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Q. Will I go to Jail?
A. It is impossible to tell at the beginning of the case whether an individual will go to Jail or not, following a DUI charge. The objective of the attorney is to have the client avoid Jail. If Jail cannot be avoided, another option maybe to request the court convert the Jail to electronic home monitoring. This is an option - HOWEVER - there is an occasional Judge who does not understand this rule or decides they do not like this particular rule (yes, I am looking at you - Mr. Particular Snohomish County Judge).
Q. Will I lose my driver's license?
A. Some questions are difficult to answer at the beginning of a case; this is one of those questions. If the BAC is more than 0.08, or the driver allegedly refused the BAC, then the individual must win the DOL hearing and, not be convicted of DUI or Reckless Driving to completely avoid any license suspension. Possible, yes? Difficult, yes? However, if the driver did not refuse the BAC then the driver can save his/her license from suspension if he/she enters into the Deferred Prosecution and successfully completes it.
Q. How can I drive if I lose my license?
A. Most of us need a driver's license to get to work or taxi the family around. Should you lose your license you do an option, an ignition interlock license. This will allow you to drive anywhere, anytime. Find out more about the Ignition Interlock License.
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Your driver's license is at risk immediately following an arrest for DUI. However, the DOL will not suspend a license for 60 days - longer if a hearing has been requested. But, you only have 20 days to submit the DOL Driver's Hearing Request form.
You must immediately confirm your court date and time. Missing court will result in a bench warrant for your arrest. Arrive to court early and well dressed. Enter a plea of Not Guilty. In Whatcom County, Island County and Skagit County you will likely appear in court within days of your arrest - same is true in Cities such as Bellingham, Everett and Lynnwood. You must be completely prepared for court.
Snohomish County is a very difficult place to be fighting a charge of driving under the influence. Snohomish County, meaning Snohomish County District Courts and the Snohomish County District Court prosecuting attorneys. It has been said by many of my colleagues that Snohomish County District Court is the most difficult court system to practice law. With a couple of notable exceptions, I would agree with this. I have even heard that some defense attorneys believe the Snohomish County prosecuting attorney's office is unfair and some of their prosecutors are out of control. I would absolutely not agree with this statement, however. While it is true that Snohomish County is a difficult place to fight DUI cases, difficult and unfair are not the same thing. Prior to 2016 the Snohomish County prosecuting attorney's office has been consistent with their treatment of driving under the influence cases. For those defendants who have no criminal history and with a low BAC (under 0.10), receiving a favorable offer has been consistently possible. I think the Snohomish County prosecutors have to be given some credit for the consistency and their relatively fair manner of dealing with first time offenders. This is not to suggest that every individual prosecutor is consistent (I have had many experiences to the contrary), but by and large the County is fairly consistent across the board. However, we have seen some significant changes to the Prosecutor's office in 2016 which are very concerning to defense attorneys. More than ever, the need for experienced counsel is clear.
Another complaint alluded to in the above paragraph deals with individual prosecuting attorneys within the office of the Snohomish County prosecuting attorney. I have personally dealt with thousands of cases within Snohomish County and have had very few issues with any of the prosecutors. Yes, I have had some disagreements with prosecutors and they have had some issues with my arguments, but this is normal when litigators are negotiating cases and arguing motions in court. So long as all parties are following the ethical parameters of the Rules of Professional Conduct, we have little to complain about. And if the prosecutors have an issue with my practice of zealously protecting the rights of my client, then I have done my job.
However, despite the consistency there are little niggles that most DUI defense attorneys face over time. I have been appearing in Snohomish County courts for nearly twenty years and it would not be surprising to run into the occasional prosecutor whose personality is less than, well, "pleasant." This is life, frankly. We don't love everyone we encounter and not every prosecutor is a genius, pleasant, ethical or does the "right thing."
The American Bar Association defines the role and duties of a prosecuting attorney, in part, as follows: "The prosecutor is an administrator of justice, an advocate, and an officer of the court; the prosecutor must exercise sound discretion in the performance of his or her functions. The duty of the prosecutor is to seek justice, not merely to convict." (www.americanbar.org) So, have I met prosecutors who fail to exercise sound discretion or seek "justice?" YES! Absolutely. Thankfully these prosecutors are few and far between, but they do exist (as they exist in law enforcement, among defense attorneys and in the general population). When we encounter such retched individuals we are often assaulted by their behavior. Thankfully, it happens very rarely - although 2016 has suggested some changes have already occurred in the office of the prosecutor. Watch our blogs for updates.
If you have a prior arrest for DUI (regardless of the outcome), the Court will order the installation of an ignition interlock device. Further, you must install the device within 5 days of your court appearance - so please be prepared. In lieu of the IID you have an option of having an ankle bracelet placed on your ankle (TAD bracelet). This not a good option as it is about $500 per month.
Bail is a device the court has to ensure defendant's reappear for future court dates. Bail is common in Whatcom County DUI cases after the defendant has been placed in County Jail and in Snohomish County if the defendant has a prior DUI arrest. If Bail was not ordered after the arrest, it is not uncommon for a prosecutor to request Bail at the first court appearance.
Following an arrest for DUI in Washington State you probably have many questions. Will you go to Jail? Will you lose your driver's license? Will you need an ignition interlock device? Will you need SR 22 insurance? Will you need an alcohol evaluation? Will you need a lawyer? How much do DUI attorneys charge? All of the questions are valid and they are all answered on this page. This DUI question and answer page will continually evolve as new laws are enacted or as we see Judges, Prosecutors and Probation departments change their practices. As always, a detailed discussion with a local criminal defense attorney is always preferred.
If you have a prior arrest for DUI or if your case is particularly aggregious you may be placed on "pretrial" probation. If this is the case you will need to report to probation immediately following your court date and every month until your case has concluded. Also plan on random UAs and an added cost of $150. Pretrial probation is probable, if you have a prior arrest for DUI in Whatcom County and Skagit County.
Q. I did not give a breath test sample and I really believe I am innocent. What should I do?
A. This may not be the answer you are looking for but, if you truly believe you are innocent and you are not willing to enter into a compromised offer from the prosecutor, then trial remains your final option. Be sure and talk this through with your attorney because while trial may be an option, it is not always a great option.
Q: If your Deferred Prosecution is revoked, is it possible to get Electronic Home Monitoring (EHM) or work release instead of incarceration?
A: Work Release is always a possibility in lieu of Jail - assuming you are employed, your jurisdiction permits it, and you have no prior violent criminal convictions. It is important to speak with your attorney who will undoubtedly understand the local rules regarding qualifying for work release.
Q: Why does a prior DUI from more than 7 years ago affect a current DUI?
A: Technically a prior DUI more than 7 years ago should not affect a new charge - however - it does. Prosecutors believe there is a pattern (which is a real stretch) and Judges think you didn't learn from the prior experience. The Legislature now believes you should be punished at your first court date and makes it mandatory to install an ignition interlock. As with every case, should you be confronted with a new DUI arrest and have a prior DUI arrest, you need to consult with an attorney immediately as the punishment may begin at your first court appearance while you still are presumed “innocent.”
Q: If I am charged with Driving Under the Influence of Ambien (drugs) how can that be defended?
A: In the DUI context Ambien is a horrible drug. Many studies have confirmed that those who have taken Ambien has little or no recollection of events that occurred after the ingestion of the drug. In court, as always it comes down to evidence, whether the blood draw was done properly, the amount of Ambien in your system, performance of SFSTs, and whether there was a DRE. Consult with a DUI lawyer who understands how to defend drug DUIs. Learn more from the Drug DUI Handbook.
Q:Can I leave the State or Travel for extended periods if I have two DUI convictions?
A: The Interstate Compact governs this law and ultimately, the Probation Department approves whether you can leave or not - which would probably demand you transfer probation to another State. If the probation department requires you to establish probation in another state, you may need to retain an attorney in the State you plan on moving to and get their permission to be placed on probation there.
Q: Can my Court decide which treatment agency I must obtain an alcohol evaluation and where I must attend treatment?
A: Simple answer is no - the Courts cannot chose which specific agency. However, they will demand that the agency be certified in the State of Washington. Importantly though, if the Court does not agree with the agency's findings, they can demand another evaluation (but they cannot tell you which agency to use).
Q: Do I still have a chance of delaying my license suspension, if I did not submit the DOL driver’s hearing request form within the 20 days following my arrest?
A: The DOL is tough to deal with at the best of times. Absent a reasonable defense (i.e. you were never provided with the appeal form from the officer or DOL), if you do not request a hearing within 20 days and the DOL received paperwork from the reporting officer, you have almost no chance at keeping your license. UNLESS, you have decided on proceeding with deferred prosecution (and did not refuse the breath or blood test). In such cases your lawyer will submit an “Intent to Seek Deferred Prosecution” to the DOL – which will postpone your license suspension until the deferred prosecution is entered into the court. This is one way of saving your driver’s license.
Q: If I had a tongue piercing while blowing into the breath test machine does my case get dismissed?
A: If you had a tongue piercing in your tongue when you blew into the BAC machine - you should have your BAC results tossed (suppressed). However, if the officer disagrees, then that is a different matter. Importantly, even if the BAC results are suppressed, that does not mean the case is thrown out. Prosecutors can try and convict you if they believe you were impaired by alcohol, regardless of breath test results.
Q: I am employed as a CDL-A driver and I was arrested for DUI. If I am convicted can I still drive a commercial motor vehicle?
A: You will lose your CDL for one year (or a lifetime if you have a prior CDL suspension) if you lose the DOL hearing or are convicted of the DUI. Even a deferred prosecution will not save your CDL. The DOL is very tough on CDLs.
Q: I got a DUI in Washington but am moving to Hawaii. Can I take my alcohol evaluation and classes there?
A: Unfortunately, you must obtain an alcohol evaluation from a Certified treatment center in Washington State (the ADIS class must also be done in Washington). You may have some flexibility with some courts and probation departments but the DOL demands you obtain both the evaluation and alcohol class in Washington to reinstate your driving privilege.
Q: What do police officers look for when trying to find DUI drivers?
A: NHTSA provides the following list of clues that indicate what law enforcement officers are looking for when trying to establish whether the driver being observed is impaired – and likewise, if there is enough evidence to stop and contact the driver. The higher the clue is on the list, the higher the probability of impairment, according to the National Highway Traffic Administration:
Surprisingly, speeding is not a clue of insobriety. This is because studies show that a person who speeds often exhibits signs of heightened awareness in the form of quicker judgment and reflexes.
Q: If I’m stopped by a law enforcement officer, should I answer any questions regarding drinking?
A: Drivers – and citizens in general - are not required to answer questions that are designed to be incriminating. In an encounter with a police officer at roadside, a simple request to speak to your attorney before answering questions, would be an acceptable response. However, it is very important to say little, ask for an attorney but be very polite!
Q: What signs of impairment do police officers look for after stopping a driver?
A: According to our friends at the National Highway Traffic Administration (NTSA), the most common symptoms of impairment taught at police training classes are:
Q: Should I do the field sobriety tests if the officer asks me?
A: In a word, no! Actually, let me emphasize that, NO! Field sobriety tests are voluntary and only designed to develop a criminal case against the driver. Be polite but "respectfully decline" all tests on the roadside.
LAW FIRM OF DAVID N. JOLLY
(425) 493-1115 | (360) 336-8722
The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Further, if you are not a United States Citizens we strongly encourage consulting with an immigration attorney to determine how a criminal charge may affect your immigration status.
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LAW FIRM OF DAVID N. JOLLY - OFFICE LOCATIONS
Whatcom County: 218 W. Champion St., Bellingham, WA 98225
Skagit County: 410 Myrtle St., Mount Vernon, WA 98273
Snohomish County: 2731 Wetmore, #401, Everett, WA 98201