Seattle DUI Lawyer
Skilled DUI Representation from a Former Prosecutor. Free Case Review!
If you are facing a charge for drunk driving in Washington, it is important that you get the representation you need during this time. Should you choose to entrust your case with our Seattle DUI lawyer, you can feel confident in your choice. Using experience as a former prosecutor, I may be able to prove the faultiness of the breathalyzer test you took or that the police stop that led to your DUI charge was unlawful in the first place.
At Guadagno Law, PLLC, I have successfully handled thousands of criminal cases in Seattle, WA over the last 17 years, including countless DUI cases. As a result, I can employ various case strategies and tailor them to fit your needs to enhance your likelihood of achieving a favorable outcome.
DUI Penalties in Washington State
The risks and consequences associated with a drunk driving arrest, charge, or conviction could be potentially life-changing. In the state of Washington, a person who is found to be driving with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level of 0.08% or higher can be charged with DUI.
You could face the following penalties if convicted of drunk driving in Seattle:
- Jail time
- Driver's license suspension
- Community service
- Mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device (IID)
Administrative Penalties for a Washington DUI
An administrative penalty is imposed by the Washington State Department of Licensing and is triggered by your arrest, even if it does not lead to a conviction. For a first-time offender, administrative penalties could include:
- A 90-day administrative license suspension if the driver’s BAC is .08% or more
- One-year administrative license suspension if the driver refuses chemical testing
Additionally, if convicted, a first-time DUI offender will be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle for at least one year.
First Time DUI Penalties in Seattle, WA
First-time DUI offenders will also face criminal penalties following a conviction. These penalties include:
- For motorists with a BAC under .15%: One to 364 days in jail, at least 15 days of electronic home monitoring, or 90 days in a 24/7 sobriety program, in addition to fines and fees up to $5,200 and a 90-day license suspension.
- For motorists with a BAC of .15% or more: Two to 364 days in jail, at least 30 days of electric home monitoring, or 120 days in a 24/7 sobriety program, in addition to fines and fees up to $5,200 and a one-year license suspension.
License Suspension for Seattle DUI
DUI is a very serious criminal charge, so it should come as no surprise that a conviction can lead to a suspension of your driving privileges. However, many people are unaware of the extent of this suspension, along with the fact that their license can be suspended even if the charges are dismissed.
If you have been arrested under suspicion of DUI, your driver’s license or privilege to obtain a driver’s license in WA (if you have an out-of-state license) may get suspended if you don’t request your DOL hearing within 7 days and don’t prevail at your administrative DOL DUI license hearing. As such, our Seattle DUI attorney prepares clients by:
- Researching the applicable laws
- Arguing the four issues, and only four issues, that apply
- Preparing a written brief when beneficial to your case
- Attempting to reverse the Department of Licensing’s revocation of your license
After a DUI arrest, it’s vital to act fast. You have 7 days starting on the day of your DUI arrest to request a hearing or else you waive your right to a hearing by the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL). If you waive your right to a DOL hearing, then you could automatically lose your license. At the DOL hearing, an examiner will look at your case and decide whether or not to uphold the suspension. This is why representation from a Seattle DUI attorney can go a long way in helping the examiner rule in your favor.
Some charge reductions could also come with an administrative suspension. For example, an excellent outcome could be a reckless driving charge, which is a gross misdemeanor. However, even a DUI charge that gets reduced to reckless driving comes with its own 30-day license suspension. If you have already lost your license from the administrative action (DOL hearing) then you will NOT be re-suspended for an additional 30 days. You will instead get day-for-day credit from the original suspension on the 90-day or 1-year administrative suspension. Depending on whether you had a BAC over .08 and first offense, or refused a breath test, you could get a 1-year suspension.
It's critical to know that arresting officers should provide you with a DOL hearing request form on the day of your DUI arrest, but unfortunately, they don't always do this. Be sure to request the hearing request form from your arresting officer so that you don't risk losing your license. On the hearing request form, the 7-day rule is emphasized in bold letting and reads, "Your request must be postmarked within 7 days of the date of arrest, or within 7 days of the date the notice was given." If you have not been given a DOL DUI hearing request form by the arresting officer, or if you have misplaced it since being released from custody, let me know. I am able to get you another and will not let you forget this important task.
With this in mind, the license suspension penalties for a DUI conviction in Washington State include:
- First DUI Conviction: Regardless of the outcome of your license hearing, your driving privileges will be suspended if you are convicted of DUI. For a first-time offense, this suspension can last up to a year, and will typically be for 90 days at minimum.
- Second or Subsequent DUI Conviction: If you are arrested for a second or third DUI in Seattle, the license suspension is just one of many penalties that will become far more serious. For a third DUI conviction, your license can be suspended for up to four years!
Is There Anything I Can Do to Stop the Suspension?
Hiring a quality Seattle DUI lawyer is the most important thing you can do to prevent or at least mitigate license suspension. By aggressively defending you against your criminal DUI charges and successfully arguing your administrative suspension by the DOL, I can work to maintain your license free from suspension, get the charges dismissed altogether, or help you plea down to reduced charges. If you are convicted, you may be able to apply for a restricted “Ignition Interlock Driver License,” which allows you to drive a vehicle that has an ignition interlock device installed within.
Field Sobriety Tests in Washington
The Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) is made of 3 individual tests:
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test - For this test the officer will observe the eyes of the person in question as they slowly move a pen or stylus back and forth to look for horizontal and vertical clues in each eye that the person has consumed alcohol, suggesting to the officer there is an indication a driver might be impaired. HGN does NOT prove or indicate a driver is impaired, only that the driver may have consumed alcohol.
- Walk-and-turn test - In this test, the officer instructs the person to take nine steps forward, a series of half turns, and walk nine steps back to the starting position, touching heel-to-toe in a straight line. All of this is required without falling off balance or even raising your arms to maintain balance. Remember: Don’t start until the officer tells you to begin, or that counts as a point against you.
- One-leg stand test - In this test, the officer instructs the person to stand on one leg and hold it for 30 seconds or until told to put it down. The officer looks for signs of impairment such as swaying, hoping or using their arms to balance.
A DUI’s Impact on Your Future
A DUI does not only come with possible jail time, fines and fees, license suspension, and other penalties, but it can come with repercussions that can continue to affect you long after you have paid the legal price. If you are convicted of a DUI, you will have a criminal record, which means potential employers might not want to hire you. This is particularly true if you have a commercial driver’s license, which will be revoked, or if you drive a work vehicle that requires your company to provide liability insurance, such as a fleet vehicle if you are a salesperson or drive for a living. This may be devastating to bus drivers, truck drivers, taxi drivers, and any job that requires one to drive regularly in the course of daily job duties.
If you have a job at the time of your conviction, that employer might not keep you, or you might not be able to remain a student at the university you attend. If you were receiving scholarship money or plan on applying for financial aid, a DUI can also impact your eligibility for receiving these benefits. It is important that you speak with me, a Seattle DUI lawyer, to fight the possible negative impacts of a conviction.
How I Can Fight Your DUI Charges in Seattle, WA
At my firm, you will work directly with me, a skilled Seattle DUI lawyer who can provide you with exceptional DUI defense at an affordable rate. I am never too busy to provide the personalized attention my clients need and deserve.
In fact, not only do I respond to all client inquires within 24 hours, but I also can provide emergency legal counsel around the clock.
"First-Class Talent. First-Class Person.
"When my daughter got into DUI trouble, I was forced to find a defense attorney for her. In the giant 'Lawyer Lotto' game, I was extremely fortunate to have won Albert for the task. Despite my daughter's nearly debilitating fear of the consequences (I wish she'd had these fears BEFORE the DUIs), Albert went out of his way to try to calm her without minimizing the seriousness of the situation. It was clear that Albert's compassion for his clients is a unique treasure in the legal community. Not only that, he was instrumental in negotiating a completely satisfactory outcome to the whole situation."
- Former Client