Charged with Drunk Driving? Emerald City Can Help

If this is your first arrest for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in or around Seattle, WA, you may be unsure what happens next. At Emerald City Law Group, our DUI attorneys can explain your charges and guide your next steps. A first-offense DUI lawyer will help you stay out of jail, secure driving privileges, and avoid the harshest penalties.

Emerald City Law Group protects your rights, license, and record. Contact a lawyer for your first offense DUI and build a strong DUI defense.

Based in Seattle, We Assist People Across Washington and Offer Virtual Consultations. Initial Consultations are Free, Confidential, and We’re Available 24/7 to Answer Your Questions.

First Time DUI in Washington: What to Know

Your first DUI is intimidating and scary. If you’ve never been arrested or had a previous DUI, you’re likely unsure how the Washington legal system handles DUIs. It’s important to understand Washington DUI laws and the potential penalties.

What’s Considered a First-Time DUI?

According to Washington Revised Code, Section 46.61.502, driving under the influence (DUI) means driving while intoxicated by liquor, cannabis, or any drug. Specifically, a person is considered intoxicated if driving with a BAC level of 0.08 or higher, as shown by a breath or blood test. A person may also be intoxicated with a blood THC concentration of 5 nanograms per milliliter or higher.

Washington’s DUI Look Back Period

Based on Washington Revised Code, Section 46.61.5055, Washington courts look back seven years to determine if you have any previous DUI offenses. If you do not have a previous DUI conviction within the 84 months prior to the current arrest, then the charge will be a first-time DUI offense.

If you have one or more DUI convictions within that time, you will be charged with a second or subsequent DUI. Regardless of the timeline, the prosecuting attorney will consider your criminal history when filing charges and negotiating your case.

The Elements of a First-Time DUI

The specific elements of a DUI include:

  1. You were driving a motor vehicle, and
  2. You had, within two hours after driving, an alcohol concentration of .08 or higher as shown by analysis of your breath or blood or a THC concentration of 5 ng/mL, and/or
  3. You were under the influence of or affected by alcohol or drugs.

The prosecution will attempt to prove these elements by presenting evidence of your BAC, field sobriety test results, and your own statements and observations of the officer.

Washington First-Time DUI Penalties

A first-time DUI in Washington State is a gross misdemeanor, punishable by the following if your BAC is less than .15%:

  • Mandatory Minimum Jail Time: 1 day of jail or 15 days of Electronic Home Monitoring (EHM)
  • Maximum Jail Time: 364 days
  • Fines: Up to $5,000
  • Driver’s License Suspension
  • Installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID)
  • Alcohol and Drug Treatment

If your BAC is .15 or higher or you refused to test your BAC, then your penalties will be as follows:

  • Mandatory Minimum Jail Time: 2 days of jail or 30 days EHM
  • Maximum Jail Time: 364 days
  • Fines: Up to $5,000
  • Driver’s License Suspension
  • Installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID)
  • Alcohol and Drug Treatment

In addition to the criminal penalties, a DUI conviction can have other negative consequences, such as increased insurance rates, difficulty finding employment, and social stigma.

Always consult a Seattle DUI attorney to determine what penalties you may face.

Arrested for a First-Time DUI? Here’s What to Expect

If you are charged with a DUI for the first time, here are the stages your case will go through:

  • You will be taken to the police station for booking and processing.
  • You will be offered a breath test at the station to measure your BAC. Refusals can result in an increased driver’s license suspension.
  • You will be charged with DUI if your BAC exceeds the legal limit of 0.08.
  • You may be held in jail overnight or until you post bail.
  • You will be arraigned. At your arraignment, you will be informed of the charges and can enter a plea.
  • If you plead guilty to DUI, you will be sentenced. If you plead not guilty, you will have pretrial and trial court dates set.
  • At your trial, the prosecution will try to prove that you were under the influence of or affected by alcohol or drugs while you were driving.

Working with a First Time DUI Lawyer

You should never go through the DUI court process alone, especially if this is your first time. While the court may assign you a public defender, they are often overworked and have little time to devote to individual cases. When you hire a DUI attorney at Emerald City Law Group, you will get a dedicated legal advisor to customize a defense strategy to your specific case.

Defending Against First-Time DUI Charges

There are several ways to defend against first-time DUI charges in Washington. The most common defenses include:

  • Challenge the stop. If the police officer did not have a valid reason to pull you over, your attorney may be able to file a motion to suppress the evidence obtained from the stop.
  • Question the breath or blood test. If the breath or blood test was not administered properly or if the breath test machine was not calibrated correctly, your attorney may be able to challenge the results.
  • Contest the field sobriety tests. Field sobriety tests (FSTs) are not always reliable, and your attorney may be able to challenge the results if they are not administered properly.
  • Argue that you were not impaired. Your attorney may be able to argue that you were not intoxicated. This may be possible if you have a medical condition that affects your balance or speech.

If you are facing first-time DUI charges, it is important to consult with an experienced DUI attorney. Emerald City Law Group is here to assess your case and develop a plan.

Washington First Time DUI Info & Resources

Our DUI lawyers are ready to help you navigate the charges you’re facing. We will protect your rights and help you understand your options. If you have any questions, contact Emerald City Law Group immediately.

Do I Need a Lawyer for a First-Time DUI?

A lawyer can help you minimize the penalties you face and ensure that your rights are protected. Here are some of the benefits of hiring a lawyer for a first-time DUI:

  • Clearly understand your rights and options.
  • Challenge faulty evidence against you and work to get the charges dismissed or reduced.
  • Negotiate a favorable plea on your behalf.
  • Protect your license and secure driving privileges.
  • Represent you in court and fight for the best possible outcome.

Don’t Try to Handle a DUI Alone. Call Today

When you contact the DUI attorneys at Emerald City Law Group, we will immediately jump into action. We will evaluate the evidence against you and identify the strengths and weaknesses of your case. From improper traffic stops to faulty DUI tests, we’ll poke holes in the DUI case against you and fight to keep your record clean. You should call us immediately so we can start investigating your case. However, if you cannot call, you can have a friend or family member call Emerald City Law Group on your behalf.

Emerald City Law Group Will:

  • Listen to your story and investigate your case thoroughly.
  • Discuss your options honestly and clearly.
  • Refer you to get an alcohol and drug evaluation if doing so proactively would benefit your case.
  • Challenge weak DUI evidence and aggressively advocate for you.
  • Keep you informed throughout your case.
  • Work diligently to ensure the best possible result for you.

First-Time DUI Defense Attorneys Serving Washington – Free Consults 24/7

Emerald City Law Group provides Seattle and the greater Washington area with top-notch legal representation for those facing a first-time DUI.

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

Greater Washington

  • 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