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Penalties

Penalties

Drunk driving laws and DUI penalties in Washington state are among the toughest in the United States. Just because it may be your first DUI offense, do not think that you can get off lightly without the proper DUI lawyer.

Prosecutors are determined to seek out harsh punishments for those charged with DUI, and the consequences can be severe.

A DUI in Washington is classified at the very least as a gross misdemeanor and with it come mandatory minimums that you will find difficult to avoid. Washington state law also takes into account your blood alcohol content and your previous driving record during sentencing.

If your blood alcohol is over .15, you are going to face much stiffer penalties than the already harsh punishment you will likely receive with a lesser DUI charge (a BAC .08 and over but less than .15).

When faced with a driving under the influence charge, jail time is a very real and likely prospect without a proficient DUI lawyer crafting your DUI defense.

If it is your first offense or you do not have any record of drunk driving in the past 7 years, you will be jailed from a minimum of 1 day to a maximum of 364 days and can face fines from $800 to $5,000. Comparatively a third offense can mean significantly more jail time (120 days minimum) and fines starting around $3,000.

We have had great success in significantly reducing or eliminating the penalties of a DUI charge. Do not subject yourself to these harsh penalties without a qualified DUI lawyer like David Speikers by your side.

Personal Consequences of a DUI

The personal consequences of a DUI conviction are often just as bad as, or worse than, legal penalties.

Loss of your freedom can mean loss of your job and the ability to provide for your family, particularly if you drive a vehicle for a living. A DUI charge alone can have drastic impact upon your life.

The Department of Licensing holds separate proceedings from the criminal courts. You have only 20 days to request a DOL hearing to prevent your license from being suspended. These hearings are notoriously hard to win, particularly without a skilled DUI lawyer.

Your freedom of movement, whether it be by restriction on where you can travel or loss of your ability to drive, is at stake when charged with a DUI. There is a very good chance that your license will be suspended.

Mortgage rates and credit card interest rates may also be affected when applying for a loan.

Furthermore, those with a DUI conviction on their record can find it difficult to get a job. Unlike many other crimes, a DUI conviction cannot be expunged from your record in Washington state. This means that you will carry around a criminal record for the rest of your life (something employers generally try to avoid).

Depending upon your standing in your community or within certain groups, your reputation may suffer. We have helped clients ranging from high-profile members of the community to just your “average Joe.” We are deeply committed to giving the same individualized attention and care to all of our clients, no matter who they are.

The fact is, everyone who faces a DUI charge has something important to lose. The personal effects of a DUI conviction can be devastating, long lasting and hard to undo.

But all is not lost. More than 20 years of experience successfully fighting DUI charges in and out of the courtroom set David Speikers apart from many other lawyers. His understanding of the laws and the court system makes a difference in securing the best possible outcome for each and every client – often resulting in charges being significantly reduced or dismissed altogether.

Insurance

Increased insurance rates are one of the most overlooked areas of a DUI conviction.

After a DUI conviction, your current auto insurance provider can take a number of actions, which vary from state to state. Chances are that your insurer will greatly increase your premiums. However, insurance carriers have also been known to decline to renew or cancel the policies of clients with a DUI conviction. The latter becomes even more probable if you have a poor history or prior strikes with your insurance provider.

In Washington, if your license is revoked due to a DUI arrest, you will be required to purchase high-risk (SR-22) insurance for 3 years after license reinstatement.

High-risk is specialized insurance directed toward insuring those with poor driving and drunk driving histories. This nonstandard policy comes with very high premiums.

If private high-risk insurance is not available to you because of your driving history, there is normally a state-created high-risk insurance option. An option of last resort, these insurance rates are some of the highest a driver can pay.

A DUI conviction can also have other unforeseen insurance effects, such as higher rates on medical and life insurance.

Restricted Travel

In the Pacific Northwest, traveling out of the country, particularly to Canada, is quite common. With a DUI conviction on your record, this may not be as easy or even possible.

Canadian immigration law is quite complicated. Canadian border officials have been given broad authority to choose who gets in and who doesn’t.

As a result, DUI convictions have been declared sufficient grounds for denied access to Canada. Even lesser crimes, such as reckless driving or driving-related offenses, can be a reason to deny entry. Only a skilled DUI lawyer can navigate proper language in a lesser plea document to avoid Canada denying entry.

If traveling north of the botrder is important to you or necessary for your job, it is imperative that you hire a qualified DUI attorney to avoid having a DUI conviction on your record.

Even if you already have a DUI conviction on your record, we can help.

Although getting a DUI expunged from your record is not possible in Washington state, it is still possible to get a temporary residential permit, or even a certificate of criminal rehabilitation. These forms should be able to persuade a border official to allow you entry into Canada.

Department of Licensing

Aside from the criminal DUI charges, you will face Department of Licensing proceedings where your license may be suspended or revoked.

You have just 20 days from arrest date to request a DOL administrative hearing to prevent the suspension of your license.

Even if the DOL hearing is requested, you may still lose your driving privileges.  The hearing is not a guarantee of keeping your license, especially without a qualified DUI attorney representing you. It is important to note that DOL sanctions can still be imposed even if you are found not guilty in the criminal courts. DOL hearings also use “per se” law, meaning that you are guilty until proven innocent.

The rules for DOL hearings are unique. It is best to let an experienced DUI attorney handle them.

Note that Washington has an out-of-state Driver’s License Compact Agreement. This means that even if you have an out-of-state driver’s license, a DUI conviction in the State of Washington will be reported back to your state and you will likely face license sanctions.

 

Learn more about David Speikers, or call 425-222-0555 for a free consultation and case review.

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