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Seattle DUI Attorney
  • A DUI conviction can affect you and your family in many ways, including license suspension, fines, higher insurance rates, mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device, and jail time.

 

Frequently Asked Questions - Written By a Seattle DUI Lawyer

 

If I am pulled over for DUI, what should I do when dealing with the officer?

 

After stopping you for DUI and asking you to exit your vehicle, the officer will undo ubtedly ask you several questions and invite you to do some voluntary Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs).  The first thing to remember is that both the tests and your responses to the officers questioning are voluntary. 

 

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The officer who stopped me for DUI punched a hole in my driver's license. Was my license suspended immediately after I was stopped for DUI?

 

No. The paperwork the officer gave you is your notice of the Department of Licensing's intent to suspend, revoke, or deny your license, permit, or privilege to drive. You have every right to challenge this suspension with the DOL, but you must remember that you only have 20 days from the date of arrest to request an administrative hearing.

 

Even if you have not received information regarding a criminal case against you, it is important that you invoke your right to challenge the DOL's intended license suspension. It is recommended that you contact a DUI Attorney immediately to discuss your options.

 

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If I am convicted of DUI, will I have to go to jail?

 

In Washington state, the law places mandatory minimums on sentencing for a DUI conviction. Even for a first DUI conviction, you will be required to spend 1 day in jail if your BAC level was below .15 percent, or if your case is one where you did not submit a breath test, yet did not refuse the breath test. A first time DUI offender faces even stiffer mandatory minimums if convicted of DUI with a BAC level above .15 percent, or if they refuse to submit a breath sample. In those cases, there is a minimum sentence of 2 days in jail.

 

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You can read more about the penalties for DUI.

 

I was stopped for DUI, but the officer never told me when I have to appear in court. Will I be charged?

 

The fact that the officer never gave you a date to appear in court does not mean that you will not be charged for DUI. In these circumstances, the officer will likely forward the arrest information to the prosecutor's office, and you will be sent a notice from the court about when and where to appear.

 

It is important that you contact a DUI Attorney after you have been stopped for DUI, regardless of whether or not you have been issued a court date. Not only will a DUI Attorney be able to answer your questions, hopefully setting your mind at ease, but there are important time deadlines that must be considered after a stop for DUI.

 

For example, in Washington you only have twenty days after notification of a driver's license suspension to challenge the suspension.

 

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What is an Ignition Interlock Device? Will I have to get one in my car if I get a DUI?

 

An Ignition Interlock device is an in-car alcohol breath screening device that prevents a vehicle from starting if it detects a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over a particular pre-set limit. The device is located inside the vehicle, near the driver's seat, and is connected to the engine's ignition system.

 

If convicted of DUI, a person must install an Ignition Interlock Device in their car for a minimum of one year from the time they are eligible to reinstate their driver's license. Under certain circumstances, such as when a person seeks to obtain an occupational restricted license, an Ignition Interlock Device may also be required.

 

These are Washington state requirements, so they will affect a driver whether he/she is convicted of a Redmond DUI, Edmonds DUI, Lynnwood DUI, Kent DUI, or any other Washington District or Municipal Court.

 

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How long will a DUI conviction stay on my record?

 

Unfortunately, Washington state law does not allow for a DUI to be vacated, or expunged, from your record. RCW 9.96.060 provides, in pertinent part, that: An [person] may not have the record of conviction for a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor offense vacated if...the offense was a violation of RCW 46.61.502 (driving while under the influence), or 46.61.504 (actual physical control while under the influence)

 

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Will the cost of my car insurance increase after a DUI? What is SR-22 Insurance?

 

It's possible. The cost of your car insurance will be a decision made by your particular car insurance carrier. You should note, though, that if convicted of DUI, you will required to obtain SR-22 insurance.

 

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Is it possible to win a Washington DUI case?

 

Yes. We have an extensive track record of fighting and winning DUI cases. It is not only possible to get DUI charges reduced, but in some cases we are able to get them dismissed entirely. A number of DUI defenses have proven successful in prior cases including arguing constitutional violations and challenging blood alcohol concentration measurements.

 

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I lost the Request for Administrative Hearing form that the police officer gave me.  Where can I get a new one?

 

A new hearing request form, along with many other forms you may find helpful, can be obtained from the Driver License section of the Washington State Department of Licensing's website at:  http://www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/

 

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How long will all this take?

 

Unless you are willing to plead guilty at your first court hearing, a DUI defense will take a minimum of several months. More complicated DUI cases can easily last six months to a year as they wind their way through the court and Department of Licensing systems.

 

Felony DUI cases or cases with multiple priors may well endure for a year or more. Upon reviewing the individual circumstances of each case during your first consultation, we will happily provide you with a time estimate.

 

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What is Washington's Implied Consent Law?

 

RCW 46.20.308(1) provides that any person who operates a motor vehicle within Washington state is deemed to have given consent, subject to the provisions of RCW 46.61.506, to a test or tests of his or her breath or blood for the purpose of determining the alcohol concentration or presence of any drug in his or her breath or blood if arrested for any offense where, at the time of the arrest, the arresting officer has reasonable grounds to believe the person had been driving or was in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug or was in violation of Minor Driving After Consuming Alcohol (RCW 46.61.503).

 

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What is a DUI Victim's Panel?

 

In 1983, District Court Judge David S. Admire and a citizen, Shirley Anderson, started the first DUI Victim Panel in Redmond, Washington.  Judge Admire believed that the DUI offenders coming before him did not realize the seriousness of the possible consequences of drunk driving.   Since that first DUI Victim Panel in 1983, this program has grown to be utilized by the courts in nearly all 50 states.

 

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I'm on probation, and was just arrested for a new case. What do I do now? Will the old case find out about the new one?

 

If you are on probation at the time of your arrest for DUI, it is highly likely that the court that retains jurisdiction over your old case will find out about your new DUI charge.  This is true whether you are on active probation and meet with a probation officer, or if you are being monitored by the court during the period of probation but don't actually have to meet with the probation department. 

 

If your prior charge was for a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor other than DUI, you were probably on probation for up to two years from the date you were sentenced.  If the previous conviction is for DUI, the sentencing court may have placed you on probation for up to five years.

 

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What happens at a DOL Hearing?  What are my rights at the DOL Hearing? What happens at a hearing?

 

The Hearing Officer from the Department of Licensing will begin by going on the record. This means the tape recorder will be turned on and the hearing will start. All hearings are tape-recorded, and may be conducted by telephone.

 

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I wasn't speeding before I got pulled over.  What are some of the other things police officers look for before stopping someone for DUI?

 

When a police officer or Washington State Trooper stops a driver for possible DUI, the officer is trained to look for several "clues" to help him make a determination regarding the sobriety of the suspect.

 

The clues come in large part from the research of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). NHTSA prints a manual used to train law enforcement officers that outlines several of the visual cues used to determine whether to stop a vehicle for DUI.

 

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What are standardized Field Sobriety Tests?

 

Field Sobriety Tests (FSEs) are so-called divided-attention tests used by an officer who has stopped a driver for DUI to assess the driver's physical and/or mental impairment.  The standardized Field Sobriety Tests include Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (the eye test), the Walk and Turn Test, and the One Leg Stand test.  The following information on the FSTs comes from the research and training materials of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

 

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What is an Ignition Interlock License, and how can I get one?

 

An Ignition Interlock Licenses is a new type of restricted driver's license.  If you happen to lose your driver's license because of a DUI or Physical Control conviction or after an administrative hearing under RCW 46.20.308, you may be eligible for this restricted license from the Department of Licensing.  This includes anyone who loses their license for breath or blood test refusals and anyone arrested for Minor Driving After Consuming Alcohol, RCW 46.61.503. 

 

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The Seattle DUI lawyers at Lovik & Juhl, PLLC are dedicated to helping people facing DUI charges throughout King County, including all King County District Courts and Municipal Courts in Kirkland, Bellevue, Redmond, Kent, and all surrounding communities.

For most people charged with a DUI, it is their first contact with the legal system. Once you contact our Seattle DUI lawyers, we will take over your case and begin taking steps to defend you from day one.

Call An Experienced Seattle DUI Lawyer Now At 206-706-2831 for a Free No Hassle Consultation About Your Seattle DUI Case.