Driving under the influence (DUI) comes with significant consequences in Washington. The criminal consequences can include jail time, probation and heavy fines — but it doesn't end there.
You will also face administrative consequences, such as a suspension of your driver's license or the requirement that you only operate a vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device. Incredibly, even if your criminal charge is dismissed, you may yet suffer the administrative penalties.
At the Seattle law firm of JRC Practice, PLLC, our skilled DUI defense attorneys will work hard to combat all the effects of your charge or arrest. Our lawyers have experience with both alcohol-related and marijuana-related DUI charges. You can count on us to guide you through this and other traffic offenses with skill and compassion.
Understanding The Basic Process
Most DUIs begin with a stop for a traffic infraction, such as speeding or expired tabs. If an officer has reason to believe you have been drinking, he or she may begin asking questions and requesting that you perform certain tests. These tests are generally referred to as field sobriety tests and are voluntary, meaning you are not required to perform them.
If the officer has probable cause to believe you were under the influence of intoxicants or drugs, he or she may place you under arrest and transport you to the nearest police station to administer a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) test. Whether you take this test or refuse it, you will face significant consequences.
A Second Or Third Offense Can Mean More Than A Month In Jail
If you have a "prior offense" on your record within the last seven years and you are convicted of DUI now, you will be required to serve 30 days in jail if:
No BAC test was offered
You took the test and the result was over .08 but less than .15
You are required to serve 45 days in jail if:
You took the test and your BAC was over .15
You refused to take the test
These penalties hold true even if your first DUI charge was reduced to reckless driving, negligent driving or another lesser charge. They also hold true even if you successfully completed a deferred prosecution program. This means it is critical that you get an attorney on your side who can fight to protect you from these harsh consequences.
License Suspension Sanctions
Depending on certain facts particular to your situation, a BAC result over .08 may result in a suspension of your license for 90 days. If you refuse to take the test, your license will likely be suspended for one year.
You have an opportunity to request a hearing to challenge the suspension of your license, but that request must be filed within 20 days and requires a nonrefundable $375 fee. What is most confusing is that the license suspension is an administrative process that is completely separate from the criminal charge.In fact, it is possible to have your DUI charge dismissed but still receive a license suspension.
Defending You From Marijuana So-Called "Green" DUI Charges In Seattle
It is legal to possess and consume certain amounts of cannabis for recreational use in Washington. However, more and more people are being charged with so-called "green DUIs," or driving under the influence of marijuana.
It is illegal to drive while impaired by weed or any other substance. However, the police cannot measure marijuana use with a breath test, as they can with alcohol consumption. Instead, they have to use a blood test to measure the level of THC (the active chemical in pot) in your blood. If your test shows five nanograms of THC or more per milliliter (the cannabis equivalent of .08 blood alcohol content (BAC)), you may be charged with DUI marijuana.
Seek A Lawyer Who Knows How To Defend You From Drugged Driving Charges
At the Seattle law firm of JRC Practice, PLLC, we have successfully represented clients facing drug DUI cases. Our clients come from a wide range of backgrounds, and there is no shame in being in the wrong place at the wrong time nor in making a mistake. Our skilled defense lawyers will vigorously defend you from DUI charges.
Founding attorney Jesse Corkern spoke at the Cannabis Resource Center in Seattle. In addition, he has repeatedly been interviewed on National Public Radio (NPR) programs regarding this topic.*
Even A First Offense Can Carry Heavy Penalties
The penalties for a marijuana DUI conviction depend on a variety of factors. Even if this is your first conviction, you may face up to $5,000 in fines and up to a year in jail. You will also lose your driver's license for 90 days.
At JRC Practice, PLLC, we will do everything possible to minimize the penalties you face. In some cases, we have been successful in getting DUI charges completely dismissed.
Don't Wait — Get A Free Consultation With A Skilled Attorney
As you can imagine, it is imperative that your defense attorney be familiar with the nuanced web of DUI statutes and administrative restrictions. Our lawyers are intimately familiar with the complexities and legal issues surrounding DUI charges in Washington.
We will investigate whether law enforcement had probable cause to stop your vehicle, whether the search or seizure was conducted lawfully and whether certain pieces of evidence (such as field sobriety tests and breath tests) should be admitted or suppressed in court.
Request a free consultation with our DUI and drug crime defense attorney by calling JRC Practice, PLLC, at 206-395-9059. You can also send us an email. We make jail visits and offer weekend appointments upon request.
*Listen to or read the transcript of a recent NPR segment called, "There May Be A Green Light For Pot, But Not For Driving High."