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DUI Defense

We defend the rights of people charged with DUI Washington State by providing aggressive, realistic, practical and experienced representation.  We will walk you through the processes, answer your questions, and defend your rights.  We specialize in DUI defense in Clark, Cowlitz, Skamania and Lewis Counties. Call to put our experience to work for you.

Right from the beginning, everyone charged with DUI must understand DUI is a crime.  A DUI is not just a traffic ticket.  It is a crime that is taken very seriously through the criminal courts and by the Department of Licensing.  DUI must be taken seriously, and your rights should be protected by an attorney who is devoted to DUI defense.  If you are facing a DUI, or if someone you love is facing a DUI, it is vital to understand that the consequences of a DUI conviction are severe.

Washington takes DUI crimes very seriously, requiring MANDATORY minimum jail sentences, MANDATORY fines upon conviction and MANDATORY license suspensions.  RCW 46.61.502 defines driving under the influence in as driving in Washington while:

  • under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor or a drug;
  • under the combined influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor or a drug; or
  • having sufficient alcohol in your body to have an alcohol concentration of .08 or higher within 2 hours of driving as shown by an accurate and reliable test of your breath or blood.

It is also vital to understand that if you are actually facing two separate cases if you are facing a DUI.  The first is the DUI criminal prosecution brought by the prosecuting authority.  The second is brought by the Department of Licensing (DOL) to suspend/revoke your driver license.  The cases are separate from each other, and our office can help you with both.

Criminal Consequences

DUI is typically considered a gross misdemeanor and carries a maximum punishment of 365 days in jail and a $5,000 fine.  Washington also imposes a mandatory minimum jail term and mandatory minimum fines which depend upon the BAC result, a refusal to take the BAC test, or whether there are prior offenses within a 7-year period.  The following illustrates the various potential penalties for a DUI conviction.

WASHINGTON STATE DUI GRID AND PENALTY CHART

BAC less than .15% (Or No Test Result)

No Prior DUI’s within Past 7 Years

One Prior DUI within Past 7 Years

2-3 Priors DUI’s within Past 7 Years

Jail Time

24 hours minimum

at least 30 days

at least 90 days

Electronic Detention/Home Confinement

To avoid jail, must serve at least 15 days

60 days

120 days

Fines/Assessments

$350-$5,000 ($866 total min.)

$500-$5,000 ($1,121 total min.)

$1,000-$5,000 ($1,971 total min.)

Suspension/Revocation

90-Day Suspension

2-Year Revocation

3-Year Revocation

Ignition Interlock

Required

Required

Required

Alcohol/Drug Education or Treatment

Determined By The Court

Determined By The Court

Determined By The Court

BAC .15 % or more or Test Refusal

No Priors DUI’s within Past 7 Years

One Prior DUI within Past 7 Years

2-3 Priors DUI’s within Past 7 Years

Jail Time

48 hours minimum

at least 45 days

at least 120 days

Electronic Detention

To avoid jail, must serve at least 30 days

90 Days

150 Days

Fines/Assessments

$500-$5,000 ($1,121 total min.)

$750-$5,000 ($,1,546 total min.)

$1,500-$5,000 ($2,821 total min.)

Suspension/Revocation

1-Year Revocation; 2 years if BAC refusal

900-Day Revocation; 3 years if BAC refusal

4-Year Revocation

Ignition Interlock

Required

Required

Required

Alcohol/Drug Education or Treatment

Determined By The Court

Determined By The Court

Determined By The Court

The law includes factors, however, that can cause a DUI charge to change from a gross misdemeanor to a class C felony.  The maximum penalty for a felony DUI in Washington is 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.  The prosecution may pursue a DUI as a class C felony if:

  • the person charged has 4 or more prior DUI offences within 10 years; and/or
  • the person has ever been convicted of any of the following:
    • vehicular homicide while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug;
    • vehicular assault while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug;
    • any out-of-state offence comparable to either of the above; or
    • any violation of RCW 46.61.502(6) or RCW 46.61.504(6)

DOL Consequences

Driver License suspensions and hearings are entirely separated from the DUI prosecution.  The Department of Licensing has the ability to suspend and/or greatly limit driving privileges independent of sentences imposed as part of a DUI conviction.

For the DUI prosecution, the prosecuting authority must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.  The Department of Licensing, on the other hand, conducts all hearings for suspensions itself and only needs to prove a DUI allegation against someone by a “preponderance of the evidence.”  This standard is much lower than “beyond a reasonable doubt.”  This means that the Department of Licensing only needs to show that is more likely than not (think of more than 50% likely) that the police officer’s version of events is correct.

There are several options for dealing with DUI allegations with the Department of Licensing.  Discussing your situation with an experienced attorney will help you decide which option is right for you.

Our office knows that a DUI allegation is not just another traffic ticket.  It is a crime that Washington takes very seriously.  Both the criminal and Department of Licensing aspects of a DUI must be addressed in order to minimize the impact on your driving and criminal records as well as your privileges on the road.  Contact us to see how we can put our experience to work for you.