Do People Just Assume They Will Have To Plead Guilty To DUI Charges?
In the State of Washington, many people assume that they will have to plead guilty to DUI charges. In 2019, Washington State had 29,972 DUIs filed. There’s a large number of people who believe that it’s a done deal if they blow over a 0.08 on a breathalyzer, which is incorrect. A lot of times, DUI attorneys can get charges reduced to lesser charges like reckless driving or negligent driving in the first degree. The benefit of getting your charges reduced can mean little to no jail time, and reducing the consequences that a DUI will have on your license.
On the other hand, there is a small segment of people who think their DUI should be dismissed. Getting a DUI dismissed in Washington State is a challenging task. It’s not impossible, but it is an uphill battle. In 2019, there were 546 DUI trials throughout the state. Of those, only 103 individuals were found not guilty after trial. The numbers are not in your favor, but that does not mean you should just plead guilty and move on. It always makes sense to have a DUI attorney by your side throughout the process. Being charged with a DUI is a serious issue that can impact your life for years to come. A DUI attorney can help you navigate through this stressful time, protect your legal rights, and advocate on your behalf to pursue a favorable outcome in your case.
What Are The Top Misconceptions People Have About Being Arrested For A DUI?
The biggest misconception that people have about being arrested for a DUI is the belief that you can only be charged with a DUI if you blow over a 0.08 blood alcohol level. In Washington, it is possible to be charged with a DUI even if you blow under the legal limit. The State or City can do this by proving that your driving was affected by consuming alcohol. People routinely get charged with a DUI when they blow under the legal .08 per se legal limit.
Another misconception is the belief that your driver’s license automatically gets suspended as soon as you are charged with a DUI. Two separate license suspensions can occur stemming from a DUI.
The first potential suspension occurs when you are arrested for a DUI, and you blow over a .08 at the police station, or you refuse to give a breath sample. In this scenario, your license will be suspended unless you request a hearing to fight the suspension within seven days of your arrest and the hearing examiner rules in your favor at your hearing. If you don’t ask for a hearing or the hearing examiner rules against you, your license will be suspended for ninety days to two years, depending on the facts and circumstances in your case. The license suspension will begin thirty days from the date of your arrest or fifteen days from the day the hearing examiner rules against you.
The second potential suspension will happen if you are convicted of the DUI in court. This suspension can last from ninety days to four years, depending on the facts and circumstances of your situation. This suspension will go into effect forty-five days after the Department of Licensing (DOL) receives notice from the court that you were convicted of the DUI. However, it is important to note that you will receive day-for-day credit for any suspension time that you have already completed if you did not request the hearing above or if the hearing examiner ruled against you at your hearing.
What Information Should I Share With My DUI Defense Attorney?
The first thing that I always tell my clients is that I need them to be honest with me. I am fighting for them, and I need to know what we are facing. DUI attorneys don’t like surprises! As a general rule, attorneys will not ask a question unless the answer is essential. Most attorneys are typically guarded in the questions we ask because if the case goes to trial, we can’t knowingly allow you to commit perjury or lie if you were to testify.
Therefore, most attorneys tend to avoid questions unless the answers are necessary for the preparation of the defense. Some answers to questions are more important than others, such as, have you ever been convicted of a criminal offense or a DUI in the past? This is a crucial piece of information that attorneys need to know for several reasons. For instance, if you have a prior DUI, it will affect the negotiations with the prosecutor and the sentencing with the Judge. Knowing the full extent of a person’s criminal history is vital because your attorney can gauge various negotiation possibilities with the prosecutor.
Your DUI defense attorney will need to know what was said to the police officer who pulled you over. For the most part, people tend to talk to police and admit to a lot of things even after they’re told that they have a right to remain silent. Statements given to police can be used against you in court. Another vital piece of information that your attorney should know is whether you were able to perform the field sobriety test. Any medical conditions need to be relayed to your attorney as well because certain conditions can affect an individual’s performance on a field sobriety test. Finally, any medications that you may be currently taking is also essential.
For more information on Pleading Guilty To DUI Charges In WA, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (253) 201-2001 today.
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