Written by Stryder Wegener
When you get charged with DUI, it is likely that the prosecutor will try to convince you to accept a plea agreement. In exchange for your guilty plea, the prosecutor will likely offer the guarantee of a lesser charge, no jail time, or lenient fines. But what the prosecutor won’t tell you about are the full consequences of pleading guilty to criminal charges. This is why you need a lawyer by your side to counsel you on whether accepting a deal or fighting the charges is the best option.
The cost of a DUI in Seattle without a lawyer will be bigger than just fines and penalties. You also need to consider the collateral consequences such as the loss of your license, your increased auto insurance premiums, and potential effects on your employment. Taken together, these costs far exceed the lawyer’s fees you would spend on the defense of your DUI case. If you want to reduce or eliminate the consequences of a Washington DUI, call Emerald City Law Group today at 206-973-0407 or use our online contact form.
The Cost of Your DUI Will Be Much More than Your Criminal Fines
When faced with criminal charges, most people focus on the possibility of jail time and paying criminal fines. While these are legitimate concerns, there is more to the story. The long term costs of a criminal conviction such as a DUI can create real and long lasting financial hardship for you and your family. Before you plead guilty to your DUI charges, consider the following:
- You May Pay Hidden Fees In Addition to Your Fines. In Washington, the maximum penalty for a DUI is $5,000. In King County, mandatory minimum fines are set $350 for a first time DUI with a .15 blood alcohol content (BAC). But this is not all you will have to pay to the court. In addition, you will need to pay a toxicology lab fee, a court funding fee, a Title 46 fee, and a Public Safety and Education Assessment, which altogether add up to $865.50.
- The Court May Order You to Substance Abuse Education and Treatment. After your conviction you will need to attend an alcohol and drug assessment, and then attend an alcohol and drug information class–all at your own expense. In some cases the judge may order you to undergo substance abuse treatment or 24/7 alcohol monitoring, which you also have to pay for.
- You Need to Pay to Keep Your Driving Privileges. If you want to keep your driving privileges after a conviction, you will need to pay for the installation and maintenance of an ignition interlock advice, which may cost up to $1,000 a year. There are also fees associated with the application for restricted or probationary driving licenses. When you finally get your full license back, there’s a $150 fee.
- Your Auto Insurance Premiums Will Go Up. When you’ve been convicted of DUI, you need to get an SR22 insurance certificate from your provider. This means that you will need to pay higher premiums, which on average may be 50% higher than what you usually pay as Washington state driver.
- Your Conviction May Negatively Impact Your Career. Whether you are still in school or already in the labor force, your DUI conviction can be a serious career setback. You could face disciplinary action from your school, which in some cases might even lead to expulsion. For some careers, a DUI conviction will make it tougher to get a professional license. And regardless of your career path, you may find that some potential employers are reluctant to hire someone convicted of a crime such as DUI.
When the prosecutor is trying to convince you to take a plea deal, they won’t tell you about the collateral consequences of a DUI conviction. And whatever deal they’re offering is probably not their best. With a Seattle DUI lawyer by your side, you can negotiate a better plea arrangement, or dig in and fight for your innocence.
How Emerald City Law Can Help
When you are being charged with a crime, your chances of obtaining a good case outcome will increase if you get legal help early in the process. A lawyer can review your case file and cross examine the arresting officers to ensure that your rights were respected during the traffic stop, your arrest, and questioning. If your rights were violated, your lawyer may be able to have evidence removed from your case. To learn more about the possible defenses to your DUI charges, call a Emerald City Law Group now at 206-973-0407 for a free case consultation.