Puyallup DUI Lawyer
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a common but potentially deadly crime and you need to get help from a Puyallup DUI lawyer if you’re facing these charges. This is a critical situation. Trying to handle this by yourself, especially if you might be subject to increased penalties, could be a major mistake. A Greene & Lloyd DUI lawyer can protect your freedom and your future.
Washington DUI law covers not only alcohol but illegal and legal drugs. If law enforcement has a reasonable belief that you are driving under the influence, you can be pulled over. It doesn’t matter whether alcohol, a prescription, or an over-the-counter drug or some combination caused your behavior.
If You’ve Been Arrested, Talk to Our DUI Attorney.
Being arrested doesn’t mean there’s enough evidence to convict you. The legal standards for the two are very different, and our DUI attorney in Puyallup can explain the details. In short:
- The officer must have probable cause before you can be arrested. There must be reasonable grounds for thinking that a crime occurred and that you committed it.
- The prosecution has the burden of proving, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you committed the crime before you can be convicted.
Being arrested doesn’t mean you should give up hope. A DUI Lawyer at Greene & Lloyd may be able to find effective defenses that may result in charges being dropped. You may also be able to plead guilty to lesser charges with lighter consequences (a plea bargain).
A Puyallup DUI Lawyer Can Help You Navigate Washington Law.
Under state law, a person is guilty of driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor, marijuana, or any drug if he or she drives a vehicle and …
- Within two hours after driving, has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher as shown by analysis of the person’s breath or blood, or
- Within two hours after driving, a THC concentration of 5.00 or higher as shown by analysis of the person’s blood, or
- Is under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor, marijuana, or any drug, or
- Is under the influence of or affected by a combination of intoxicating liquor, marijuana, and any drug.
The fact that you’re legally using a drug isn’t a defense to one of these charges. Blood or breath samples showing a BAC of 0.08 or a THC concentration greater than 5.00 or more is evidence of violating one section of the law. A BAC or THC level of anything above zero is evidence of violating other parts. If your BAC is 0.15 or higher, the required sentencing is harsher.
Aggravating circumstances will make consequences worse. If you drove the wrong way on a multi-lane roadway, you could face a tougher sentence. If a passenger in the car was younger than 16, the penalties are harsher. Child protective services will be contacted if a passenger is under 12. They will interview you to determine if you need supervision or should lose custody of the child.
You May Get Minimal Penalties Because of a DUI Lawyer
Working with our DUI attorneys to better understand the law is one good reason to seek our help. When your future is at stake as you face possible penalties for a DUI, aggressive legal representation is essential. We will fight to protect your rights to ensure any penalties you receive are as minimal as possible.
There is a range of penalties you could face for a DUI conviction, depending on the facts of your arrest and your past criminal record:
BAC Result Less Than .15 or No Test Result
No Prior Offense
One Prior Offense
Two Prior Offenses
Mandatory Minimum/ Maximum Jail Time
24 Consecutive Hours/364 Days
If Passenger Under 16 Mandatory Jail Time
Additional 24 Hours
Additional 5 Days
Additional 10 Days
Mandatory Minimum/ Maximum Fine
If Passenger Under 16 Minimum/Range
$1,000/$1,000-$5,000 + assessments*
$1,000/$2,000-$5,000 + assessments*
$1,000/$3,000-$10,000 + assessments*
Driver’s License Suspension
*An assessment is a clinical assessment to determine whether drugs or alcohol are a problem in your life.
How Penalties for a DUI Can Affect Your Life
You and your family will be affected by a DUI conviction beyond the penalties the legal system will impose on you.
Impacts on Your Work
- You must take time off from work to go to court. If convicted, you may also need to serve time in jail or perform community service. If you can’t take this time off, you risk being fired. A driver’s license suspension or revocation may also make it difficult or impossible to get to work.
When a DUI Shows in a Background Check
- You may not be able to pass a background check needed to get a new job. Many employers conduct criminal background checks before they fill positions. Colleges may also use background checks before you’re admitted or are granted a student loan. Landlords will often do background checks. A DUI conviction may make getting an apartment more difficult
Changes in Insurance Rates after a DUI
- After a DUI conviction, your auto insurance carrier will consider you a high-risk driver. Coverage may be dropped or your rates will probably go up significantly. It may also be tougher to get life insurance, and those rates may be higher, too.
How a DUI Can Impact Your Social Standing
- A DUI conviction could impact your family relationships and standing in the community. The local media may publish your arrest and conviction.
With so much of your future at risk after being charged with a DUI, it’s important to obtain skilled legal representation from a DUI attorney who has extensive experience with these cases.
A Puyallup DUI Attorney May Find Effective Defenses for You
There could be any number of defenses a Puyallup DUI attorney could use for your case. Answers to the below questions will help your attorney determine the best strategy.
Did the officer have a reasonable suspicion you were violating the law before pulling you over?
- An officer with a reasonable suspicion that a crime has taken place may stop and briefly detain you for a limited investigation. Did the officer see you straddle the center line, make an illegal turn, drift between lanes, hit or nearly hit another vehicle, drive very slowly or erratically, brake often, or stop for no reason?
Did the officer have probable cause to offer the use of a breath test or arrest you?
- There may be probable cause if a field sobriety test and or a breath test showed you were probably impaired.
Did the officer give you your Miranda rights after you were arrested?
- The officer should say something like, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have a right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.” This statement is to inform you of your Fifth Amendment right to refuse to answer self-incriminating questions.
Were you arrested based on the BAC results of a breathalyzer device?
- Is the device reliable and accurate? Was it properly calibrated when you used it?
- It’s an electronic measuring device that needs to be adjusted to be accurate. Was the officer properly trained to use it? If not, the BAC results and the officer’s testimony in court may be unreliable. At trial, if the officer using the breathalyzer doesn’t testify, you could argue that your constitutional right to face your accuser is being violated.
Were you arrested based on the results of a blood test?
- The technicians may have made mistakes when drawing your blood. The alcohol used to clean your skin where your blood was drawn may affect the BAC result. Your blood must be stored properly so further tests can be done. If preservatives or coagulants weren’t added, your results could be incorrect. Your blood must go from the lab and back to law enforcement without any interference. Who had it, when, must be documented. If interference occurs, the evidence isn’t reliable and the case against you could be seriously damaged
Were you were arrested based on field sobriety tests?
- You may have been asked to put one foot in front of the other, then pivot and walk back; raise one leg while counting; or be told to follow with your eyes a small object about a foot from your face while keeping your head still. If you’re nervous or suffer a medical condition, you may not be able to take these actions without appearing to be intoxicated. How well you did is completely the officer’s opinion
After a DUI arrest, with the help of a Greene & Lloyd Puyallup DUI attorney, you can decide your next step. After we review the evidence, based on our years of experience, we can counsel you on your options. Together we will come up with a plan.
For some clients, pleading guilty and cooperating with the prosecution is the smartest option. It may be admitting your mistakes in hopes of a lenient sentence from a judge. Most DUI cases are resolved through a plea bargain agreement, because neither side wants to risk an all-or-nothing outcome, so both sides compromise. You avoid your worst-case scenario and a manageable outcome is reached through negotiation. A trial may be your best option, and our experienced litigators at Greene & Lloyd will work to your advantage in a DUI case. The prosecution’s case may be weak, and there’s a good chance a jury will find the prosecution’s burden of proof wasn’t met.
Your Next Step: Contact a DUI Lawyer
If you have been arrested for DUI, call our office at (253) 770-0808. You have much to gain if you do and too much to lose if you don’t. Greene & Lloyd DUI lawyers have helped hundreds of clients facing criminal charges throughout Puyallup, Olympia, Tacoma, Kirkland, Ellensburg, Moses Lake, Spokane, and Kennewick. We can do the same for you. Wishful thinking and hope won’t protect your legal rights and freedom. We will.