An arrest for DUI in the state of Washington is a serious concern, one that can negatively impact a driver’s life for a long time if convicted. DUI laws in Washington are said to be the toughest in the country, requiring the skills of experienced criminal defense lawyers or even DUI defense attorneys to contest such charges. With the help of legal counsel, anyone arrested for DUI has the best chance to avoid conviction and all its associated issues. Stringent laws that only get tougher make retaining an experienced DUI lawyer an important element in fighting DUI charges by establishing the best defense to avoid conviction.
Defense Against License Suspension
In the state of Washington, drivers arrested for DUI can have their licenses suspended whether or not they are convicted of DUI. At the time of arrest, if a blood or breath test is refused or failed, notice is sent to the Department of Licensing (DOL), after which drivers receive notification that their license will be suspended for a minimum of 90 days. This takes place even before there is any hearing regarding the actual DUI case. Keeping your driver’s licenses requires immediate intervention through a driver’s hearing, where a defendant and their DUI defense attorney can petition to retain driving privileges.
When a suspension is issued following a DUI conviction, it could be anywhere from two years up to permanent revocation, depending on whether a breath or blood test was refused, the blood alcohol level at the time of arrest, and any previous offenses. A strong defense, presented by lawyers experienced in criminal defense law, is essential to avoid the prolonged loss of a driver’s license.
Lowered Legal Limit and Previous Offenses
Only a few years ago, Washington state’s legal alcohol limit was lowered to .08, which made conviction for DUI more common; it also made it more challenging to dispute DUI charges without the help of an attorney experienced in handling criminal defense law. Reducing the legal limit also changed the status of prior DUI convictions, especially when that prior conviction was reduced to a lesser charge which at the time meant that DUI would not count as a previous conviction. Now any previous reduced charge, including previously-dismissed ones, are considered a first conviction. So any subsequent arrest becomes a second offense, one that will be more difficult to challenge and avoid conviction – and will incur more significant penalties.
Mandatory Court Appearances and Plea Filing
Drivers arrested in Washington and issued a citation for DUI are required to appear in court within 24 hours of their arrest, or within two weeks if a citation was mailed. At this hearing are handled, including the posting of bail and if home monitoring or ignition interlock systems will be assigned. A defendant is enter a plea of guilty or not guilty, all prior to the actual DUI hearing. The presence during pre-trial hearings of a DUI lawyer is highly recommended as entering the wrong plea could very adversely affect the outcome of that case.
All these critical issues concerning DUI arrest and conviction in the state of Washington illustrate the importance of hiring an experienced DUI defense attorney to build the best defense to avoid conviction. Washington state laws continue to change, as do stiff penalties that can include costly fines, home monitoring, ignition interlock devices, and mandatory jail time. Anyone who has been arrested for DUI must act quickly to find an accomplished criminal defense lawyer for help with their defense!
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Spokane WA 99201
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