Facing a Felony DUI in Washington? Our DUI Lawyers Can Help
A DUI is scary enough. But when it’s a felony instead of a gross misdemeanor, it is even more intimidating. That’s why you need a felony DUI lawyer from Emerald City Law Group. We’ll be by your side to navigate the felony DUI process in Washington State. Our goal is to keep you free and avoid the harshest consequences of a conviction.
From getting your felony DUI dismissed to minimizing the ramifications of a felony DUI, contact Emerald City Law Group for a professional, experienced defense.
Based in Seattle, We Assist People Across Washington and Offer Virtual Consultations. Initial Consults are Free, Confidential, and We’re Available 24/7 to Answer Your Questions.
Washington State Felony DUI
Most DUI offenses are charged as gross misdemeanors in Washington. However, you can face a felony for driving under the influence, requiring a highly experienced felony DUI defense attorney to fight the charges effectively.
At Emerald City Law Group, we’ve had considerable success in fighting these heightened drunk driving charges and can guide you every step of the way.
Felony DUIs: What You Need to Know
Per Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 46.61.502, Washington prosecutors may charge you with a felony DUI if you are arrested for driving or having physical control of a vehicle while impaired and when one or more of the following are also true:
- You have had three or more prior DUI-related convictions over the past 10 years.
- You have had a previous vehicular assault, vehicular homicide, or other comparable offense conviction in another state.
- You have had any other previous felony DUI conviction.
- You cause an accident or injury to others.
The Legal Limit for a Felony DUI
To be charged with a felony DUI in Washington, the prosecutor must have probable cause to believe that your BAC was .08 or higher. They may also show that you had a blood THC concentration of 5 ng/mL or higher or that your operation of the vehicle was affected by alcohol or any other drug to any noticeable degree.
Felony DUI Penalties in Washington
A felony DUI conviction can impose difficult and intrusive penalties. The implications of such a conviction on your personal and professional lives can be far-reaching.
Felony DUI charges in Seattle are designated as class B felonies in Washington and carry the following:
- Up to five years in prison
- Fines up to $10,000
Your specific Washington State felony DUI sentence is determined by an offender score that a judge assigns you. This score is based on points that correspond to your current or prior convictions.
Felony DUI & Your License
If you’re convicted of a felony DUI, Your driver’s license will be suspended or revoked by the Department of Licensing. You may qualify for an ignition interlock driver’s license which may allow you to drive during the term of suspension.
The Collateral Effects of a Felony DUI
In addition to the typical penalties, you face several collateral consequences if you’re convicted of a felony DUI, including:
- A permanent criminal record
- Difficulty accessing job opportunities.
- Trouble obtaining educational opportunities.
- Difficulty finding housing.
- Immigration issues, including deportation.
- Problems with your child custody and/or visitation.
Navigating a Washington Felony DUI
The felony DUI legal process in Washington can be broken down into:
- Your Arrest & Arraignment: If you are arrested for felony DUI, you will typically be taken to the police station and booked. You will then be brought before a judge for arraignment, where you will be informed of the charges against you and enter a plea.
- The Case Setting Hearing: If you plead not guilty, you will have a case setting hearing. Before that hearing, the prosecution and defense will discuss the case and exchange evidence. The judge may also rule on pretrial motions, such as motions to suppress evidence and dismiss the case entirely.
- Felony DUI Plea Negotiations: Your felony DUI attorney can work to get a fair resolution by negotiating with the prosecution. If you accept a plea, you may plead guilty to lesser charges and get lower penalties. You may proceed to trial if you do not accept a plea agreement.
- Felony DUI Trial: If your case is unresolved, it will go to trial. At trial, the prosecution will present its evidence first, followed by the defense. The jury will then decide whether you are guilty or not guilty.
- Felony DUI Sentencing: If you are convicted of a felony DUI, you will be sentenced by the judge.
Defending Against Felony DUI Charges
With a thoughtful and aggressive felony DUI defense strategy, your lawyer may be able to reduce or eliminate potential penalties. Some possible defenses available in serious DUI cases include:
Lack of Probable Cause to Stop, Detain, & Arrest
The police must have proper legal authority to make a traffic stop. The suspicion they have to stop and detain you must be reasonable. Also, probable cause must be present to carry out an arrest. If the officer failed to obtain one of these elements before your arrest, your felony DUI lawyer may be able to challenge your arrest.
Challenge Breath & Blood Tests
The devices and methods used to measure your BAC, such as a breathalyzer or the direct method of drawing blood, must be appropriately calibrated, maintained, and utilized according to strict standards. Even when these devices are properly maintained and calibrated, challenges can be made to test results. For example, if the police officer fails to check your mouth within a certain period before taking your breath test at the police station, the result may be suppressed from evidence.
Dispute Field Sobriety Tests
In Washington, police must inform you that participating in field sobriety tests (FSTs) is voluntary. Police are also required to follow specific procedures when administering FSTs. Any deviation from these protocols may undermine the reliability of the results.
Legitimate Explanations for Appearing Impaired
In certain situations, you may have a legitimate explanation other than intoxication for appearing under the influence. For example, you may have simply suffered from fatigue or possessed a physical disability that led to poor performance with an FST.
Right to Counsel
If a police officer fails to allow you to contact your felony DUI attorney, they are violating your legal rights. You may have grounds to challenge your DUI case if your right to counsel was restricted or denied at any point in time.
Washington Felony DUI Info & Resources
Our felony DUI lawyers can effectively help you manage your felony DUI charges and protect your rights. We know you likely have many questions. We have answers. If you need additional information, contact Emerald City Law Group as soon as possible.
Can I Have a Felony DUI Expunged?
You cannot have a felony DUI expunged in Washington. DUI convictions are specifically excluded from expungement under Washington law. Your felony DUI conviction will remain on your criminal record permanently.
Can Felony DUIs Be Reduced to Misdemeanors in Washington?
Felony DUI charges can be reduced to misdemeanors through thorough negotiation and plea bargaining. This generally depends on the case’s specifics, such as the absence of prior convictions, evidentiary deficiencies, the driver’s blood alcohol content, and whether there was an accident or injury.
Is Jail Time Mandatory for Felony DUIs in Washington?
Washington State law imposes mandatory minimum sentences for felony DUI convictions. The minimum jail time depends on the number of prior offenses and other aggravating factors.
Are there Alternative Penalty Options for Felony DUIs in WA?
Alternative sentencing options such as electronic home monitoring, work release, or sobriety monitoring programs may be available for felony DUI offenders, particularly for those without significant prior offenses or where no injury occurred. However, these alternatives are subject to negotiation, the sentencing guidelines, and are at the court’s discretion and not guaranteed.
Don’t Wait. Call Our Seattle Felony DUI Lawyers
It’s important to contact a felony DUI attorney at Emerald City Law Group as soon as possible. However, if you cannot contact us right away, you can have a friend or family member call Emerald City Law Group. We will help them understand the legal process and how to get you out of jail.
Emerald City Law Group Will:
- Explain Washington felony DUI law and potential penalties.
- Discuss your options for alternative penalties.
- Help you get started with a drug and alcohol treatment program.
- Challenge the prosecution’s evidence against you.
- Communicate with you honestly and clearly.
- Work to ensure you get the best possible outcome in your case.
Felony DUI Defense Attorneys Serving Washington – Free Consults 24/7
Emerald City Law Group provides Seattle and the greater Washington area with high-caliber legal representation for those facing felony DUI-related accusations.
Seattle – Local Areas Served
- King County – Bellevue, Auburn, Kent, Renton, Federal Way, Kirkland, Redmond, Bothell, Carnation, Duvall, Issaquah, Maple Valley, Mercer Island, Sammamish, Seattle, & Woodinville
- Snohomish County – Everett, Lynnwood, and Marysville.
- Pierce County – Tacoma, Puyallup, Gig Harbor, and Lakewood
- Grays Harbor
- Kittitas County
- Spokane County
- Cowlitz County
- Douglas County
- Mason County
- Skagit County
- Thurston County
- Island County
- Mason County
- Grays County
- Kitsap County
- Lewis County
- Whatcom County
- Whitman County
- San Juan County