Answering All Your Questions About Getting a DUI in Washington State
At Veitch Ault & Associates, we have dedicated our legal practice to cases involving driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol (DUI). Our legal team is certified in a manner of DUI tests and law enforcement procedures, has been named to the Super Lawyers® list for six years in a row and counting for our work in DUI law, and has over 40 years of combined legal experiencing fighting for the legal rights of clients throughout Washington State. We have encountered numerous DUI-related questions over the years and have compiled the most common below.
I Was Arrested for a DUI, But the Officer Never Gave me a Court Date. Does This Mean That I Wasn't Charged?
No, unfortunately, it does not. Law enforcement in Washington is generally not responsible for assigning court dates. Your court notice will arrive in the mail sometime after your initial arrest.
My Breath/Blood Alcohol Reading Was Below the Legal Limit. Do I Have Anything to Worry About?
You might. In the State of Washington, readings below the legal limit can still earn you a criminal charge if the police and/or prosecuting attorney believe that there is sufficient evidence to show that your ability to drive was appreciably affected by alcohol even though your alcohol concentration was below the legal limit. In such instances, a sound enough suspicion can still lead to a DUI charge against you.
What If I Am Under 21 Years Old (or Was at the Time of the Arrest)?
Under Washington law, minors only need to have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .02% or higher (compared to people over 21 who typically require a BAC of .08% or higher) to break the law and be charged with a DUI. If your BAC is over .08% at the time of your arrest, you can be charged as an adult.
In Washington State, If My License Gets Suspended for a DUI Arrest or Conviction, Can I Still Drive to and from Work?
You can, but only under certain circumstances. There are two main options. The first is to apply for an “Ignition Interlock License.” The second is to apply for an "Employer Exemption” which, if approved, will allow you to drive a special "employer-owned vehicle" for work purposes only.
What is an Ignition Interlock Device (IID)?
An Ignition Interlock Device (IID) is essentially a breathalyzer for your car. A breath analyzer is wired into your vehicle's starting system so that your car will not start unless you blow well below the legal limit (typically .02% or less). If your BAC is below the preset limit, your car will start.
What is Electronic Home Monitoring (EHM)?
Electronic Home Monitoring (EHM) allows DUI offenders to serve their jail sentence at home rather than in a cell. It involves wearing an electronic bracelet around your ankle for the duration of the sentence. While you can leave to attend alcohol treatment appointments and go to work, you are otherwise confined to your home.
What is a Work Release?
Work Release is a partial confinement program in Washington State that allows employed individuals to work during the day before returning to a corrections facility where they reside by night during the duration of their sentence.
Will the Court Hold It Against Me If I Hire an Attorney to Represent Me & Plead Not Guilty?
No. Absolutely not! It is your legal right under the United States Constitution to retain an attorney to fight for your rights so you can be on equal footing with the prosecution. You are also free to plead however you wish. In fact, not only does hiring an attorney make the process far easier and more effective for you, but it makes the Judges that may preside over your case more comfortable as well.
If I Hire an Attorney, Does That Mean the Case Will Go to Trial?
Not necessarily. Most DUI cases are resolved during the negotiations phase, so they never even make it to trial. Whether or not your case will go to trial varies client by client because this depends on numerous factors, such as whether you have a prior criminal record, how severe the charges are against you, how persistent the prosecution is, and many more. By speaking directly with an attorney during a free consultation, we may be able to give you a better idea of whether your case is likely to go to court.
What Can I Expect from a Competent DUI Defense Lawyer?
Having a DUI lawyer on your side can be beneficial in numerous ways—though the choice of whether to represent yourself or hire someone else is entirely up to you. Since lawyers are trained in DUI laws and go through the related criminal process often, they can walk you through it, keeping you from experiencing excess stress or making fatal mistakes. An attorney can answer all your legal questions, guide you through the proceedings, and build you a strong defense. A good attorney should work directly with their clients rather than assign them to a case manager and should take the time to learn about you so that your representation is tailored to your needs.
I Don't Live in King County. Does It Make Sense to Hire an Attorney Far from My Home or Court?
The most important thing to consider when hiring an attorney is quality, not distance. You will likely only visit your attorney's office once or twice for the initial consultation—otherwise, you will meet at the court and communicate mainly via telephone or email. So, unless it is at the top of your personal; priority list, we recommend not restricting your search to lawyers only in your neighborhood.
Is it Better to Just Hire a Local Attorney?
Local attorneys are valuable because they are familiar with local laws, courts, and the people who work in them. Though laws and penalties can differ from county to county, generally hiring someone in your state is good enough. At Veitch Ault & Associates, we have handled cases in almost every jurisdiction in the State but work primarily in Thurston, Pierce, King, Snohomish, Skagit, Whatcom, Island, and Kittitas Counties. We also consider cases in the more remote parts of the State on a case-by-case basis.
To have more of your questions answered or to enlist an aggressive and experienced attorney serving Western Washington, call (425) 307-5515 today.
Over 40 Years of Combined Experience
Your First Initial Consultation Is Free
Selected as a SuperLawyer in DUI Defense in each of the past 5 years
Dedicated to the Highest Level of Advocacy on Behalf of Their Clients
You Will Receive Transparent Communication
Successful Defense of Hundreds of DUI Cases