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Someone who is charged with driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) is considered innocent until they are proven guilty, and they need experienced DUI attorneys Tacoma WA to protect their rights. If they are deemed guilty, whether through their own admission or by a judge or jury, the penalties, punishments, and consequences they face will vary depending on the laws in their state, their cooperation with law enforcement at the time of arrest and on whether any aggravating circumstances, like having an open container or child in the vehicle, were present at the time of the crime. If you are convicted of DWI or DUI, you may face a variety of consequences and penalties. A few of the most common examples include:
DWI and DUI convictions are expensive. In Washington State, someone with no prior DUI convictions in the last seven years faces fines ranging from $350 to $5,000. If your blood-alcohol content, or BAC, at the time of your arrest is 0.15 percent or higher, your fines will range from $500 to $5,000.
First-offense DUI or DWI is classified as a misdemeanor in all 50 states. Assuming you are a first offender, you may face anywhere from one to 364 days in jail. If your BAC is 0.15 percent or higher, you may face two to 364 days in jail. Please note that this is up to the discretion of the judge and that many first offenders do not face jail time. However, subsequent DUI and DWI convictions may result in jail time of several months or even a full year.
DUI or DWI convictions in Washington may result in a punishment of up to five years in prison. You may be convicted of felony DUI if you have had four or more prior offenses within the last 10 years or if you’ve ever been convicted of vehicular homicide or vehicular assault while intoxicated.
Driver’s License Suspension and Restriction
If you are convicted of a DUI in Washington, retain a skilled DUI attorney Tacoma immediately. Doing so may help lessen the severity of your punishments and penalties. However, regardless of what happens, your driver’s license will be suspended for anywhere from 90 days to two years. In the meantime, you can apply for an ignition interlock driver’s license that allows you to keep driving. However, you must blow into a handheld alcohol sensor unit in your car in order to start it. If it detects a BAC of 0.02 to 0.04 or higher, it won’t start. Even if you’re not convicted of DUI, your license may be suspended if you refuse to submit to alcohol testing at the time of your arrest. In some cases, the state may take additional steps to keep you off the road, including confiscating your vehicle or canceling your registration.
Additional Forms of Punishment
Oftentimes, the judge has significant discretion regarding additional forms of punishment a person may face for a DUI conviction. With the help of a knowledgeable DUI attorney Tacoma, you may be able to avoid many of them. For instance, people are sometimes required to be assessed for alcohol addiction or dependency. Some have to complete alcohol prevention programs or receive alcohol abuse treatment. Community service is also sometimes ordered by the court. Many times, judges implement these punishments in lieu of fines or jail time, especially for first offenders. One way to potentially reduce the severity of these penalties is by hiring skilled DUI attorneys Tacoma WA.
In addition to punishments ordered by the court, your DUI conviction may bring additional consequences. For example, your car insurance policy may be canceled, or your premium may skyrocket. With this type of conviction on your record, you may be ineligible for certain jobs, like being a school bus driver. If victims were involved, they or their families may file civil lawsuits against you for property damage or bodily injury.
The legal drinking age in Washington is 21. If someone below that age is convicted of DUI, they face jail time of zero to 90 days and fines of up to $1,000. While the legal limit in the state is 0.08 percent, minors can be convicted with BACs of 0.02 or higher. They face mandatory license suspension and other penalties at the discretion of the judge.
Hire DUI Attorneys Tacoma WA
If you are facing DUI charges in Washington State, going without competent legal representation is a big mistake. At your earliest convenience, retain a skilled attorney. The DUI attorneys Tacoma WA of Greene & Lloyd, PLLC can help, so contact us at (253) 770-0808 today.