At VanWa Legal PLLC, we take pride in being a leading law firm in Cowlitz County, Washington, specializing in DUI (Driving Under the Influence) and DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) defense cases. Our team of dedicated attorneys has years of experience and a reputation for providing top-notch legal representation. No matter if you’re facing a first-time offense or a repeat charge, we’re committed to protecting your rights and ensuring that you receive a fair trial and the best possible outcome for your case.
Our client-focused approach sets us apart from other law firms. We prioritize open communication and personalized attention, ensuring that you are kept informed and involved throughout the legal process. When you work with one of our DUI lawyers, you will have direct access to your DUI lawyer, rather than having to go through a secretary instead. By taking the time to understand the unique circumstances of your case, we can develop a tailored defense strategy aimed at achieving the best possible outcome. Our commitment to client satisfaction, along with our extensive knowledge of DUI and DWI laws, has earned us a reputation as one of Cowlitz County’s most trusted legal advocates.
In addition to our expertise in DUI and DWI cases, we at VanWa Legal PLLC offer a wide range of criminal defense services. Our comprehensive approach enables us to serve clients facing various criminal charges, including drug offenses, domestic violence charges, assault, theft, and more. No matter the severity of the charge, you can expect the same level of dedication, professionalism, and compassion from our team.
By choosing VanWa Legal PLLC as your legal representation, you can feel confident that your case is in the hands of seasoned experts who are committed to achieving the best possible outcome for each and every case. We understand that facing criminal charges can be an overwhelming and stressful experience, and that’s why we’re here to guide you through every step of the legal process. With our passion for justice and our unwavering commitment to our clients, we strive to make a difference in the lives of those we represent. Trust us to be your advocate in your time of need and to provide you with the support and legal expertise you deserve.
As a DUI defense lawyer, VanWa Legal PLLC is committed to thoroughly examining every aspect of your DUI/DWI stop to ensure that your rights were upheld and the proper procedures were followed. This meticulous approach is crucial in identifying any irregularities or potential violations that could strengthen your defense. Our team will scrutinize the arresting officer’s actions, the reason for the initial traffic stop, the administration of field sobriety tests, and the accuracy and reliability of any breath or blood tests conducted during the investigation.
In many instances, a strong defense can be built upon identifying flaws in the evidence or procedure during a DUI/DWI stop. For example, if the arresting officer lacked reasonable suspicion or probable cause to stop you in the first place, or if the field sobriety tests were not administered correctly, the evidence against you may be weakened or even deemed inadmissible in court. Additionally, we will evaluate the calibration and maintenance records of any breathalyzer equipment used during your arrest, as well as the procedures followed during blood sample collection and analysis. By thoroughly examining your DUI/DWI stop, we at VanWa Legal PLLC strive to build a solid defense that can increase your chances of a favorable outcome in court.
Defending against your first DUI charge can be a daunting experience, but with the right legal representation, you can navigate the process with confidence. We understand the anxiety and uncertainty that come with facing your first DUI charge, and we’re committed to providing you with the support and guidance you need. Our team will work closely with you to review the facts of your case, identify potential weaknesses in the prosecution’s evidence, and explore all available legal defenses. We recognize the long-lasting implications a DUI conviction can have on your personal and professional life, and we’re dedicated to fighting for the best possible outcome on your behalf. Whether it’s negotiating for a reduced charge, arguing for a dismissal, or preparing a strong defense for trial, you can trust VanWa Legal PLLC to stand by your side and advocate for your rights every step of the way. We can also help you navigate the potential pitfalls that a DUI charge can bring, including license suspension, insurance hikes, ignition interlock requirements, treatment requirements, probation and much more.
While a first-time DUI offense might result in little or no jail time, a second or third conviction often carries hefty mandatory minimum jail time. It can also require several months of house arrest on top of jail. The length of incarceration can range from several days to multiple years, depending on the jurisdiction and the specifics of your case.
Repeat DUI offenders are often required to complete mandatory alcohol education, counseling, or treatment programs. These programs can be time-consuming and costly but are typically required to regain driving privileges or as part of probation requirements.
In many jurisdictions, repeat DUI offenders are required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in their vehicle at their own expense. This device requires you to provide a breath sample before starting your car and prevents the engine from starting if it detects alcohol.
A second or third DUI conviction can significantly raise your auto insurance premiums, making it more expensive to maintain coverage. Not only can your regular rates go up, but you can be required to carry additional insurance called SR-22 insurance.
At VanWA Legal PLLC, we understand the severity of these penalties and the impact they can have on your life. Our team is dedicated to providing the aggressive representation you need to fight these charges and minimize the consequences you face.
If you need legal help, reach out today to arrange your initial consultation with a DUI attorney in Cowlitz County, Washington, if you are facing drunk driving charges.
If you’ve been arrested for DUI and have a court date looming, it may feel dreadful not knowing what to expect. Luckily, a little knowledge can empower so that you can make smart choices on how to handle your DUI case every step of the way.
Your very first court appearance for a DUI charge will be your arraignment. At this court date, you will enter a formal plea (“Guilty” or “Not Guilty”). The judge will also schedule your future court dates and set the conditions of your release.
Conditions of release are the rules that you must follow in order to remain out of custody while your DUI case proceeds. These conditions will generally include orders from the court that you appear at all future court dates, not use any alcohol or drugs, and not break the law.
In more serious DUI cases, the court may also order you to be monitored by the probation department pending trial, install an ignition interlock device in your car, submit to random drug tests, or even to wear a transdermal ankle monitor that checks to see if you have been drinking.
You must follow all conditions of your release in order stay out-of-custody, otherwise the court can put you in jail and impose or raise your bail. If it your first DUI offense, you will likely have less stringent requirements than someone who has had multiple previous DUIs. However, if you had a really high BAC reading, caused a wreck, or both, then expect that the court may impose more conditions on your release.
Following your DUI arrest, the police officer must provide you notice in writing if they are seeking to suspend your license. If you want to challenge the license suspension, you must submit that request within seven days of your arrest. If you don’t request a hearing, then your license can automatically be suspended beginning thirty days following your arrest.
The length of your particular DUI license suspension will depend on whether you blew over the legal limit (ninety day suspension) or refused a breath test (one year license suspension). Challenging this license suspension is a matter of administrative law conducted outside of your DUI criminal case. The cost of requesting this hearing is $375.00.
It is not required that you challenge the license suspension in order to be able to drive in the future if you don’t wish to pay for the hearing. Washington also offers a restricted license that will allow you to drive during the time of your DUI license suspension. An experienced DUI lawyer can help advise you how best to fight your license suspension or work around it, depending on which course of action works best for your particular needs.
An important part of any DUI attorney’s skillset is helping you identify how strong the prosecution’s case is against you. Not every DUI case is great for trial, but every DUI case may not be as bad for trial as it initially seems either. It also may be especially hard for someone other than an experienced DUI lawyer to tell a good case from a bad case.
Part of making that determination is fully reviewing the evidence, interviewing all available witnesses, and researching the wealth of DUI case law in Washington. Doing this may reveal a number of factual or legal defenses. Therefore, it’s important to enlist the help of get a qualified DUI lawyer’s help on your case. A good DUI attorney will review all of the evidence, talk to available witnesses, make public records requests, and explore every angle of the case. Once armed with the best information, then a good DUI attorney will know what the best course of action will be.
Once a case has been fully investigated, a DUI lawyer can give you an honest appraisal of the likelihood of achieving your goals in a case. From there, you can decide whether trial is a smart strategy or whether negotiations would better achieve your goals. Negotiations can sometimes eliminate jail, conditions of sentence, or even entire charges. It is also possible in some instances to negotiate a DUI charge down to a less serious charge like Negligent Driving or Reckless Driving.
Some DUI cases may get favorable results from opting into special treatment programs like deferred prosecution or therapeutic courts. Every case is different, so it’s important to communicate your goals clearly with your DUI attorney. With clear directives, a DUI lawyer has a better chance of helping your ultimate goals in your case.
DUIs can be won or lost through pretrial motions. This is where a supreme understanding of the law separates the expert DUI lawyers from the rest. There are countless opportunities for law enforcement to overstep their authority during a DUI stop. The question is whether you have an attorney can identify those issues and deliver victory on your case because of them. Even where the evidence is otherwise strong, a procedural or constitutional problem with the criminal investigation can lead to having that evidence tossed out of court. Even a clear cut case of DUI can suddenly become winnable at trial if the breath test evidence becomes inadmissible. Without the help of an experienced DUI lawyer, you may never know what outcome is possible in your case.
If you don’t believe the evidence against you in your DUI case is strong enough for your to be convicted, then trial is where you get your chance to convince the jury of that fact. A DUI trial is an opportunity to make the prosecutor convince the jury that you “beyond a reasonable doubt” committed the crime of DUI. If they cannot prove their case, they you will be acquitted of the DUI charge and face no consequences.
The burden of proof in a criminal trial is high and not every prosecutor is up to the challenge of putting on a compelling case. A good DUI lawyer can attack the prosecution’s case, present contrary evidence, and effectively argue that reasonable doubt exists in your case. At the end of trial, if the jury has any reasonable basis to doubt your guilt, then they are required by law to return a “Not Guilty” verdict. Some DUI lawyers are better at convincing juries to vote “Not Guilty” than others. It pays to hire a DUI lawyer who is skilled in trial. If you have been falsely accused of DUI, then proper justice is priceless.
Handling a DUI case without an attorney will be difficult, if not downright impossible. While you can simply accept your fate and plead guilty, you’ll have no way of knowing whether you are getting a fair deal on your case. You also won’t know if you had potential defenses to the charge and whether you might have been able to get your DUI reduced to a lesser charge or even dismissed. An experienced DUI lawyer can fully evaluate your case, identify problems with the prosecution’s case, and help you achieve the best possible result available. A good DUI attorney can help you eliminate jail time, avoid the loss of your license, and even help you avoid a DUI conviction in the process. In some instances, they may even be able to have the charges dismissed entirely. While hiring an attorney can be costly, the potential benefits often outweigh the expense, especially if your case is complex or if you have prior DUI convictions.
The length of time it takes for a DUI case to go through the court system can vary depending on several factors, such as the jurisdiction, the complexity of the case, and the availability of the court calendar. Generally, a DUI case can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. If you want to go to trial, your case can take even longer. Factors that can impact the timeline include pre-trial motions, the collection and review of evidence, plea negotiations, and any strategic delays or continuances. If the case goes to trial, the length of the trial itself will depend on the number of witnesses and the complexity of the evidence presented. There is no one-size-fits-all timelines, however, so it pays to consult with an attorney to better understand the complexities of your case.
While a first-time DUI offense may be considered less severe than subsequent offenses, it can still carry significant consequences. These may include fines, a license suspension, mandatory alcohol education or treatment programs, the imposition of an ignition interlock device, probation, and potentially jail time. Additionally, a DUI conviction can lead to increased insurance premiums, a criminal record, and potential difficulties in securing future employment or housing. The specific penalties will vary depending on the particulars of your case, such as the presence of aggravating factors like a high blood alcohol concentration or refusal to provide a breath test, whether a car accident was involved, whether you had a minor passenger in the vehicle, and whether you’ve taken steps to address the problem since the DUI occurred.
DUI lawyers will examine several aspects of a case to determine the best possible defense strategy for their clients. They may look for:
To choose a good DUI lawyer, consider the following factors:
The cost of hiring a DUI lawyer in Washington can vary widely based on several factors. First, a gross misdemeanor DUI will cost far less than a felony DUI. After that, many factors will pay a roll, including the attorney’s experience, reputation, location, and the complexity of your specific case. Generally, you can expect to pay anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 or more for legal representation in a DUI case. Less experienced attorneys or those new to the field may charge lower fees, while highly experienced and reputable lawyers will typically charge more for their services. Some attorneys may offer a flat fee arrangement, while others might charge by the hour, with hourly rates ranging from $200 to $500 or higher. It’s important to keep in mind that while the cost of a DUI lawyer may seem significant, the potential consequences of a DUI conviction, such as fines, loss of driving privileges, increased insurance premiums, and even jail time, can far outweigh the expense of retaining skilled legal counsel. When selecting a DUI attorney, it is crucial to consider not only the cost but also the lawyer’s experience, track record, and dedication to achieving the best possible outcome in your case. It is advisable to consult with several attorneys before making a decision, as many offer free initial consultations to help you better understand your options and potential costs.
A Washington DUI will trigger a license suspension that lasts between ninety days and four years, depending on a variety of circumstances, including your prior DUI history and the facts of your case. Aggravating circumstances like a high BAC or refusing a breath test can make the suspension longer. However, it may be possible to avoid a license suspension in certain cases altogether. This can happen sometimes by challenging the suspension through the Department of Licensing, by opting for certain treatment options, or getting your DUI reduced to a lesser charge.
An experienced DUI lawyer can also help you obtain a restricted license so that you can maintain your ability to drive during a DUI license suspension. Even if you are facing a license suspension, it won’t happen immediately, so consult with a DUI lawyer right away if you want to insure that you can continue to drive.
In Washington, a DUI conviction will trigger the requirement that you get an ignition interlock device for anywhere between one year and ten years depending on your prior DUI criminal history. This requirement can be avoided in certain cases where your DUI can be negotiated to a lesser charge.
In certain circumstances, it may be possible to negotiate a first-time DUI down to a more favorable charge like Negligent Driving, Reckless Driving or Reckless Endangerment. In some cases, this may eliminate the need for jail, an ignition interlock device, a license suspension, and more. Reduced charges are possible through skilled negotiation, so it may pay to hire a DUI lawyer skilled in the art of negotiation.
It is possible to get a DUI dismissed, but it won’t be available in every case. Usually, some police procedural problem or constitutional violation of your rights is required for a dismissal to be possible. Otherwise, trial might be your only option to seek to get the DUI from going on your record. In some circumstances, it may also be possible to elect intensive long-term treatment for your DUI that can result in a dismissal of your DUI case.
It is crucial to understand your rights when pulled over for a DUI. While it is not required that you perform field sobriety tests, refusing to do so may sometimes be used against you at a later trial. However, politely refusing to perform field sobriety tests will always look better for your case than failing the field sobriety tests. Further, refusing to do field sobriety tests is not against the law, so you are within your rights to politely decline.
Under Washington law, you are required to take a breath test after being arrested for DUI. Refusing to do so can result in worse penalties if you are ultimately convicted of a DUI. In some instances, may end up doing more jail for refusing the breath test than you would have if you chose to take the breath test.
However, a breath test over the legal limit more clearly proves impairment than a refusal to perform a breath test. So, refusing to take a breath test may, in some instances, help your chances at trial. It is a high risk choice with pitfalls in both scenarios, so choose carefully.
If police suspect you may be DUI for something other than alcohol, then a breath test may be of no value to their investigation. In that instance, they may ask you to agree to let them draw and test your blood so they don’t have to seek a search warrant. It is never in your best interest to consent to a voluntary blood draw. You are not required by law to consent to it and it cannot help you. Instead, you should make them seek a search warrant if they believe they have probable cause such that a search warrant would be granted. Any DUI attorney will tell you, there is no advantage to volunteering your blood to the police.