Frequently Asked DUI Questions

Our Seattle DUI law firm has helped countless people get their DUI charges reduced or dismissed by constructing strong defense strategies. If you’re facing a Washington DUI charge in King County, it is in your best interest to contact us today at 206-973-0407.

What is the difference between a DUI and DWI?

A DWI stands for driving while intoxicated while a DUI refers to driving under the influence. In Washington, there is no distinction between a DUI and DWI and all driving while or under the influence charges are filed under the state’s DUI statute.

Is a DUI in Washington a misdemeanor or a felony?

In Washington, DUIs are almost always considered gross misdemeanors. However, if you’ve received a fifth DUI charge in 10 years or have been convicted of vehicular homicide or assault while driving under the influence, your DUI may be classified as a felony.

What is SR-22 insurance and how long do I need it after my DUI?

Also known as high-risk driver insurance, SR-22 insurance is for drivers who have a history of negligent driving. If you’ve been convicted of a DUI in Washington, you will be required to obtain an SR-22 insurance form, which can be more expensive than standard insurance.

The form indicates financial responsibility and can be obtained from your insurance company. However, if you need it, your insurance company may charge you more in premiums or in fees to obtain the form. In addition, you’ll need to carry a SR-22 insurance verification form with you every time you drive for at least three years.

What are the penalties for a first-time DUI in Washington?

If you are convicted of a first-time DUI in Washington, you may face penalties such as a maximum of $5,000 in fines, between 24 hours and 364 days in jail, a required ignition interlock device, and between 90 days and one year of a suspended driver’s license.

What are the penalties for a second or third time DUI in Washington?

Upon conviction of a second or third time DUI in Washington, you may be left with fines between $1,120 and $5,000, jail time of 30 days to 364 days, the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device, and between two and four years of a driver’s license suspension.
Do I have to take field sobriety tests?

Many times, victims of a DUI arrest near Seattle are not aware that field sobriety tests (FSTs) are voluntary, meaning you do not have to take them. The one leg stand test, walk and turn test, and horizontal gaze nystagmus tests are examples of FSTs that a police officer may ask you to take to try to prove you are legally intoxicated. If you have any medical conditions that can impact the results of an FST, you should inform the police officer right away.

Because FSTs are voluntary, you should refuse them and seek legal assistance as soon as possible. Emerald City Law Group will evaluate your situation and help you decide if you should submit to any sobriety tests. When you’re arrested, you should call an experienced Seattle DUI law firm and refuse any tests unless the police present a warrant or your attorney arrives and help you make solid legal decisions.

What is a PBT?

A PBT, or a preliminary breath test, is a field sobriety test that measures your blood alcohol content with a small handheld device. You breathe into the device and it registers your BAC level. However, PBTs are extremely inaccurate. Like other FSTs, you should refuse a PBT and seek legal assistance right away. We will help you decide if a chemical test is in your best interest.

What is Electronic Home Monitoring or EHM?

If you are a DUI offender who has been sentenced to jail time, Electronic Home Monitoring or EHM can allow you to serve some time at home. However, in DUI cases you are required to serve 15 days EHM for every one day you are sentenced to jail. EHM is not available in all DUI cases as an alternative to jail. EHM will require you to wear an ankle bracelet that will track your whereabouts at all times. Fortunately, EHM will allow you to leave your home for school, work, doctor’s appointments, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, court appearances, and court-education classes.

Does my car have to be moving in order for me to be guilty of a DUI?

Your car does not have to be moving in order for you to be arrested for a DUI in Washington. If a prosecutor proves that you were intoxicated and in physical control of your car, you can be convicted of a crime that is the equivalent of a DUI called physical control of a vehicle under the influence.

How long will a DUI conviction stay on my record?

Washington does not allow for a DUI to be expunged from your record. Therefore, if you are charged with a DUI, it’s imperative that you contact an experienced Seattle criminal defense lawyer in King County at Emerald City Law Group who may be able to help you avoid a conviction.

>What is a DOL hearing?

If you’ve been arrested for a DUI in Seattle because you failed a breathalyzer or if you refused a chemical test, your license may be automatically suspended by the Department of Licensing (DOL). This is an administrative penalty that is separate from your potential criminal penalties. You will have the opportunity to request a DOL hearing to challenge your driver’s license suspension. You will only have 7 days from the date of your arrest to make this request. If you fail to submit a request or do so improperly, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended.

Once you hire Emerald City Law Group to help with your DUI case, we will handle the DOL hearing from start to finish. We will make requests for the hearing and challenge your driver’s license suspension. We will use our knowledge to get your suspension reduced or dismissed, when possible.

When should I call a Seattle DUI law firm?

You should call a Seattle DUI attorney near you right when you’re brought to the police station. If you are arrested, do not submit to any chemical tests or field sobriety tests. We will help you decide if a sobriety test is right in your situation. We will also help you navigate the questions that police officers will barrage you with after arrest. Our Seattle DUI law firm is available night and day. Call us today to start building a strong defense to your DUI charge.

Need DUI Help? Call Emerald City Law Group

For legal help with a DUI, call one of our Seattle defense attorneys at 206-973-0407. We will review your situation and explain your options in a free and confidential case evaluation.