Getting arrested and charged with a DUI and trying to navigate the legal process can be disorienting and overwhelming. It’s not unheard of to forget important information in the heat of the moment. The most important thing you can do, when the red and blue lights are flashing and a law enforcement officer is reading you your rights, is to ask for an attorney.
Whether you’re confused, upset, or unsure after an arrest, an experienced Sumner criminal defense attorney can help you understand what’s happening and keep you from incriminating yourself.
Being convicted of driving under the influence can impact your life in ways you may not be aware of beyond just jail time or fines. A lot of people don’t realize that the loss of employment (and the inability to be employed in certain jobs in the future), higher insurance rates, serious financial setbacks, personal and family embarrassment, and having that conviction on your driving record for years can have a lifelong effect on your future.
With so much at stake, you probably have questions about your DUI charges. We have designed this website to answer some of the most frequently asked questions regarding DUI’s in Pierce County. If you don’t see your question answered below, please contact our Sumner criminal defense attorneys. We offer a free case evaluation for new clients so that we can get to know the facts of your case and you can ask us any questions you may have.Frequently Asked Questions About DUI’s Answered by a Sumner Criminal Defense Attorney What Is the Law in Pierce County Regarding DUI’s?
Washington State Statute RCW 46.61.50 states that
(1) A person is guilty of driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, marijuana, or any drug if the person drives a vehicle within this state:
(a) And the person has, within two hours after driving, an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher as shown by analysis of the person's breath or blood ….or
(b) The person has, within two hours after driving, a THC concentration of 5.00 or higher as shown by analysis of the person's blood …. or
(c) While the person is under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor, marijuana, or any drug; or
(d) While the person is under the combined influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor, marijuana, and any drug.
BAC stands for Blood Alcohol Content. Basically, it’s the amount of alcohol present in your bloodstream at the time you were pulled over. The most accurate way to test for a BAC is through a blood or urine sample, however, most law enforcement officers begin with a breathalyzer test. A breathalyzer test is a small contraption that the officer will have you blow into. This device is used to determine the amount of alcohol in exhaled breath, which correlates to the amount of alcohol in a person’s blood.
If you wanted to try to calculate your own BAC and didn’t have a portable breathalyzer handy, you could use what’s called the Widmark Formula which is BAC= [Alcohol consumed in grams / (Body Weight in grams x R)] X 100. In this equation, R stands for gender, and the standard number used is .55 for females and .68 for males.What Is a Field Sobriety Test?
When you have been pulled over for a suspected DUI, often the first thing a law enforcement officer will do after asking to see your driver’s license and car registration will be to administer a field sobriety test.
Did you know that in Washington state, field sobriety tests are voluntary? Participating in a field sobriety test can give the officer probable cause for charging you with a DUI, so it’s in your best interest to refuse a field sobriety test and ask to speak with a lawyer immediately upon arrest.Do I Have to Submit to a Breathalyzer if I’m Pulled Over for a DUI in Sumner?
It is worth noting that, unlike field sobriety tests, it is mandatory to submit to a breathalyzer or blood test. Washington state carries specific penalties that will be added to your charge if you refuse a breathalyzer or blood test after being arrested for a DUI.What Are the Punishments for Refusing a Breathalyzer in Pierce County?
Washington state law demands that any person who refuses a breathalyzer have additional penalties added to their charges.
First DUI offense:
- 2 Days in Jail
- License suspension for 2 years
Second DUI offense:
- 45 days in jail
- License suspension for 3 years
Third DUI offense:
- 120 days in jail
- License suspension for 4 years
Bear in mind that these charges are in addition to any penalties you may incur if you’re found guilty of a DUI in Sumner.What Are the Punishments for a Dui if Convicted in Pierce County?
The number of times you have been arrested for or charged with DUI has a significant bearing on how you will be sentenced. Washington state statute has mandatory minimum penalties for each DUI offense. The penalties for each offense are also dependent upon whether the accused had a higher or lower blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.15, or if there was an injury to another person.
First Offense DUI punishments include:
- A fine between $800-$5,000
- 1 to 364 days in jail
- Minimum of 90 days license suspension
- Ignition Interlock Device (IID) for one year
- Up to five years probation
Second Offense DUI punishments include:
- Fines between $1,000-$5,000
- 30-364 days in jail
- Electric Home monitoring (EHM) for 60-90 days
- Minimum 2 years license suspension
- Five years of IID
- Five years of Probation
Third Offense DUI punishments include:
- Fines between $1800-$5,000
- 90-364 days in jail
- EHM for 120 days
- Minimum 3 years license suspension
- 10 years of IID
- Five years of probation
Most DUI charges in Washington state are considered to be gross misdemeanors. If you have been charged with DUI in Sumner, your court appearance will most likely be in either Bonney Lake Municipal Court or Pierce County District Court. The location of your court appearance is dependent upon several factors, including the location of your arrest.How a Sumner DUI Defense Attorney Can Help You
When it comes to DUI offenses, there’s a lot of science involved. We’re talking about people being arrested and charged based on officer observation and chemical test results. Not every attorney is equipped to handle these complex cases.
Don’t attempt to handle alone the complexity of a DUI charge in Pierce County where the serious consequences of failure are very difficult to overcome. Our experienced Sumner criminal defense attorneys can help you with a DUI charge by protecting your rights. Call us today for a no-cost case consultation to get the help you deserve.