Anyone who likes driving should be concerned about breaking the law and getting caught while doing it by any law enforcement officer. One of the significant driving crimes you can commit in Washington State is violating the Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Laws.
If you are caught driving under the influence, it is a criminal offense and you can be charged for violating the DUI law of the state. Certain substances, such as drugs, alcohol, or other intoxicating substances, must not be found in your bloodstream during a DUI stop and search.
If you are a newbie to driving, here are some of the things you need to know about DUI Laws in Washington State.
1. You Can Be Arrested and Charged
You need to know that driving under the influence is a criminal offense in Washington State, and if caught, you can be arrested and charged in court. So if you want to avoid such an incident, you have to do everything in your power to prevent a DUI.
Before charging you, the law requires the authorities to check your blood alcohol and if the results exceed the following ranges, you will have a significant issue with the state: 0.08 or higher if you are an adult of 21 years and above, 0.02 or higher if you are below 21, and 0.04 or higher if you drive commercial vehicles. So whatever you do, avoid driving if you know that your alcohol blood level will be in this range.
2. Categories of Offences
The next thing you need to know is that there are different categories of charges you may be facing once you test positive for DUI. Depending on the severity, you can be charged with any of these in a court of law.
The good news is that the law in Washington State categorizes most DUI charges as Misdemeanour. This is what you will be charged with, especially if you have less than four accusations of DUI, and you haven't committed any assault or had an accident from driving DUI. If none of this has happened before your arrest, then you will only be charged with gross demeanor.
Once the authorities catch you while driving under the influence, you have to do all you can to escape a felony charge. A felony charge is by far greater, more severe, and grievous than a misdemeanor charge. For the state to charge you with a felony, it would have gone beyond you having alcohol in your blood.
You could have committed an assault while driving under the influence. You might also be guilty of a felony charge if your driving under the influence results in vehicular accidents.
Another primary reason why you might get a felony charge would be because you have been charged with gross demeanor more than four times in 10 years.
3. When to Get Your DUI Attorney
You need to contact your DUI attorney immediately once you discover that your blood alcohol level exceeds the range of the DUI limits set by Washington State Law. A competent lawyer like Chris Bugbee of Spokane, Washington, will seek a review of the suspension of your license and request for an optional hearing within 20 days of your arrest.
The request will cost you about $375, which is non-refundable. With a good lawyer, you should be able to have the charges suspended, especially if they are just for a misdemeanor.
Your lawyer would try to make sure that you have no other offense other than breaking DUI laws. Any additional charges that have nothing to do with DUI will be considered after your DUI charges are dropped.
If your offense is a serious one that leads to an accident or manslaughter and results in a felony charge, then your lawyer will have to do more.
Your DUI attorney can try to move your case to that of someone dependent on chemicals, by requesting for a chemical dependency evaluation. If this happens, you might be lucky to avoid serious criminal charges and be asked to go for a treatment program instead.
4. Punishment for Breaking DUI Laws in Washington State
Your punishment begins immediately after your arrest. The first thing that happens is that your driving license will be suspended. The suspension can last from 90 days to 2 years, depending on the nature of your charge. You may also spend up to 365 days in prison.
Financially, you might be fined in addition to the punishment mentioned above, between $940 to $5,000. However, if you are charged with a serious felony charge, your license can be suspended by the Department of Licence for up to 4 years. In fact, the Class B felony charge can result in spending up to 10 years in prison and $20,000 in fines.
Do not drive under the influence because it is a severe offense in Washington State. However, if you are caught, you will find the information provided here handy, like the type of charges you are looking at, what happens to you when you are caught, and when to call your lawyer. Always make sure you reach out to your DUI attorney immediately to avoid other complications that may arise.