If you have been charged with driving under the influence (DUI) for the first time, the best thing you can do to protect your rights and fight the charges is to call an experienced first offense Seattle DUI lawyer from Emerald City Law Group. Facing a DUI can be intimidating. This may be your first time in trouble with the law, and you may have no idea what to do next.
At Emerald City Law Group, a first offense Seattle DUI lawyer from our experienced criminal defense law firm will guide you through the DUI legal process with reliable advice and compassion. We will give you the tools you need to make decisions that are right for you. Our highest priority will be to fight for your acquittal while at the same time, working to minimize the potential consequences of a conviction.
To learn more about how we can help you overcome a Washington DUI charge, contact a first offense Seattle DUI lawyer online or call 206-973-0407.
Washington DUI Law
Under the Revised Code of Washington, Section 46.61.502, you can be found guilty of a DUI if you drive a vehicle within the state while under the influence of alcohol, driving under the influence of marijuana, other drugs, or a combination of any of these. You will be charged if within two of driving you have a:
- Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or higher
- A BAC of .04 percent or higher if you are a commercial vehicle driver
- A BAC of .01 percent or higher if you are under 21
- A Blood tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of 5.00 or higher
This means your BAC or THC levels at the time of your arrest are not the only results that matter. If your alcohol or marijuana levels are above the legal limit within two hours of the traffic stop, you can be charged with a DUI. However, blood, breath, and other BAC or THC tests are not entirely accurate. There are many ways to defend against these results and prove you are innocent of a DUI.
What Counts as a First-Time DUI?
Based on RCW 46.61.5055, Washington courts will 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 convictions within that time, you will be charged with a second or subsequent DUI in Seattle. Regardless of the timeline of your charges, the prosecuting attorney will consider your past criminal history when filling charges and negotiating your case.
Potential Penalties for a First-time DUI
If you are charged with a first-time DUI, you are typically facing a gross misdemeanor. The potential penalties include:
- Up to 364 days in jail with a minimum of 24 hours
- 15 days of electronic home monitoring (EHM)
- Up to a $5,000 fine
- 90-day driver’s license suspension
- Alcohol or drug counseling
- Installation of an ignition interlock device
However, the potential punishments can be harsher if you were found to have a BAC of at least .15 percent or you refused to submit to a BAC test. Instead of a minimum of 24 hours in jail, you face a minimum of 48 hours.
For legal representation, call a first offense Seattle DUI lawyer at (206) 973-0407. We can discuss your specific case in a free initial consultation.
Collateral Consequences of a DUI
The consequences of a DUI extend far beyond the statutory punishments, including:
- A permanent criminal record
- Difficulty obtaining a job or professional license
- Difficulty getting accepted to a college or university
- Difficult obtaining financial aid like scholarships and grants
- Changes to your child custody or visitation schedule in the other parent’s favor
- Inability to obtain a visa renewal, permanent residency, or citizenship
- Limitations on your ability to travel abroad, including to Canada
If you are a truck driver facing DUI charges, the consequences could be even more devastating. You are likely to lose your commercial driver’s license for a period of time, putting you out work.
Alternative Punishments for a DUI
One of the scariest penalties associated with a DUI is jail time. If you are sentenced to almost a full year in jail, how can you continue to go to school or work? Who will take care of your children? Jail pauses your life and ultimately puts you behind your peers. It can damage your relationship with your spouse, children, and other family members. To avoid jail entirely or minimize its impact, you and your lawyers can fight for an alternative punishment, such as:
- Work release
- Community service
When you are facing a DUI, you are likely wondering how to defend yourself. With the help of a qualified first offense Seattle DUI lawyer, know that there are many ways to fight a DUI. At Emerald City Law Group, we will carefully investigate your situation to determine which defenses are appropriate and the most likely to work for you.
Potential DUI defenses include challenging:
- The validity of the initial traffic stop
- The validity of your arrest
- The admittance of evidence that was unlawfully obtained
- The accuracy of the BAC test results
- Whether the breath test machine was in proper working order
- Whether the breath test was administered by a qualified professional
- Whether the breath or blood sample was contaminated before or during the BAC test
Talk to a First Offense Seattle DUI Lawyer Today
Got your first DUI? There is hope. For the right defense against your DUI charge, call our Seattle DUI lawyers at 206-973-0407. We can discuss your specific case in a free initial consultation. For legal help with another criminal defense charge or personal injury claim, call one of our Seattle criminal defense attorneys or personal injury lawyers today.
How a Seattle DUI Lawyer Can Help
A lot of question come up if you are charged with a DUI in Washington State.
At Emerald City Law Group, we are here to answer them and advise you on what to expect after a DUI. Once we are on your case, we will conduct a thorough investigation to get all the facts, obtain the evidence that may benefit or hurt your case, and will determine the strongest possible defenses for your situation.
Depending on the situation, we can fight for the charges to be dropped or reduced, pursue a plea agreement, or prepare for trial. We will use all our resources to avoid a conviction entirely or minimize the penalties and collateral consequences.
If you have been charged with a DUI in or around King County, Washington, let us explain how we can help. Contact us online or call 206-973-0407 to schedule a consultation.