaten to how law enforcement administers the test. If you’re charged with a DUI, don’t plead guilty before you speak to an attorney about your important legal options.
Administrative License Suspensions
Why is my license being suspended even though I haven’t been convicted?
If you were arrested and charged with DUI, chances are that the arresting officer punched a hole in your driver’s license and gave you a slip of paper that said that you could continue driving for 60 days, but that after those 60 days your driver’s license would be suspended or revoked.
The law allows the Department of Licensing to suspend your driver’s license if you refused to take a breath or blood test or if you took a breath or blood test and the results were above a 0.08 BAC. This is often referred to as the “administrative” suspension of your driver’s license because it is carried out by an administrative agency (DOL) instead of the courts.
You have a right to a hearing to challenge the administrative suspension of your driver’s license but you have to request a hearing. They do not give you a hearing automatically. You can request a hearing by mailing in a hearing request form or online via the Department of Licensing website.
If I am hired to represent you on the DUI I will represent you at the administrative DOL hearing at no extra charge.
How Long Do I Have to Request a Hearing?
The general rule is that you only have 20 days to request a hearing, starting from the date you receive the notice of your right to request a hearing. IN the vast majority of cases, you will receive this notice at the time of your arrest, meaning that you must request a hearing within 20 days of the date of your arrest.
It is very important that you do not miss this deadline. If you miss the deadline you will not be able to challenge the administrative suspension of your driver’s license.
What cases have you handled?
Our office has handled many types of criminal cases. Some types are as follows:
- DUI Criminal DEFENSE (including Physical Control)
- Reckless Driving, Negligent Driving and other criminal traffic offenses
- Felony and misdemeanor drug charges
- Domestic violence cases
- Violent crimes including Assault and Robbery
- Resisting Arrest and Failure to Obey a Police Officer
- Theft, Burglary and Trespass
- Sex Offenses
Do you assist in vacating convictions and restoration of gun rights?
Yes. You may be eligible to have your conviction vacated and your record sealed. We can help you with this.
A past conviction may have also resulted in the loss of your right to possess a firearm. This is an important right to many people – a fundamental right guaranteed by the Second Amendment. Contact my office if you are interested in having this right restored.
What are possible outcomes of attorney representation regarding traffic tickets?
Dismissing a Traffic Ticket
The prosecuting authority is required to perform certain tasks to meet legal requirements to enforce a traffic ticket. Some of those requirements exist before a ticket is properly issued and some are requested prior to the Court hearing. An attorney making proper requests after a ticket is issued and advising the Court of the police or prosecuting authorities’ failure to properly perform often results in dismissals.
Deferring A Traffic Ticket
A deferral is an agreement that requires you to go a period of time (usually 12 months) without any traffic infractions and pay an administrative fee (usually $50.00). If you fulfill those requirements the case is dismissed. You may only have one infraction deferred every 7 years. You are not eligible to have your ticket deferred if you have a CDL.
Amending A Traffic Ticket
It is often possible to amend a moving violation to a non-moving violation that does not get reported to your insurance company. For many people the biggest consequence of getting a ticket is the fact that their insurance rates will rise. Amending your ticket to a non-moving violation solves this problem, though you will usually still have to pay a fine.
You are not entitled to have your ticket amended – it is up to the discretion of the prosecutor. Some prosecutors will not agree to amend your ticket if you have a bad driving record, if there was a collision involved or if it was a ticket for speeding in a school or playground zone.
What is a Protection Order?
A protection order is a court order that states that one person cannot have contact with or come near another person. Protection orders come in several varieties, the most common of which are:
- Domestic Violence Protection Orders
- Anti-Harassment Protection Orders
There are other, less common, types of protection orders including sexual assault protection orders and vulnerable adult protection orders.
What to Do If You’ve Been Served with a Protection Order?
Take it seriously. Do not violate any terms of a temporary Protection Order. A violation of a protection order is a criminal offense. These orders can be devastating. A protection order can require that you no longer go to your own home, business or school. They can affect your ability to get a job in the future, particularly if you work in the health care industry or with children or vulnerable adults.
When a person requests a protection order the court will issue a temporary order based solely on the information that that person puts in their petition. The court is then required to hold a hearing within 14 days to determine if the temporary order should remain in effect.
There are defenses to protection orders. Because the hearing is held in such a short amount of time after the temporary order is issued, it is essential that you talk to an attorney right away. Time is of the essence. Your attorney will need to help you gather sworn written statements from witnesses and otherwise gather any evidence that you hope to present at the hearing.
At the hearing, the normal rules of evidence generally do not apply. The court can consider hearsay, for example, which would not be admissible in almost any other type of court proceeding.
How Do I Obtain a Protection Order?
If you are the victim of domestic violence, harassment, sexual assault, or abuse of a vulnerable adult, and you are afraid for your safety or the safety of your family, the papers for filing a petition are available through your local district court or superior court. If you need protection, the court may be able to issue a temporary order immediately.
If you have time, you should speak to an attorney who can help you prepare the petition to be filed in district or superior court. There are distinct legal requirements that need to be satisfied before a protection order can be issued. It is important that the evidence you present to the Court in the petition and at court have all the facts necessary to prove your case. In addition, the attorney may help you make arrangements for having the temporary served on the respondent and otherwise help you prepare for the hearing.
What Does “Domestic Violence” Mean?
“Domestic violence” is a catch-all tag that can be placed on any number of different crimes. Usually you will know that you’ve been charged with a domestic violence offense if the letters “DV” appear after the underlying charge. For example, you could be charged with “Assault-DV” or “Harassment-DV.” The “DV” tag can be added to almost any crime where the offense is committed between family or household members. Assaults, harassment, stalking and malicious mischief are some of the most common DV offenses. Some of the crimes do not involve actual physical violence between the parties.
Domestic Violence And Your Right to Possess a Firearm
Domestic violence offenses have important consequences for your right to possess a firearm. If you firearm rights are important to you, you need to make sure that your attorney is protecting those rights.