DUI

Driving Under the Influence?

At Iddins Law Group, we strive to make the process of navigating DUI cases as simple and painless as possible. DUI is a serious offense, and we take your defense seriously. We fully understand that anyone can be blindsided by a DUI, and we are here to help you through that difficult time. Our attorneys will explore every possible avenue and work tirelessly to save you from charges, harsh sentencing, and long-term consequences.

In Washington, DUI law is a complex web of regulations, statutes, conditions, legal precedents, and evidence issues. Below are some frequently asked questions about DUI law. Our answers are not legal advice, but we want to give you some valuable information as you decide what to do about a DUI charge.

We are always here to help. Please contact us to learn more about the services we offer our clients and how we can help you through this difficult time.

If you have been arrested or cited for DUI, once charges have been filed, you will be sent a summons to the address you have on file with the court, most likely the same one you have on file with the DOL. You may not receive the summons right away because the State has up to 2 years from the date of the incident to charge you with the crime. The summons will tell you to show up for an arraignment on a specific date.

It is crucial you appear for the arraignment (and all other hearings) because the court can issue a bench warrant if you fail to appear. If that happens and the police talk to you for any reason (speeding ticket, car accident, etc.), they can arrest you based on the bench warrant.

Arraignment is the start of a DUI case. You will need to enter a plea. Most people plead “not guilty” at arraignment. The court will then order conditions of release, which can involve bail, a pre-trial ignition interlock on your car, 24/7 alcohol monitoring, and a number of other conditions, whatever the judge deems necessary to keep the public safe and ensure you return for future hearings..

If you have not had your arraignment yet, now is the best time to call a DUI attorney. You and your attorney can plan the case from the beginning. You can anticipate conditions of release; for example, if bail seems likely, you can have your bail bond ready to go so you don’t have to spend a day in jail, or if you need an Ignition Interlock, you can have one installed by the day of your arraignment. Lawyers and judges always appreciate proactive defendants.

If you are looking for a lawyer for your arraignment, please call Iddins Law Group. We can help you from start to finish.

It is never a bad idea to have a lawyer when charged with any crime, especially DUI. The law is complex, and DUI law changes all the time. DUI lawyers keep up to date on all the latest developments in the law, and they know how to work within the law to get the best possible outcome for their clients.

If the State believes you cannot afford a lawyer because you are within a certain percentage of the poverty line, you can get a public defender, which is an option. They are talented and motivated lawyers who practice criminal law exclusively. However, most people do not qualify for public defender representation because they make too much money to qualify.

A private DUI defense attorney can make your case for you. DUI lawyers carry a smaller caseload than public defenders and can spend a lot more time with each individual case. They can also make appointments with alcohol and drug evaluators, sign clients up for victim impact panels, and help people keep or get back their driver’s licenses.

Everyone has heard of a DUI, and if asked for a definition, most people would say you get a DUI for driving drunk. This is often true, but there is more to it than that.

DUI stands for Driving Under the Influence. In Washington, there are more ways to get a DUI than being drunk while driving down the road. Here are 5 ways someone driving a motor vehicle can get a DUI in Washington:

1. Having a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of 0.08 or higher within 2 hours of driving.

2. Having a marijuana concentration of 5 nanograms or higher within 2 hours of driving

3. Having a concentration of any “intoxicating” drug (methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, oxycontin) over 0.00 which affects the driver’s ability to drive. This includes legally prescribed drugs such as Ambien and Xanex

4. Having any amount of alcohol in the bloodstream which affects the driver’s ability to drive

5. Having any combination of alcohol, marijuana, and/or other drugs in the bloodstream which affects the driver’s ability to drive

Legal Consequences:

The penalty structure for DUI is complicated. The maximum for a first, second, or third DUI is 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. Under certain circumstances a DUI can be a felony, which dramatically increases the sentence (see “What is a Felony DUI?” below).

Very few people are sentenced to the maximum, even on a third DUI. However, the State of Washington also has mandatory minimum sentences “man mins” for DUIs. These man mins are based off (1) the number of prior DUIs a person has had in the last 7 years and (2) the blood alcohol content of the offender.

The court has created a DUI Sentencing Grid to explain man mins in detail. It can be found here. The Grid is complicated and confusing for anyone who is not a DUI lawyers (and for some who are). Here are the basics for a first DUI:

First DUI in 7 years
(BAC less than 0.15)    =      24 hours in jail

  • $940.50 fine
  • 90-day license suspension
  • Ignition Interlock per DOL

First DUI in 7 years (BAC more than
0.15 or if a breath test is refused)               =      48 hours in jail

  • $1,195.50 fine
  • 1 to 2-year license revocation
  • Ignition Interlock per DOL

Other Consequences:

Typically, in addition to the sentence, the court will order certain conditions. These are mandatory, meaning the court can add jail time after sentencing if a person does not abide by the order. Conditions include: drug and alcohol evaluations, drug and alcohol treatment, sober support groups (such as AA), a victim impact panel, meeting with a probation officer, and no consumption or possession of alcohol or drugs. The court can make these conditions last for years, and violations result in more hearings, probation extensions, and additional jail time. Failure to pay fines can also be a violation.

People often lose jobs due to DUI because they cannot drive or have to take time off to go to alcohol treatment or rehab. Commercial truckers often lose their CDLs. A social stigma attaches to someone who gets a DUI. The list goes on and on.

A good DUI lawyer will help you avoid as many of these consequences as possible right from the beginning of the case. If you decide to hire a DUI lawyer, do it sooner rather than later.

Legal Consequences:

The penalty structure for DUI is complicated. The maximum for a first, second, or third DUI is 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. Under certain circumstances a DUI can be a felony, which dramatically increases the sentence (see “What is a Felony DUI?” below).

Very few people are sentenced to the maximum, even on a third DUI. However, the State of Washington also has mandatory minimum sentences “man mins” for DUIs. These man mins are based off (1) the number of prior DUIs a person has had in the last 7 years and (2) the blood alcohol content of the offender.

The court has created a DUI Sentencing Grid to explain man mins in detail. It can be found here. The Grid is complicated and confusing for anyone who is not a DUI lawyers (and for some who are). Here are the basics for a first DUI:

First DUI in 7 years
(BAC less than 0.15)    =      24 hours in jail

  • $940.50 fine
  • 90-day license suspension
  • Ignition Interlock per DOL

First DUI in 7 years (BAC more than
0.15 or if a breath test is refused)               =      48 hours in jail

  • $1,195.50 fine
  • 1 to 2-year license revocation
  • Ignition Interlock per DOL

Other Consequences:

Typically, in addition to the sentence, the court will order certain conditions. These are mandatory, meaning the court can add jail time after sentencing if a person does not abide by the order. Conditions include: drug and alcohol evaluations, drug and alcohol treatment, sober support groups (such as AA), a victim impact panel, meeting with a probation officer, and no consumption or possession of alcohol or drugs. The court can make these conditions last for years, and violations result in more hearings, probation extensions, and additional jail time. Failure to pay fines can also be a violation.

People often lose jobs due to DUI because they cannot drive or have to take time off to go to alcohol treatment or rehab. Commercial truckers often lose their CDLs. A social stigma attaches to someone who gets a DUI. The list goes on and on.

A good DUI lawyer will help you avoid as many of these consequences as possible right from the beginning of the case. If you decide to hire a DUI lawyer, do it sooner rather than later.

If a person has more than 3 prior DUIs within the last 10 years, all subsequent DUIs will be charged as felony DUIs. Felony DUI is a very serious charge, and people can spend years in jail because of a felony DUI.

Even first DUIs can become felonies when they are charged as Vehicular Assault or Vehicular Homicide. Vehicular Assault, a felony, can result when a DUI results in a car accident and someone is seriously injured. If someone is killed in a DUI related car accident, the charge is Vehicular Homicide.

YES.

It is a common misconception that no one “gets off” when charged with DUI. This is not true.

One defense is post-driving consumption. If it can be determined that the driver consumed enough alcohol after driving but before the breath or blood test, the driver has a valid defense.

Other defenses involve legal concepts such as probable cause and the definition of a moving violation. Other defenses are factual, such as whether the breath machine has been properly calibrated and maintained.

That being said, DUI defenses require investigation, research, a thorough understanding of what needs to be proven to claim the defense, and a fair amount of finesse.

From the date of arraignment, the prosecution has 90 days to either resolve pretrial or take a driver to trial. Certain legal strategies might make it better to extend the case, but all Americans have the right to a speedy and public trial. Generally, a case will take 3-6 months under normal circumstances.

Probation on DUI cases is often 2-5 years, meaning the case will not technically be closed until then.

Note on COVID-19: Court rules which normally govern speedy trial rights have been altered by the pandemic, which has extended the length of a DUI case. It is not possible to truly determine how long a case can last at this time. However, a DUI lawyer may be able to resolve the case in a shorter amount of time, depending on the case.

Plea bargains are deals made between the defense attorney and the prosecutor. In exchange for a guilty plea, the prosecutor may reduce the charge to Reckless or Negligent Driving, which carry lesser penalties and do not require jail time, or the prosecutor may agree to man mins on a DUI with a high BAC.

BUT even if a plea deal is made with the prosecutor, the judge can still sentence you to more jail time, higher fines, or additional conditions.

Clients have the final say on whether to accept a plea deal or proceed to trial.

Besides DUI, many other offenses qualify as prior offenses in Washington. These include Reckless Driving and Negligent Driving, if they were alcohol related or dropped down from a DUI charge.

To affect man mins, priors must occur within 7 years of the arrest.

Priors can become very complicated depending on when a person is arrested, charged, convicted, or sentenced for a prior. If there is overlap between a prior and a current offense, a DUI lawyer needs to ensure that each case is addressed at the proper time to avoid being sentenced more harshly for both offenses. It is a very difficult area of DUI law to understand.

Again, priors are not good, but a DUI attorney can help.

Priors are not good. Within 7 years, they increase minimum sentences. Outside 7 years, they make a prosecutor or a judge less likely to go for a good plea deal or short sentence.

If you have 3 or more priors in 10 years, your new DUI is a felony.

Washington law allows a person who has been diagnosed with chemical dependency or alcoholism to enter into an agreement with the State and the court. You can petition the court for the deferred prosecution. If you are diagnosed as chemically dependent by a qualified drug and alcohol evaluator, the court will usually grant the petition. You must promise to complete certain requirements, including drug and alcohol treatment and a victim impact panel. In exchange, the State will not prosecute you. If you complete the program, do not consume or possess alcohol during the time period set by the court, and do not violate any other conditions, the case will be dismissed. Below are the pros and cons of entering into a deferred prosecution.

Pros:

·   You will not lose your driving privileges

·   You will not go to jail if you fulfill the agreement.

Cons:

·   It is costly. You will need to pay for treatment, which can cost thousands of dollars, even if health insurance pays for some of it. Most treatment plans will require time off work or school to complete.

·   An Ignition Interlock is required for 1 year by the DOL, and your driver’s license will be in probationary status for 7 years.

·   Going to 2 AA meetings and 3 treatment appointments every week is a lot harder than it might sound.

·   Violations can result in reinstatement of the charge and subject the you to man mins.

·  The prosecution, the court, and probation officers keep you on a very short leash and will recommend revocation for lots of things, many of which are out of your control

·   A deferred prosecution still qualifies as a prior for the purposes of a subsequent DUI charge, and a person can only get one deferred prosecution in his or her lifetime.

·   Other than the fines and the jail time, most conditions of a DUI sentence are also conditions of a deferred prosecutions.

Deferred prosecutions are not ideal for most DUI cases. Generally, the only people who benefit from deferred prosecution are true alcoholics or addicts who actively want to get sober.

Yes. The DOL will hold a hearing if you request one within 7 days of the date of arrest and pay the $375 fee. You or your lawyer can argue why your license should not be suspended.

It is ALWAYS a good idea to request a hearing. The worst that can happen is they say “no” and suspend/revoke your license, which they would have done anyway if you hadn’t asked for a hearing. If the hearing goes well, your license might not get suspended/revoked.

Yes. You can apply for an Ignition Interlock License (IIL). You will be able to drive if you have an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) installed in ANY VEHICLE YOU DRIVE, including work vehicles. Although there are ways to get around the restriction when it comes to work vehicles.

An IID is also known as a “blow and go.” It will measure your BAC. If the BAC is over 0.04, the car will not start. Beware, failed tests may be used against you in court and may result in a violation hearing.

No two DUI cases are the same. Because of this, most good DUI lawyers do not charge a standard fee for all DUIs. Our fees based on the facts of the case, criminal history, prior DUIs and related offenses, BAC levels, and other factors. Cases requiring experts, investigators, numerous hearings, complex licensing issues and heavy research will be more expensive.

While we are not a “discount” DUI firm, Iddins Law Group only assesses fees that are reasonable and consistent with the needs of each case. We invite any questions you may have regarding the fee for your case, and we offer Arraignment Only fees to get your case started on the right foot, even if you don’t retain us for the rest of your case.

We hope this information has been useful to you, and we look forward to helping you in any way we can. Feel free to contact us at any time at 253-854-1244.

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