Driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated is one of the most serious misdemeanor charges you can get in Washington State.
Our tough laws start with mandatory jail time for anyone convicted of DUI, and get worse from there. Other states offer first time offender programs that allow you to escape with a “slap on the wrist”, but there is no such thing in Washington.
The “deferred prosecution” program here still makes you plead guilty and spend thousands on court fees and a minimum of two years of rehab, just to avoid the jail time.
For a first offense – you can expect a minimum of 24 hours in jail, around $1,500 in court fees and fines, and the loss of your license for at least 90 days. These penalties increase if your BAC was over a .15, if there was an accident involved, your license was suspended, or if there were children in the vehicle. You will have expensive up to 5 years of probation conditions – including monthly monitoring fees, urinalysis tests, and months of costly drug and alcohol classes that are mandated by the state. Once you’ve completed all of that – you have to pay to get your license reinstated, you have to pay to get an ignition interlock device and a mobile camera in any car you wish to drive, and you will be required to file expensive SR22 Insurance for years to come. Repeat DUIs are even worse, with 30-45 days in jail for a second offense, and 90-120 on a third – plus months of electronic home confinement that you either have to pay for, or sit out as additional jail time. Even prior cases that were charged as DUI but dealt out as lesser offenses can count against you as a prior offense that jacks up your fines and jail time – so make sure you are completely forthcoming about any charges you may have had before – even in other states.
This does not mean that if you are charged with DUI you have to lose all hope of ever having money or driving again. DUI is a complex and technical area of law, and there are a number of defenses available to that can get your charges dismissed or even reduced if you have a savvy criminal defense lawyer. I have been to multiple training seminars that deal specifically with how to navigate the complex legal minefield that is a DUI case. I have had years of experience working in court to evaluate the legal defenses in hundreds of DUI cases and use that information to help my clients to the best possible outcome. It may seem expensive to hire an attorney to handle your case, but the alternative is far more costly. Don’t gamble on your job, your freedom, and even your ability to pay your bills by leaving your case up to an inexperienced lawyer, or worse, trying to navigate the case on your own. Contact me ASAP for a free consultation and we’ll see what we can do together to help save you from the horrible DUI experience.
For a first offense – you can expect a minimum of 24 hours in jail, around $1,500 in court fees and fines, and the loss of your license for at least 90 days.
These penalties increase if your BAC was over a .15, if there was an accident involved, your license was suspended, or if there were children in the vehicle.