Seattle DUI Defense Lawyer With Years Of Trial Attorney Experience
Criminal Attorneys – Helping Clients Fight Driving Under The Influence Charges
In Washington state, like all other states in America, it’s illegal to drive a car while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. What is the legal limit? You commit this crime, driving under the influence (DUI), if you have a breath alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 grams per 210 liters of breath. DUIs are per se laws because, once you’re shown to have such a high BAC, you will be considered to have violated the DUI law, regardless of whether you’re too impaired to operate a car, or not. Most would agree, driving while drunk is a dangerous act but driving with a BAC over 0.08 is not necessarily dangerous but it is illegal.
WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES OF A DUI?
An arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol can be complicated as well as terrifying. A number of questions immediately arise. Will you lose your license – or even your job? Will your insurance rates go up? Will you spend time in jail? The penalties, if you are convicted of driving under the influence, can include the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license, a large fine, a long probation, court-ordered alcohol treatment, and if the conviction is for a felony DUI, a prison sentence. If you are charged with driving under the influence in the Seattle area, obtain the legal help you will very much need and contact experienced DUI attorney Kevin Trombold at once.
CAN YOU GET A DUI FOR DRUGS?
Almost everyone has heard of a DUI for alcohol, but many people often ask, “Can you get a DUI for drugs?” The laws of Washington are startlingly vague when it comes to what you have to be “under the influence” of, to be charged with DUI. The statute states that you can be found guilty for being under the influence of “intoxicating liquor, marijuana, or any drug.”
Any drug is incredibly broad, and, just in case you were wondering if “any drug” could possibly include something that you were prescribed by your doctor, rest assured, it does: One section of Washington’s DUI law states, “the fact that a person charged with a violation of this section is or has been entitled to use a drug under the laws of this state shall not constitute a defense against a charge of violating this section.”
This means that, even if you’ve been told, by a medical professional, you need to use a particular drug for your own well-being, you can still be pulled over by a police officer, arrested for DUI, and face both fines and jail time for using that drug. Travelers who take prescription medicine should be very careful and always talk to a doctor about whether it’s safe to drive while on the medication.
Sometimes, medications designed to alleviate anxiety, headaches, or nausea or those taken to stop vomiting can have serious side effects. Drugs used to help you focus or stay awake can also be dangerous once you are behind the wheel. If you have been charged, contact an attorney for DUI advice. We tell each client the sooner you make the call, the better.
EVEN THOUGH MARIJUANA IS LEGAL IN WASHINGTON, CAN YOU STILL GET A DUI FOR WEED?
Some people wrongly assume that because marijuana is legal in Washington, now, it’s ok to drive under the influence of it, but this is not the case. Since legalizing marijuana, Washington has changed the driving under the influence of marijuana law, and set a standard for what it meant to be “under the influence” of marijuana: 5 nanograms of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC – the hallucinogenic chemical in marijuana) per milliliter of blood. Drugs cannot be tested using a breathalyzer, so you will be asked to submit to a blood test, which looks for the presence of an active drug metabolite to determine whether there are drugs in your system.
A driver who is charged with DUI with weed or DUI with drugs will face the same penalties as drivers who are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. A first offense is a misdemeanor, but in certain circumstances, such as an accident with bodily injury, it could be charged as a felony.
If you have been charged with a DUI related to alcohol or drugs, contact the DUI attorneys at the Law Offices of Kevin Trombold.
WHAT HAPPENS AT DUI CHECKPOINTS?
DUI checkpoints, which are random traffic stops, have been a controversial subject across the country for years because many people believe they are unconstitutional. At a checkpoint, police are able to stop drivers to see if they are driving under the influence. What happens next depends on the driver—in some cases, drivers are simply questioned and let go, while in others, they are tested and arrested for DUI.
Are they effective? It depends on who you ask. Many people say drivers often know where DUI checkpoints are, and what time they start, so there’s no point in having them because people aren’t caught off guard. But, supporters of the practice say this is the reason why checkpoints are announced—to increase the risk of arrest and therefore deter people from driving under the influence in the first place.
WHERE ARE DUI CHECKPOINTS LEGAL?
Not in Washington, but it’s important for drivers to know which states have checkpoints and how to handle themselves if they are stopped. There are dozens of states where this practice is legal, so if you ever find yourself about to go out on the town in a state with legalized checkpoints, do a quick Google search of “Where will DUI checkpoints be?” to determine if there are any in your area.
HOW DOES A FIELD SOBRIETY TEST WORK?
There is often confusion over what happens when you are pulled over by a police officer under suspicion of DUI. If the officer notices you slurring your speech, or observes other signs of intoxication, this is when a field sobriety test is given. The officer will ask you to step out of the vehicle to perform a field sobriety test for alcohol.
Before you begin, the officer will explain how to complete each task so the instructions are clear. What does it consist of? You may be asked to say the letters of the alphabet, walk in a straight line, or perform simple balance and coordination tests.
It’s important to note the difference between a field sobriety test vs. a breathalyzer test. Drivers are asked to blow into a breathalyzer, which reads your blood alcohol content (BAC) after a field test to determine if you are above the legal limit. Many people wonder why the field sobriety test is needed if the breathalyzer device is available.
Officers often record your behavior during the initial tests in order to gather as much evidence as possible that can be used against you in court. Even though the breathalyzer will show whether you are driving under the influence, it’s still important for an officer to observe you as you perform basic tests.
There is no official field sobriety test for drugs. However, if you are under the influence of drugs, you will often perform poorly on this field sobriety test for DUI.
CAN YOU GET A DUI WITHOUT A DRIVER’S LICENSE?
Any person who operates a vehicle while under the influence can be charged with DUI, which means you can receive a DUI with no license. In fact, you may face additional charges for driving without a license.
HOW CAN A TEAM OF DUI LAWYERS HELP ME?
In the state of Washington, the penalties for a DUI conviction will depend on what kind of charge you are facing. Penalties can include the revocation or suspension of your license, a substantial fine, a lengthy probation period, jail time, and if the conviction is for a felony DUI, time in a state prison.
It’s important to put a good DUI attorney on your case at the first possible moment because evidence can deteriorate or get lost, and the memories of witnesses can fade quickly. First, your criminal defense attorney will determine if your rights were violated at any point during your traffic stop, arrest, investigation, or interrogation.
If you were given a breathalyzer exam or a blood test, your attorney may dispute the results of that test or the way it was administered. A good DUI lawyer will also sometimes directly challenge the testimony of the arresting officer or officers.
IS A DUI A FELONY OR MISDEMEANOR?
Many clients who are charged with DUI often ask their lawyers, “What is it, a felony or misdemeanor?” DUI is charged as a gross misdemeanor in the state of Washington, however, it can be charged as a felony in certain situations. What DUI crime is a felony? This crime will be charged as a class A felony if:
- You have four prior DUI offenses on your record from the last 10 years, or
- You have a prior vehicular homicide or vehicular assault conviction on your record, or
- You seriously injured or killed someone while driving under the influence.
You may face additional charges if you are found with a gun in the car, or if you caused an accident as a result of your impairment. In some cases, our attorneys may be able to fight to have your charges reduced to reckless driving. When comparing which is worse, a DUI or reckless driving, the latter is the lesser of the two charges.
WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES OF A DUI CONVICTION?
The legal penalties for a DUI conviction are only the most obvious penalties. Your auto insurance rates are certain to climb after a DUI conviction, and if you drive for a living or if driving is essential to your work, you may have to look for other employment.
If you’re arrested for a minor DUI, your license will automatically be suspended for 90 days, but you won’t have another license suspension if your get convicted. Minor DUIs do not come with mandatory jail time or fines. This makes them much less strict than normal DUIs. However, a judge still has the option of levying either fines or jail time, as he or she sees fit, up to the maximum of 90 days in jail, and $1,000 in fines. Typically, however, judges go with community service, work crews, and alcohol evaluation or classes, instead.
Obviously, the best strategy is simply to not drink and drive – period. Nevertheless, if you make a bad judgment and you are charged with DUI in the Seattle area – or if you are falsely arrested and you’re not guilty – contact one of the top law firms in the state. Get the help you need and contact a qualified DUI lawyer as soon as possible.
AFTER A DUI, HOW LONG IS YOUR LICENSE SUSPENDED?
Just as you can receive a suspended license for not paying a ticket or accumulating too many points on your driving record, you can also have your license suspended for driving under the influence. When is your license suspended after a DUI? The suspension period will begin 60 days after your DUI arrest. This means you cannot operate a vehicle at all, and if you do, you could be charged with driving on a suspended license, which is a misdemeanor crime.
How long is your license suspended for DUI? It depends. Immediately following your arrest, your license could be suspended anywhere from 90 days to 2 years. However, if you are convicted, the courts could take away your driving privileges for up to 4 years.
Because this interferes with so many of our clients’ lives, they often ask, “When does a suspended license end?” Luckily, a lawyer can show you how to fix the issue and regain your driving privileges. An attorney can help you apply for an ignition interlock driver’s license (ILL), which will allow you to operate a vehicle as long as you get an ignition interlock device installed in your car. In order to apply, you will need to complete the application, provide payment, and show proof of insurance. However, there’s no guarantee you will be approved for this type of license.
HOW CAN A DUI DEFENSE LAW FIRM HELP YOU KEEP YOUR LICENSE?
A restricted license is one option, but in some cases, you may be able to hold onto your license after a DUI arrest. Seattle DUI attorney Kevin Trombold understands that after a drunk driving arrest, your first priority is keeping your driver’s license. At the time of your arrest, the arresting officer will provide you with information on your Department of Licensing administrative hearing. The bottom will need to be cut off one of these documents and carried with you along with your license until your case has been resolved.
The only way to prevent your license from being suspended is to request a hearing and fight to keep your driving privileges. You must request a hearing, which is less formal than a trial, within twenty days of your arrest and pay a fee if you wish to prevent the automatic suspension of your license. The license suspension is “administrative,” so the procedure is entirely separate from the criminal DUI charges.
If you do not request a hearing within twenty days of your DUI arrest, you’ll lose your privilege to drive. Criminal defense attorney Kevin Trombold knows how to represent you and protect your rights. Don’t wait to get an experienced attorney fighting for your rights.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO AFTER A DUI ARREST?
As you can see, it doesn’t matter what type of offense you are charged with—the penalties for this crime are severe. To understand the severity of the penalties, you must first understand why DUI is a crime and why it is so serious. Impaired drivers put every other driver on the road at risk, and therefore are punished harshly for posing a potential threat to others’ safety.
If you are charged, you will need a lawyer to represent you throughout the legal process, especially in court. Which court handles your case will be determined by where you are arrested. The full list of district courts is available here. Understanding how a DUI charge works and what you have to do next is very complicated, and this is not a good time to make mistakes.
Don’t put your future in the hands of an inexperienced attorney. If you are accused of driving under the influence, feel free to contact the DUI defense attorneys in our office by phone or email for legal advice today. We do not charge any fees for the initial consultation, where we will learn about your case and discuss our legal resources available to you.
OUR DUI CRIMINAL ATTORNEYS FIGHT ON YOUR BEHALF
DUI lawyer Kevin Trombold and the rest of the team at his law firm will challenge the results of any chemical DUI tests and find out if the police had probable cause to stop you in traffic. If there’s a flaw or error in the state’s case against you, he will find that flaw and exploit it on your behalf. If you are charged with DUI in or near Seattle, seek legal representation from attorney Kevin Trombold immediately.
Kevin Trombold and his team of lawyers and legal professionals fight tirelessly to investigate impaired driving cases and to defend his clients’ rights. With over two decades of experience and a reputation for legal excellence respected by judges, prosecutors, and peers, defense attorney Kevin Trombold routinely helps his clients win dismissed charges, not guilty verdicts, and reduced charges.
If you are charged with DUI, please contact the Law Offices of Kevin Trombold by calling 206-249-9656 or sending us a message via our online form immediately for a free consultation. Our office is located at 720 3rd Ave, Suite #2015 in Seattle, Wa.