A Washington State DUI can carry some hefty consequences, even if you have no previous criminal record. A conviction for DUI carries mandatory jail time, thousands in fines, alcohol/drug evaluation and all recommeded treatment, license suspension, ignition interlock requirement, high risk insurance and 5 years of probation.
If you have been arrested and charged with DUI, it's important to remain calm (or make your best attempt). It is important to remember a charge is not a conviction. Instead, it's an accusation. And with the right legal defense, you may be able to prevent a conviction for DUI. First, you will want to write down everything that happened while it is still fresh in your mind. Memorialize everything from the time the lights went on in the rear view mirror all the way until you were released (or booked into jail). One of the few papers you will have received from the officer is a driver's hearing request form. This is for admiistrative license suspension/revocation pursuant to Washington's implied consent law. You have 20 days from the date of arrest to request a hearing, and I suggest waiting until after you have spoken with an experienced DUI lawyer until you mail in the request.
A DUI charge is NOT a minor traffic infraction, and must be taken very seriously. Most times, people who are arrested for DUI are released without any type of citation (if you did receive a citation, make sure to review it to see if there is a court date). You cannot afford to miss your arraignment. Your next and most important step is to start looking for a qualified, experienced DUI lawyer. Don't make the mistake of hiring a lawyer whose practice is not either exclusively or predominantly DUI defense. This will put you at a severe disadvantage.
Only a DUI lawyer will have the proper familiarity with DUI laws, experience in the particular jurisdiction the DUI will be filed and the ability to navigate the incredibly complex administrative and criminal process. More importantly, never attempt to represent yourself in court. Remember the old proverb, “He who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client.”
Your lawyer can help you to prepare for your arraignment, discuss the details of your case, explain the laws and determine if a plea bargain would be in your best interest. Your DUI attorney is also the best kind of DUI defense you can buy, and will know the proper strategy to most effectively fight your case. This is why a good attorney is so important.
If you have been charged with a DUI in Washington State, contact the expert Seattle DUI lawyers at Wolff Defense. We have over a decade of experience fighting DUI cases, and we know that each case is unique. We look forward to speaking with you soon.