Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is not only dangerous, but it can have serious legal consequences. At the Law Office of Timothy S. Note, PLLC, we understand that people are sometimes arrested for DUI when they were not actually intoxicated, or their driving was not seriously impaired. We utilize our years of experience in criminal defense to obtain a dismissal of charges or acquittal whenever possible, or to otherwise achieve the best possible result for our client.
BAC and Breath Tests
By acquiring a driver's license, you have given your informed consent to submit to a breath test (breathalyzer) when required by the police. If a breath test shows a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or more, then you are considered to be per se intoxicated and can be arrested for DUI. However, you can also be arrested with a BAC of less than .08%, if there is other evidence that your driving was impaired, such as if the police observed you weaving, drifting, or swerving out of your lane.
The penalties for a DUI conviction can be quite severe. Even for a first offense, you could spend up to one year in jail and be required to pay up to $5,000 in fines. In addition, your license would be suspended for 90 days, and you could be subject to a probationary license and probationary monitoring for up to five years. The court may also order you to undergo alcohol evaluation and treatment for up to two years, and order an Ignition Interlock Device to be installed on your vehicle for up to five years.
Multiple Offenses and the Washington Washout
All of the above consequences apply to someone convicted of a first offense. The penalties increase significantly for second and third offenses. Also, even on a first offense, if you are arrested with a BAC higher than .15%, or if you refuse to take a breathalyzer, you will be subject to enhanced penalties as well.
Washington law does contain a washout period that is seven years long. This means that if your subsequent offense is more than seven years since your previous offense, it is not counted as a multiple offense for purposes of the enhanced penalties for repeat offenders.
If you are arrested for a second offense within seven years of a previous conviction, your case becomes even more serious, and a strong, effective defense is more important than ever. Even if a conviction is unavoidable, we may be able to have the charge reduced to a lesser offense that does not count as a multiple offense and trigger enhanced penalties.
Like any criminal case, the prosecution must prove its case to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt, and you have the right to mount a strong defense in your behalf. This includes questioning the authority of the police to make a stop, and challenging the accuracy of the testing methods and equipment used. Also, there are many reasons why your driving may have appeared impaired to the police, even if you weren't intoxicated. For instance, you may have been fatigued, or temporarily distracted. Some people get naturally nervous when followed or stopped by the police, and this simple fact can impair their driving and alter their normal behavior. There are also factors which can influence a breathalyzer result, such as food you have recently eaten.
We understand the possible penalties you face and the possible defenses available in every case. We will sit down with you and explain the situation and advise you on your options. Moreover, we will represent you according to your wishes and provide effective representation geared to achieving the best possible result in your case. If you have been arrested for DUI, contact the Law Office of Timothy S. Note, PLLC.