According to Washington State implied consent law, if you are stopped and arrested by a police officer, who suspects that you have driving under the influence, you agree to take a chemical test to show what your blood alcohol content is. Most often you are asked to take a breath test unless you are unconscious, or there is suspicion of drug influence. In those cases, blood tests are given. These tests must be administered with two hours. Contrary to popular belief, you can also be arrested for DUI in Seattle even if you are in the driver’s seat but not driving. The car may not be going, but Washington DUI laws assume that the driver may start operating again. At the time you are arrested for a DUI; the police must inform you that you can decline the test, but you might be forfeiting your license and receive other penalties if you are convicted. With a refusal, the officer must tell you about license suspension and information about how to arrange for a hearing. A police officer usually cannot force you to take the test except in cases where there is severe injuries or death. The arresting officer will mark your license and give you permission to drive for 60 days or until your hearing date arrives.
In Washington State, it is not a wise idea to refuse the chemical tests when arrested for a DUI. If this is your very first DUI offense in the state of Washington, your jail time could be up to one year and a fine ranging from $350 to $5,000. When you get the license suspension for one year for refusing the tests, you could still get a conviction if a prosecutor claims you refused because you knew you were intoxicated above the legal limit.
If you have been arrested for declining to take the required chemical test, talking to a good lawyer who knows the DUI laws in Washington is a wise idea. This is especially true if your DUI experience involved property damage or injuries to persons. If this arrest is your second or more DUI, the consequences can be very severe and can strongly affect your life. The DUI laws are very strict, and a lawyer can inform you of the laws and help you receive fair treatment from the courts of law.
State to state, DUI penalties and sentences different according to state laws. Some states have tougher fines, longer license suspensions or more time in jail than others. Usually, sentences depend on whether the defendant is a first-time or a repeated offender. Washington state is similar to other states in that fines, jail or prison time and license suspension or revocation significantly depends on the number of past DUI convictions. The type of prior charges can also make a difference in the sentence a judge hands down, as recent hit-and-run or vehicular manslaughter charges would have an impact on the decision. For individuals living in cities such as Seattle, license suspension or revocation is likely if they are arrested and convicted of a DUI, but the amount of time varies from case to case.
In Washington state, drivers often face suspensions or revocations when they are initially arrested and when they are brought up on charges. The amount of time their licenses are suspended or revoked also depends on whether they consent to breath or blood tests for their blood alcohol content. Drivers that refuse to take the test usually get longer revocations or suspensions. Adults over 21 with a BAC of 0.08 or higher and youth under 18 with a BAC of 0.02 or above can receive anywhere from a year to four years suspension or revocation, depending on the amount of previous offenses. Sometimes drivers can obtain an ignition interlock device.
Once drivers’ licenses have been suspended or revoked, they have a chance to argue for reinstatement during a hearing, which must take place within 20 days of the arrest. They need to request a hearing to challenge a suspended or revoked license. Even if they can get their licenses reinstated, drivers can still face an additional license revocation or suspension as well as fines or jail or prison time if they are convicted of DUI charges.
When faced with DUI charges, defendants interested in having their licenses reinstated to need to make sure to file paperwork within the state’s 20-day time frame. During the arrest, it is important that they hold on to any paperwork from police officers, including license revocations. Individuals interested in an ignition interlock device need to make sure to make a request, either right after the arrest or initial revocation or suspension hearing.
Our Seattle Dellino Law Firm are experienced in handling DUI cases can often help defendants to have their charges reduced or cases dismissed entirely. In DUI cases, defense sides sometimes argue for inconclusive results on field sobriety tests, the presence of alcohol in mouthwash or other substances, a case of “mouth alcohol” or improper administration of breath or blood testing as DUI defenses. With the help of an attorney, a defendant may be able to obtain paperwork to show inconsistencies or errors with sobriety or breath tests.