DMV & YOUR LICENSE
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Washington Drunk Driving Attorneys Disclaimer: The DUI Defense, Drunk Driving, DMV Drivers License Suspension, Driving Under the Influence, Driving While Intoxicated or other DUI defense information presented at this site should not be considered formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. Any results set forth here were dependent on the facts of that case and the results will differ from case to case. Please contact a Washington State drunk driving lawyer or attorney for a free initial consultation. This web site is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the State of Washington.
My DUI defense law firm serves the following Western Washington communities, among others: Snohomish County, King County, Skagit County, Alderwood, Arlington, Bellingham, Bothell, Brier, Camino Island, Darrington, Edgewood, Edmonds, Everett, Gold Bar, Granite Falls, Index, Lake Stevens, Lynnwood, Marysville, Mill Creek, Monroe, Mountlake Terrace, Tulalip, Mukilteo, Silvana, Smokey Point, Snohomish, Stanwood, Sultan, Woodway, Anacortes, Bow, Burlington, Clearlake, Concrete, Hamilton, La Conner, Lyman, Marbelmount, Mount Vernon, Sedro Wooley, Bellevue, Kirkland, Lake Forest Park, Mercer Island, Redmond, Seattle, Shoreline, Woodinville.
I also serve the following Zip Codes: 98011, 98012, 98020, 98021, 98026, 98033, 98034, 98036, 98037, 98043, 98046, 98052, 98072, 98082, 98087, 98201, 98203, 98204, 98205, 98206, 98207, 98208, 98213, 98223, 98241, 98251, 98252, 98256, 98258, 98259, 98270, 98271, 98272, 98273, 98274, 98275, 98287, 98290, 98291, 98292, 98293, 98294, 98296
Experienced and Aggressive Criminal Defense
As a defense attorney, I receive calls every day from people seeking insight into Washington Stateís DUI and Criminal Process. Most of my clients have never had to think about what they would do if they are charged with a crime Ė until it happens to them. DUI is one example of how complex the law has become, involving complex scientific, financial, legal and licensing issues.
Questions like: Do I need a DUI attorney? Is there any use in fighting a DUI? What is the worst that can happen to me? What happens to my Washington License? Can I still drive while my DUI case is active? What will a criminal conviction mean for me? Where do I go from here? What should I do?
Below, Iíve assembled some of the TOP DUI QUESTIONS that seem to come up frequently. The answers below are succinct; for more detailed answers: Call a lawyer who can help you. The reality is that no site, no matter how good, can answer your questions the way a real lawyer can. So donít be shy, call or email today.
1. Is there any reason to fight a DUI charge?
2. My license has a hole in it, can I still drive?
3. What happens if the officer never read my Miranda rights to me?
4. Should I have refused the Breath Test?
5. What should I do to help myself now that Iíve been arrested for DUI?
6. My Court Date is tomorrow, what now?
7. Does it help my case if I have a clean record?
8. Can I represent myself?
9. Is it possible to get the whole DUI case thrown out?
10. Why does my citation say that I was driving while under the influence of alcohol/drugs even though Iíve never used drugs?
11. Do I have to go to Court if I have an Attorney?
12. Why is the Department of Licensing trying to take my license when I havenít even been convicted yet?
13. Why havenít I received notice from DOL saying that they will try to take my license?
14. How do I get a copy of my Police Reports?
15. If I feel that I am guilty, would I be better off pleading guilty at arraignment?
Is there any reason to fight a DUI Charge?
Absolutely. Driving Under the Influence is a Gross Misdemeanor, which means that you could get a year in jail and a $5,000 fine, if convicted. DUI charges also have mandatory minimum sentences, including mandatory license loss. Even if you have a BAC ticket showing that youíre over the legal limit, there can be numerous defenses that could apply to your facts. Your lawyer can also negotiate with the prosecution for a reduction in charge to something less serious.
My License has a hole in it, can I still drive?
Itís normal for the police to punch a hole in your license when you have been arrested for DUI. That does not mean, however, that you cannot drive. If your license was valid before you got stopped, itís still valid. The State has to comply with Due Process, which means that before your license can be taken from you, you have the right to notice, a hearing, and an opportunity to be heard. In the world of DUI law, this means that your license will not be suspended for the DUI for 60 days after your stop. On the 61st day, you will lose your license unless you have requested a hearing and won at the hearing. See the License Suspension article for more information.
What happens if the officer never read my Miranda rights to me?
Weíve all seen TV shows where a police officer reads the Miranda rights to someone theyíve arrested, ďYou have the right to remain silent; Anything you say can and will be used against youÖĒ If the Officer does not read your Miranda right to you, we may be able to get any statements you made suppressed. The better advice, however, is that you donít make any statements to begin with. Almost anything you say to the police will come back to hurt you, so youíre better off asking for a lawyer, then choosing to remain silent.
Should I have refused to take the breath test?
In most cases, no. The penalties for conviction go up if you refuse to take the breath test and in most situations, refusing to take the breath test may not help that much in defending you. As a lawyer trying to win for you, I would prefer that you took the test and then allowed me to fight its introduction into evidence via motion hearings.
What should I do to help myself now that Iíve been arrested for DUI?
Preserve the evidence. If there are any witnesses who can testify to your level of sobriety immediately after (or before) arrest, write their names, addresses and phone numbers down. Save the receipts from dinner or drinks. If you think that youíre below the legal limit, consider requesting a blood test immediately after taking the breath test. Make an itinerary of events leading up to your arrest. As I lawyer trying to defend you, I really appreciate it when a client can provide a time line prior to the arrest Ė including what you had to eat and drink.
My Court Date is tomorrow, what now?
Donít Panic. Call a lawyer immediately. If itís an arraignment, read the article on The DUI Court Process, then plead NOT GUILTY. If it is a pretrial then you will need to get representation right away and ask the Court for a continuance.
Does it help my case if I have a clean record?
Yes it does. When the prosecution looks at a DUI case for the purpose of making an offer, they will look at two things: First, what happened in this case. Second, what is the personís record like. Most prosecutors will treat a habitual criminal substantially differently than a first-timer. DUI law itself also makes distinctions in mandatory minimums depending on the number of prior convictions.
Can I represent myself?
Yes, the law allows you to represent yourself, but remember the old adage, ďThe man who represents himself has a fool for a client.Ē This is true in general but especially so in DUI cases. The law in this area is extremely complex and may require the filing of Motions on complex subjects or actually trying the case in front of a Jury. Going up against a trained prosecutor is tough, almost impossible to do (well) by yourself.
Is it possible to get the whole DUI case thrown out?
Yes. Motions, especially those based on probable cause, are the usual way to get a case thrown out. The Washington State Constitution is actually more protective of individual citizens' rights than the Federal Constitution is. This means that if the officer did not have a good reason for stopping you, your case can be thrown out. There can be numerous other reasons why your case could be thrown out, but only a lawyer can tell you what issues exist in your specific case.
Why does my citation say that I was driving while under the influence of alcohol/drugs even though Iíve never used drugs?
That is the way our Legislature drafted the DUI statute Ė it provides for DUIís based on Alcohol or for Drugs, or a combination of both. The citations generally list both even if only alcohol is alleged to have been used.
Do I have to go to Court if I have an Attorney?
Yes. With some crimes in Washington State, your lawyer can appear for you at Arraignment but not so with DUI. You will also be required to attend most of the Court hearings as well. If you run into a scheduling problem, contact your lawyer and they will try to make arrangements for you not to appear. Do not, however, simply choose not to go Ė the Court can issue a warrant for your arrest.
Why is the Department of Licensing trying to take my license when I havenít even been convicted yet?
The Washington Legislature gave the Department of Licensing the ability to take your license in a separate Administrative Action. This means that regardless of what happens in Court, you can still lose your license in the Administrative Action. Read the article on License Suspensions for more information about DOL.
Why havenít I received notice from DOL saying that they will try to take my license?
The number one reason people donít receive notice from DOL is that they have moved and not provided the new address to DOL. Filling out the Change of Address form at your local post office will not change your address at DOL, rather you have to affirmatively notify them of the change. The Law requires DOL to send notice to the last know address; it does not require that you actually receive that notice however. Make sure to take the time to update their records for them Ė so that you get notices in a timely manner.
How do I get a copy of my Police Reports?
There are a couple of ways. First, you can go to the police agency that arrested you and request a copy. Second, have your attorney do it. This way has advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that your attorney will get the police reports and any other documents the State has that either shows your guilt or innocence. The disadvantage is that the same Court Rule that allows your lawyer to get the police reports for you also prevents them from giving out copies to anyone Ė including you. That being said, your lawyer will allow you access to your records whenever you request Ė they just can't send you home with a copy.
If I feel that I am guilty, would I be better off pleading guilty at arraignment?
NO! Common sense would tell you that the Court will give you a lighter sentence if you just come clean at the Arraignment but this is NOT CORRECT! You are likely to get a harsher sentence if you plead guilty at arraignment rather than having a lawyer look over your case to make sure that the State can prove the case against you. Your lawyer can also make sure that the penalties you receive are appropriate for what you actually did and what your history is like Ė this means that you can often get a much better deal by negotiating with the prosecution before admitting that you committed a crime.
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Arlington, WA 98223
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Arlington, WA 98223