Should I take Field Sobriety Tests?

Hi, I’m Roger Priest, lead attorney at VanWa Legal PLLC in Vancouver Washington and here today I am here to answer a question that I hear a lot which is, “Can I get my DUI reduced?” While it is possible to get your DUI reduced, it is very fact specific depending on your particular case. I can say that it is not uncommon in the state of Washington for a first-time DUI offender to sometimes be able to negotiate their DUI case down to a reduced charge of perhaps negligent driving or reckless driving or reckless endangerment. Those charges can oftentimes carry less severe penalties because DUI carries a mandatory jail sentence and neither of the other charges require the same. They also can help avoid the same length of license suspension cost and overall term of probation depending on your particular facts. You may be able to qualify for a reduction so it’s always advisable to talk to an attorney. What things can lead to a reduced charge? Oftentimes it will be imperative that you have no prior DUIs on your record. That the blood alcohol concentration or amount of illicit substances in your system is not so high as to make you incredibly dangerous while on the road. There should have been no severely dangerous driving. It always helps if you were respectful to law enforcement and ultimately having a clean record and potentially having a good history of being a contributing member to society. All of those things can sway a prosecutor to consider offering to reduce the charge of DUI in your particular case. Whether or not you’ll qualify again is very fact specific so it pays to talk to an experienced DUI attorney about your particular case to see if that may be a possible future for you. One thing to consider is that even if you can get your DUI reduced to negligent driving, reckless driving, reckless endangerment, one of those charges. Washington law does still count those as a prior offense if you were to go and get another DUI charge in the next seven years. Because Washington treats a second or subsequent charge of DUI with much harsher penalties, it’s important to remember that getting a break on your first DUI doesn’t mean that it goes away. It simply means that you can avoid some of the most severe penalties but if you don’t take the charge seriously and go out and commit another DUI in the next seven years, understand that you will be facing the same penalties that you would have faced had you never gotten your DUI charged reduce in the first place. If you’d like to talk to an experienced DUI attorney about your particular DUI case, please give us a call at VanWa Legal PLLC and I’d be happy to discuss your case with you and whether we can help you achieve your goals in your charge in your case, thank you and have a wonderful day.

Will a DUI Result in a License Suspension?

 

Hi, I’m Roger Priest with VanWa Legal PLLC I’m a local defense attorney here in Vancouver, Washington. Today I’m going to answer a question that I often receive from my DUI clients which is “Am I going to have my license suspended for my DUI and is there any way to avoid it?” The answer is if you’ve been charged with a DUI in almost every circumstance you will likely be facing the potential for a DUI license suspension. That can come in two forms. First and foremost if you were arrested and blew over a .08 or you refused a breath test you will face an automatic license suspension through the Department of Licensing. The Department of Licensing does allow you to request a hearing to challenge that license suspension but you have to send in a form within seven days of your arrest and pay 375 dollar fee. If you have that hearing and you are able to win that hearing you will avoid the automatic license suspension that comes from the Department of Licensing. However that’s not the whole story. If you are also facing a criminal charge of DUI and you ultimately are convicted of a DUI a license suspension will still take effect so there are essentially two separate obstacles to your license. If you’re not facing a license suspension through the Department of Licensing process and you are facing one through a DUI criminal case, the only way to avoid the license suspension is to ultimately beat the charge or plead the charge down to a crime that does not suspend your license such as negligent driving in the first degree.

Another option and probably what most people can and should be able to do in their particular circumstances even if they can’t beat the DUI and can’t beat the DOL hearing is to apply for the ignition interlock license. Washington state has a somewhat forgiving program for anyone charged with the DUI that they should qualify for this restricted license. An ignition interlock license under the laws of Washington allows you to get a temporary license that will let you drive over the course of your suspension in order to qualify for that license you have to both install an ignition interlock device in your car and obtain additional insurance that will allow you to be able to file with the Department of Licensing and SR-22 certificate. Those two things in common once you have those you’ll be able to apply for the restricted license and upon paying for the application fee they will mail you a restricted license that will allow you to drive over the term of your suspension. Once your suspension is up you can then reapply for your standard driver’s license. So essentially in every scenario even though it may sound very scary that you’re going to be facing a license suspension if you need to drive to shuttle your family around to drive to work or just to do the things that you normally need to do that a car allows you to achieve you will in almost every instance be able to apply for that restricted license and qualify. If you have more questions about DUI license suspensions and you’d like to talk to an experienced DUI attorney give us a call at VanWa Legal. I’d be happy to take your call and talk to you about your case free of charge. Thank you and have a nice day.

How Long Will My License Be Suspended if I Get a DUI?

 

Hi, I’m Roger Priest with VanWa Legal PLLC, and I am a local DUI attorney in Vancouver, WA. Today I’m going to answer a question for you that I often receive from my clients, which is, “How long will my license be suspended for my DUI?” The question has many answers, so depending on

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Should I Take a Breath Test When Charged With DUI?

 

Hi I’m Roger Priest with VanWa Legal PLLC and I am a local criminal defense attorney in Vancouver Washington. Today I’m going to answer a question I often receive from potential clients who have been arrested for a dui and that is, “Should I take the breath test?” This question often comes after a client or potential client has been arrested for dui and taken to the station and asked to be placed in contact with a lawyer before deciding whether to take a breath test for the officer. I think most clients have been told from one person or another conflicting information and it can be quite confusing, what they should do now. I should start off by saying that there is no silver bullet when it comes to this question. There is no answer I can give anyone that’s going to guarantee that they’re going to avoid a DUI. And, in many, many instances no matter how they proceed, the chances are that they’re going to be prosecuted and may be convicted of a dui. But a client has two essential choices. First, you can take the breath test or you can refuse the breath test and both come with unique and separate consequences. First, if you choose to take the breath test obviously you are providing evidence against yourself that can be used by law enforcement to prosecute you for the crime of dui. And if you blow over the legal limit, you give them evidence which is in fact very strong that would make it very at least much easier for them to convict you of a dui added subsequent trial. However if you refuse the breath test, Washington law actually provides for enhanced penalties speaking just for a first dui as an example. If you are arrested for a dui and you have a blood alcohol concentration of just above a 0.08 and you take the breath test the mandatory minimum sentence for that if convicted is one day in jail. But if you refuse to take the breath test and then are convicted of the dui you’ll actually be required to spend two days in jail additionally instead of a 90-day license suspension you would face possibly a two-year license suspension. So, the punishment can be worse if you refuse.

However, if you refuse to take a breath test it can in certain cases cause the prosecution to not have perhaps one of the most vital pieces of information that they could use to try to convict you which is a positive breath test above the legal limit. Now you should know the prosecutor can comment at a trial on your refusal to take a breath test so if you refuse to take a breath test, they can make an argument to the jury that you refused the breath test because you knew you were impaired and that that is in and of itself proof of impairment. However, that evidence may not be as strong as the breath test itself. And you can always argue the contrary argument that there is a potential reason that you did not take the breath test. That is not in and of itself evidence of guilt. People choose not to take breath tests for a myriad of reasons. I often speak to clients who have been charged with a dui who refused a breath test but they refused a breath test until they could speak to an attorney. So while at the station they asked to talk to an attorney and after many, many phone calls they weren’t able to reach an attorney and then they refused it well in that instance, a seasoned trial attorney can argue that they didn’t refuse to take the test full stop but rather wanted the advice of a qualified attorney before making that decision. So this answer may not be as satisfying as one might want because again there is no silver bullet in a dui case. However I hope this gives you a little bit more insight into the very crucial decision of deciding whether to take a breath test or not. When arrested for a dui if you have more questions about your particular dui case, give us a call at VanWa Legal. I’d be happy to discuss your case with you. Thank you have a nice day.

Should I do Deferred Prosecution on my DUI?

Hi, I’m Roger Priest and I’m a local DUI attorney with Van Wa Legal PLLC in Vancouver, Washington and today I’m going to answer a question that I often receive from potential and current DUI clients of mine: what is deferred prosecution and should I do deferred prosecution? deferred prosecution is a program in Washington state that can allow you to get a DUI charge ultimately dismissed. However the program is not without its own trials and can take a lot of time energy and money before you achieve the ultimate benefit of having the charge dismissed.

Deferred prosecution is a program designed for people with a serious alcohol problem and in some instances mental health problem and it is designed to get people the treatment they need. The benefit for the person is that they ultimately have the potential reward of getting the charge dismissed. The benefit for the state is that it takes clients who may have and may be committing multiple DUIs or crimes and gets that person into the treatment that they so desperately need to help break the cycle of criminal behavior. Deferred prosecution requires for an alcohol or substance abuse problem two years of intensive treatment. That typically means that in the very beginning stages of that two years of treatment you will be going to treatment at least three times a week. Plus you may be required to do self-help groups like community service or alcoholics anonymous or some other type of program. So in the early stages of the program, all of your free time (most of it at least) will be consumed by the program. However the program is not as intensive as it goes on. As you successfully complete the early intensive stages of the program, your amount of treatment tends to scale back and such that by the second half of the program, the second year you’re going to treatment far, far less. If you are succeeding in that program at the end of the two-year treatment program you ultimately don’t have to do anything else for deferred prosecution except successfully complete a three-year waiting period in which you do not pick up any new charges.

Now ultimately deferred prosecution can kick you off. You can be kicked off of deferred prosecution I should say, for picking up any new criminal charge. But you are required to be kicked off of deferred prosecution if you pick up another DUI while on the program. Many times the courts tend to try to give a little bit of wiggle room for a mistake here or there in the program so that if you begin your recovery and your treatment but you get off to a rocky start and you have perhaps a single relapse, most judicial officers will allow you to stay on the program if you get re-engaged in treatment and keep working at it. However the program doesn’t give a thousand chances, so ultimately if you continue to mess up, you cannot expect to stay on the program and you will ultimately be kicked off of the program. Now what does that mean if you get kicked off of a deferred prosecution program? to get on the program you ultimately have to waive your right to go to trial, to call witnesses, to mount a defense, to essentially fight the charge. So if you don’t successfully complete the program and you get kicked out of the program, oftentimes you proceed basically directly to a conviction because at that point all the judge has to do is read the police reports and determine whether there’s a sufficient amount of evidence to convict you. And you’re not allowed to put forth a defense in that trial so ultimately you’ve tied your own hands behind your back. In addition to the treatment, deferred prosecution requires that you communicate with a probation officer and be monitored by a probation department and also have an ignition interlock device installed in your car. All of those things may sound like too much and in all many instances it can be deferred prosecution is not necessarily designed for the first time DUI offender. Because in the end a first time DUI conviction often carries far less treatment than the deferred prosecution program and in that instance some people may decide that simply taking the conviction doing their time doing the smaller amount of treatment and moving on with their life is what makes the most sense for them.

A deferred prosecution is not just for first-time offenders. It can be used on a second lifetime offense, a third lifetime offense, or even a fourth lifetime misdemeanor DUI charge gross misdemeanor DUI charge. So if you’re facing a case of DUI in which the mandatory minimum sentences are not days but months or where you may be looking at as much as a half a year sentence or nine month sentence, deferred prosecution is still available if you’ve never used the program before. So it can often be a godsend to someone with a serious alcohol problem who is looking at their third DUI case and losing their job. I have lots of clients who insist on using it on a first offense. Not always recommended but people can choose when to use it on a first offense, second offense, or third offense.

If you are facing a DUI and are interested in learning more about the deferred prosecution program or if you have other questions about your DUI, give us a call at Van Wa Legal. I’d be happy to discuss your case with you and see if there’s something I can do to help you out. Have a great day.

What Defines Felony and Misdemeanor DUI in Washington State?

Driving Under The Influence (DUI) can be considered a misdemeanor or felony, depending on a few critical factors.

In Washington State, the difference between the two varies from thousands of dollars in fines to even jail time.

What Is Considered Misdemeanour DUI In Washington State?

The majority of DUI cases in Washington State classify as misdemeanor charges.

Gross misdemeanor charges carry a punishment of up to 364 days in prison and a $5,000 fine. If this is your first DUI offense, it will likely be deemed a misdemeanor. DUI offenders with multiple prior DUI offenses may be charged with a felony. Suppose If you’ve been convicted of a misdemeanor D. In that case, I, your sentence can include five-year probation, hefty fines, alcohol, and drug treatment, having an ignition interlock placed on your car, required attendance at a Victim’s Panel, and license suspension.

Each DUI case differs based on multiple factors, such as if you blow over 0.08% or refuse a breath test altogether, if you used alcohol or marijuana, if prescription drugs were involved, or if children were in the car. However, a license suspension is virtually guaranteed if convicted, at the very least. The license suspension can range from 90 days to two years.

To avoid a license suspension, you would have to both win a hearing with the Department Of Licenses and avoid a conviction on the underlying DUI criminal charge. A lawyer can help you navigate these hearings to lessen the charge or agree to an ignition interlock license.

What Is Considered Felony DUI In Washington State?

A prosecutor will bring felony DUI charges against a driver when convicted of multiple DUI offenses. Felony DUI charges are rare because you would have needed to commit numerous prior offenses.

A prosecutor will bring a class B DUI felony charged when the driver has committed a DUI and has four or more prior DUI offenses within the last 10 years.

If a person has committed a DUI and has previously been convicted of either vehicular homicide while under the influence or vehicular assault while under the influence, it will qualify as a DUI felony.

What Should I Do If I’ve Been Charged With A DUI In Washington State?

If you’ve been charged with a DUI in Washington State, call VaWa Legal for a free consultation right away.

Our legal team has vast experience in the Washington State court system dealing with DUI cases and can help you mount a case to reduce your license suspension, fees and avoid jail time.

DUI cases often move quickly, so your best chance is to call us right away to ensure you have the best defense if your case goes to trial.

Can I Get My DUI Reduced?

Hi, I’m Roger Priest, lead attorney at VanWa Legal PLLC in Vancouver Washington and here today I am here to answer a question that I hear a lot which is, “Can I get my DUI reduced?” While it is possible to get your DUI reduced, it is very fact specific depending on your particular case. I can say that it is not uncommon in the state of Washington for a first-time DUI offender to sometimes be able to negotiate their DUI case down to a reduced charge of perhaps negligent driving or reckless driving or reckless endangerment. Those charges can oftentimes carry less severe penalties because DUI carries a mandatory jail sentence and neither of the other charges require the same. They also can help avoid the same length of license suspension cost and overall term of probation depending on your particular facts. You may be able to qualify for a reduction so it’s always advisable to talk to an attorney.
What things can lead to a reduced charge? Oftentimes it will be imperative that you have no prior DUIs on your record. That the blood alcohol concentration or amount of illicit substances in your system is not so high as to make you incredibly dangerous while on the road. There should have been no severely dangerous driving. It always helps if you were respectful to law enforcement and ultimately having a clean record and potentially having a good history of being a contributing member to society. All of those things can sway a prosecutor to consider offering to reduce the charge of DUI in your particular case. Whether or not you’ll qualify again is very fact specific so it pays to talk to an experienced DUI attorney about your particular case to see if that may be a possible future for you.
One thing to consider is that even if you can get your DUI reduced to negligent driving, reckless driving, reckless endangerment, one of those charges. Washington law does still count those as a prior offense if you were to go and get another DUI charge in the next seven years. Because Washington treats a second or subsequent charge of DUI with much harsher penalties, it’s important to remember that getting a break on your first DUI doesn’t mean that it goes away. It simply means that you can avoid some of the most severe penalties but if you don’t take the charge seriously and go out and commit another DUI in the next seven years, understand that you will be facing the same penalties that you would have faced had you never gotten your DUI charged reduce in the first place.
If you’d like to talk to an experienced DUI attorney about your particular DUI case, please give us a call at VanWa Legal PLLC and I’d be happy to discuss your case with you and whether we can help you achieve your goals in your charge in your case, thank you and have a wonderful day.

BUI: Did You Drink and Boat?

In the state of Washington, it’s illegal to operate a boat or paddlecraft while under the influence of alcohol or marijuana. Boating under the influence is a gross misdemeanor and can result in fines or jail time. If you have been charged with boating under the influence, it is recommended that you retain an attorney … Read more

Am I Eligible for a Deferred DUI Prosecution?

In Washington State, a deferred prosecution, as laid out in 10.05 RCW, allows someone accused of a crime, such as a DUI, to cite diseases such as alcoholism, drug addiction, or mental health issues and seek medical treatment and avoid harsh prosecution. What Is Deferred DUI Prosecution? Deferred DUI prosecution allows those suffering from alcoholism, … Read more

Evidence That Can Be Used Against You in a DUI Case

When charged in a DUI case, defendants may fear the case will be open-and-shut if an officer administered a blood-alcohol test. However, more evidence than just a breathalyzer test can be used against you, and understanding what type of evidence will be used can help you and your legal team mount the best defense. What … Read more