Tumwater DUI

Have You Been Charged With Driving Under the Influence in Thurston County?

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a serious crime in Washington State, even if it’s your first offense. If convicted of DUI, you could lose your driver’s license, your job, and your future prospects. Your insurance rates will almost certainly increase, and you will also face substantial fines. In some cases, a guilty verdict may even result in jail time.

If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI in Thurston County, you probably have some questions.

  • Can I even fight a DUI charge?
  • Is there a difference between DUI and DWI?
  • How serious is a DUI charge?
  • Will I go to jail if this is my first DUI?

This website will attempt to explain the basics of DUI/DWI charges in Thurston County. If you wish to speak to an experienced Tumwater DUI lawyer about the specifics of your case, we suggest you contact our firm immediately for a free confidential case consultation.

The benefits of working with an experienced Tumwater DUI attorney are manifest. The goal of our firm is in the guidance of you, the client, as you navigate the process of the criminal justice system in Washington. An experienced lawyer helps build the defense from the ground up, from your own stories, and from the work of the team to achieve a successful result for you. Whether your case seems hopeless or you have been wrongfully charged, an experienced DUI lawyer can obtain a successful result through hard work and knowledge of the legal system in Thurston County.

What Does Being Charged With DUI Mean in Tumwater?

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.

Under certain conditions, you may be charged even if you have a lower BAC. These include:

  • Driving a commercial vehicle (BAC at or over 0.04%)
  • Being under the legal age of consumption, which in Washington is 21 (BAC at or over 0.02%)

It is worth noting that in addition to the reasons provided above, an officer of the law in Tumwater may arrest you for a DUI on suspicious behavior alone. This means that you can still get a DUI, regardless of the concentration of alcohol or drugs, if an officer suspects that you are driving under the influence according to their judgment. Some reasons an officer might suspect you of driving under the influence include

  • Speed (either going too fast or too slow)
  • Wide right turns
  • Failure to maintain the lane (also known as ‘swerving’)
  • Lights off (or broken tail lights/brake lights)
  • Failure to signal
  • Stopping inappropriately
  • Following too closely

As you can see, many traffic infractions that you’ve seen performed on a daily basis by hundreds of sober drivers can result in a traffic stop by an officer of the law. Once you’ve been pulled over, this is when the officer may ask you to perform a series of field sobriety tests. Did you know that you can legally refuse to perform a field sobriety test? Currently, no state in the United States of America legally requires its citizens to submit to field sobriety tests.

If you own a television or watch movies, you’ve seen some variation of the field sobriety test in any form of entertainment featuring officers of the law. Some examples of these tests are:

  • Walking in a straight line (usually heel to toe formation)
  • Reciting your ABC’s
  • Standing balanced on one foot for a certain amount of time
  • Touching your finger to the tip of your nose while your eyes are closed

If you have already submitted to a field sobriety test, an experienced Thurston County DUI lawyer has ways of getting the test results dismissed by the court. However, under Washington state’s Implied Consent Law - just by driving your motor vehicle, you have already consented to a breath or blood test. Refusing to take a breath or blood test will be even more detrimental to your case than taking the test and having the results.

What happens if you refuse a breathalyzer or blood test in Tumwater?

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

You are required to give the officer your name, driver’s license, and registration. You are not obligated to answer any potentially incriminating questions. Should you find yourself in this situation, politely decline further comment by saying that you would like to speak with an attorney first. Any extra information you give to the officer is only going to be used as evidence against you. Silence is not an admission of guilt, and your speaking patterns, tone of voice, word choice, or any speech impairment may be used as evidence against you.

Is There a Difference between DUI and DWI in Tumwater?

If you are charged with impaired driving, it’s important to have an understanding of Washington State laws regarding driving under the influence. Educating yourself will help strengthen your case and assist us in providing the best defense for your particular set of circumstances.

The letters DWI are an acronym for driving while intoxicated and DUI is an acronym for driving under the influence. In some states these are separate and distinct offenses, however, Washington state does not make such a distinction.

People sometimes assume that a DUI refers to driving while under the influence of alcohol, and DWI refers to driving while under the influence of other substances (such as marijuana or prescription drugs). People also sometimes assume that DWI is a lesser charge than DUI. While that may be the case in other states, both of those assumptions are untrue under Washington State law. Anyone who exhibits impaired driving as a result of drugs, alcohol, or a combination of both can be arrested and charged with a Washington State DUI that carries the same legal ramifications as a DWI in other states.

How Can a Thurston County DUI Lawyer Help Me?

If you or a loved one has been charged with DUI in Tumwater, retaining the right criminal defense lawyer can make all the difference in the outcome of your case.

The number of times you have been arrested for or charged with DUI has a significant bearing on how you will be sentenced if convicted of a DUI in Tumwater. Washington state statute has mandatory minimum penalties for each DUI offense, including jail time, license suspension, heavy fines, and having an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) attached to your car. You could lose your freedom for years if you are not professionally defended by a seasoned criminal defense attorney.

A DUI attorney in Tumwater can lead you through the process and guide you to a successful result whether that means a plea, a trial, or a dismissal of the charges before the trial. If you have been charged with driving under the influence, you need to be able to rely on an experienced lawyer who has handled a number of DUI cases in Thurston County to get the best results based on the facts of your case.

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