If you are facing criminal charges for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol, a conviction could lead to severe and lasting consequences. The first thing you should do in such a situation is to contact a reputable criminal defense attorney if you want to challenge the accusations. Due to the complexity of the laws governing DUI offenses, you need professional representation.
The burden of proof is on the prosecution in DUI cases in Washington state. However, you need an experienced lawyer to carefully review your situation and find an appropriate defense strategy to increase your chances of obtaining a dismissal of charges or at least a reduction of penalties. A defense attorney can file one or more motions to suppress evidence if they determine that they are not acceptable by legal standards.
Possible Penalties for a DUI Conviction in Washington State
The consequences of a DUI conviction depend on a wide range of factors, including your age, your BAC (blood alcohol concentration) results, whether you were driving a commercial vehicle, if your DUI caused any accident and/or injuries, and any history of previous DUI convictions.
In Washington state, DUI charges can result in either a gross misdemeanor or a felony conviction any of the following types of penalties for up to a third conviction with a BAC under 15%:
- Up to $5,000 in fines
- Up to 364 days in jail / several days in jails and up to six months of house arrest
- Months in the 24/7 sobriety program
- Suspension or revocation of your driver’s license
- Seizing and sale of your vehicle after the second or subsequent DUI offense
In Washington state, a DUI conviction typically remains on your record for life and can affect your insurance for several years.
To pull you over for potential DUI charges, law enforcement must have established reasonable suspicion. Although DUI checkpoints are unconstitutional in Washington state, police officers can stop you for different behaviors that may indicate a DUI case.
Law enforcement may pull you over and check your sobriety if you:
- Engage in aggressive or reckless driving
- Drive above the speed limit
- Swerve on the road
- Get involved in an accident
If your lawyer determines that the police did not have reasonable cause to pull you over, including if witnesses were present, they can use that as a defense strategy against the charges against you.
Did the officer who arrested you read you your Miranda Rights? One of the characteristics of your Miranda Rights is that you can wait to answer law enforcement’s questions until after consulting an attorney. If the officer conducted a breathalyzer test without reading you your Miranda Rights, this can be an acceptable ground to challenge your DUI charges.
Making sure that law enforcement behaved professionally is important. If they failed to follow appropriate procedures or displayed unethical behaviors, your lawyer can leverage those elements against the prosecution. One of the goals of the Miranda Rule is to prevent law enforcement from coercing individuals into making specific statements.
Investigating whether the breathalyzer test was reliable can be an effective defense strategy against DUI charges. This type of device can provide inaccurate results for a variety of reasons.
You may challenge the breathalyzer test if:
- The device was not properly calibrated or was broken
- The officer who administered the test did not have the proper training to do so
- You have a medical condition that interferes with the results
- You are currently taking prescription or over-the-counter medications that can interfere with the result
- You used mouthwash or a breath spray shortly before taking the test
Sharing any pertinent information about your medical history and known conditions is important during your initial discussion with your lawyer since it could provide a defense option.
Why Hire Hester Law Group to Contest Your DUI Charges in Tacoma
With decades of professional experience and a successful track record of helping many clients challenge DUI charges, our criminal defense lawyers are here to help you find a defense strategy that fits your specific situation.
We always recommend that you reach out to us as soon as you are arrested to avoid accidentally incriminating yourself if answering the police’s questions without a lawyer. We can help you cooperate with law enforcement without saying things that a judge could use against you during the trial.
Our team tirelessly advocates for your rights to protect your future and we can conduct our own investigation, which can help us request that the prosecution suppress unacceptable evidence against you. We can also speak with witnesses and ask them to testify during your trial to shed light on the events of your arrest. We strive to get the charges against you dismissed, and if it is not possible, our attorneys are committed to obtaining a reduced sentence.
Do you need a reputable defense attorney to contest DUI charges in Tacoma or its surrounding areas? Call Hester Law Group today at (253) 300-3034 or use our online form to schedule an appointment!