University Place DUI
Your life can change in an instant when the handcuffs click behind you in Pierce County. A driving under the influence (DUI) charge can have a serious impact on your career, family, finances, and future. You could be facing a total loss of liberty if you are sent to jail or prison. You could face crippling fines. You could even have a criminal record that haunts you for the rest of your life, keeping you from getting the job of your dreams.
Being arrested for DUI can be an intimidating experience. The most important thing to keep in mind is that an arrest does not necessarily mean that you will be convicted of DUI. Although driving under the influence is a serious offense, having the right University Place DUI defense lawyer at your side can help you defend your good name and move on with your life.
This website was designed to provide you with some general knowledge about Washington State DUI laws. For more detailed information, or to speak to someone about the specifics of your charges, please contact our office. We offer a free case consultation to all prospective clients. For the low price of a little bit of your time, we hope to offer you some peace of mind.What is Considered a DUI in Pierce County?
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.
All motorists in Washington are subject to an “implied consent” law, RCW 46.20.308, which states that if you choose to drive on a public roadway, you are automatically willing to submit to any chemical testing (including a breathalyzer or blood test) if you are ever suspected of driving while intoxicated. Refusal to submit to the test when asked triggers an automatic driver’s license suspension of 1 year, as well as the possibility of increased jail time if you are convicted of a DUI charge.
There are, however, no laws on record about your right to refuse a field sobriety test. Of course, that means that a law enforcement officer who has detained you on suspicion of a DUI legally has no responsibility to inform you of that information.
Field sobriety tests can be
- Reciting the alphabet
- Counting numbers backward
- Following a pen with your eyes
- Touching your finger to your nose with one or both eyes closed
- Walking a straight line in heel-to-toe formation
If you are pulled over on suspicion of a DUI and are asked to take a field sobriety test, it is in your best interest to refuse to do so. All information freely given to law enforcement may be used against you if your case goes to trial. The best thing you can say is a polite “I would like to speak to a lawyer before answering any questions.”What Are Some of the Penalties for a DUI Conviction in Pierce County?
First Offense DUI-
- BAC Under .15- at least 24 consecutive hours in jail (or 15 days of Electric Home Monitoring (EHM)), a 90-day license suspension, a fine of $350 plus costs and assessments, 1-year ignition interlock requirement for your vehicle, and 5 years of probation
- BAC Over .15- at least 2 days in jail (or 30 days of EHM), 1 year of license suspension, a fine of 500 dollars plus costs and assessments, 1-year ignition interlock requirement for your vehicle, and 5 years of probation.
Second Offense DUI-
- BAC Under .15- at least 30 days in jail, 60 days of EHM, 2 years license suspension, a fine of $1014 plus costs and assessments, 5 years ignition interlock requirement for your vehicle, and 5 years of probation
- BAC Over .15- at least 45 days in jail, 90 days of EHM, 3 years license suspension, a fine of $1405 plus costs and assessments, 5 years ignition interlock requirement for your vehicle, and 5 years of probation
Third Offense DUI-
- BAC Under .15- at least 90 days in jail, 120 days of EHM, 3 years license suspension, a fine of $1805 plus costs and assessments, 10 years ignition interlock requirement for your vehicle, and five years of probation
- BAC Over .15- at least 120 days in jail, 150 days of EHM, 4 years license suspension, a fine of $2605 plus costs and assessments, 10 years ignition interlock requirement for your vehicle, and 5 years of probation
Keep in mind that these penalties can be compounded by other circumstances of your case, such as
- If you were under 21 (the legal drinking age in Washington) at the time of arrest
- If you have a commercial Driver's License at the time of arrest
- If there is a minor in the car at the time of arrest
- If you caused a car accident or injured someone while driving under the influence
- If you refused to take a breathalyzer or blood test
Hiring an experienced University Place DUI defense attorney can mean the difference between a prison sentence and the reduction or dismissal of criminal charges against you. The government has police, prosecutors, and investigators working hard on their side to obtain a conviction. You need an experienced Pierce County criminal defense lawyer on your side. You deserve a knowledgeable and aggressive lawyer who will fight for you.How a University City DUI Defense Attorney Can Help You
A drunk driving conviction can be a devastating event. If you plead guilty to DUI in Washington, you could end up paying thousands of dollars in fines, penalties, insurance surcharges, and higher insurance rates. You could also lose your driver’s license for a period of time, or wind up on probation or in jail.
Given the harsh penalties, you should never plead guilty before talking to an experienced Pierce County DUI defense lawyer. We have the qualifications, training, and resources needed to devote the time and energy to developing an effective DUI defense for you. We take great pride in making sure each and every client is fully advised of the current law concerning their case and all possible legal defenses that can be raised on their behalf. To this end, we offer a free case consultation for all prospective clients.
If you find yourself in a situation where you need to find a lawyer to handle your alcohol or drug-related driving offense, please contact our University Place criminal defense team for a no-cost initial case review.