How do you protect yourself from DUI charges? On your worst days, it can feel like the whole world is against you. Both the Department of Licensing and local law enforcement will try to rob you of your right to return to the road, sometimes without good reason to do so.
A DUI defense attorney in Bellevue, WA, with Puget Law Group has spent time on both sides of the bench and knows how to turn the prosecution’s arguments against them. If you’re ready to defend yourself against DUI charges, contact our team to learn more about the representation we can offer you.
Drinking and Driving Versus Buzzed Driving
There’s no difference between driving while intoxicated and driving while buzzed, and the Pacific Northwest recognizes it. Washington breaks down a person’s possible degrees of alcohol intoxication into the following categories:
- Above 0.08%
- Above 0.15%
You have the right to refuse a blood alcohol content (BAC) test if Washington police officers pull you over, but doing so may not work out in your favor. You can face an arrest and criminal charges for refusing to allow officers to determine your BAC.
If you find yourself pulled over and accused of a DUI, make sure you get in touch with a DUI defense lawyer in Bellevue, WA, as soon as you can. Our team will protect your rights end-to-end, starting at the scene of an arrest.
Marijuana and DUIs in Washington
The state of Washington recently made the casual use of marijuana and THC paraphernalia legal. That said, the state updated its DUI laws to reflect these changes.
The state also notes that anyone who gets behind the wheel of a car while under the influence of at least five nanograms of THC may face DUI charges.
What’s more, the state also uses the phrase “affected by” as a catch-all for alleged impairment behind the wheel. Even if you are not over the legal limit for THC or alcohol, you may face legal consequences if officers believe the consumption of these products has impaired your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely.
Consequences for DUIs in Washington State
Revised Code of Washington 46.61.502 states that no resident may operate a motor vehicle with a BAC above 0.08%. Drivers who get behind the wheel while intoxicated by any substance face at least one day in jail, provided they don’t have a prior criminal history of misconduct. A prior history can exacerbate the sentence you face.
In general, the consequences a person can face for blowing 0.08% or higher on a BAC test can break down as follows:
- First offense, no priors: Up to two days in jail and home arrest
- Offense with one prior: A minimum of 30 days in jail alongside 60 days of house arrest with monitoring
- Offense with two priors: A minimum of 90 days in jail alongside 120 days of house arrest with monitoring
- Offense with three priors: A felony charge upon conviction, including up to nine months in jail and a maximum sentence of 84 months.
Anyone who blows higher than 0.15% on a BAC test can face more severe consequences for their alleged misconduct. Blowing above 0.15% with priors can lead to felony charges far faster than you might if accused of consuming less of a controlled substance.
What to Do If You’re Arrested for a DUI in Bellevue, WA
It can prove challenging to protect your life from the consequences of DUI charges, particularly if you’ve never tangled with the legal system before. It is often in your best interest to have a drunk driving defense attorney navigate that process for you.
Our team brings more than experience to your pursuit of justice. Puget Law Group, in particular, knows how the prosecution works. We step in and ensure that officers don’t have the chance to misinterpret your behavior at the site of an arrest. We then emphasize your cooperation and challenge any accusations of continued misconduct.
These efforts can help you stay ahead of the multitude of consequences you might otherwise face, including ignition interlock requirements, house arrest, SR-22 insurance requirements, fines, and jail time.
What to Expect from Your Case
If you face accusations of driving under the influence, you need to tackle those accusations on two fronts. You must first address the concerns of the Department of Licensing. You have seven days from your arrest to file for a hearing with the department. Miss that deadline, and you risk an automatic license suspension.
Fortunately, Puget Law Group knows how quickly the Department of Licensing expects you to turn your paperwork around. That’s why our DUI defense lawyers in Bellevue, WA, step up and help you stay on top of your deadline. We will file your hearing request for you. We will even pay your $375 request fee.
Once you’ve addressed the Department of Licensing’s concerns, you have to face the concerns of Washington’s criminal courts. You will likely have to attend an arraignment, at which a criminal judge will tell you what consequences you risk facing for your alleged crimes. Your attorney can then enter your plea to initiate further legal proceedings.
Get the DUI Representation You Deserve Today
You don’t have a lot of time to protect yourself from DUI charges. The Department of Licensing and the state’s prosecutors are both working against you with the intent to limit your freedoms. Fortunately, you don’t have to let their efforts go unchallenged. Once you have a Bellevue drunk driving defense lawyer on your side, you can advocate for your rights in and out of court.
Puget Law Group knows how to turn the prosecution’s efforts against themselves, thanks to years spent on the other side of the bench. We’ve helped thousands of DUI clients like you protect their ride to remain on the road.
If you’re ready to secure tried-and-tested representation, you can contact our team today.