Tacoma Lawyer Martin Duenhoelter has been representing defendants in Washington courts for 20 years. His job is to ensure that every accused person receives all the rights and protections the law allows.
What to do if you've been cited for a DUI - DWI in Pierce County Washington (Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs)
You need to call a competent Tacoma lawyer.
Operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) is a serious crime in Tacoma and the rest of Washington, and those who are accused of a DUI need to take it seriously and you need an attorney.
A "drunk driving" conviction can result in a suspended driver's license, mandatory community service or "traffic school," increased insurance rates, large fines and in some cases, jail time. Persons convicted could lose their job, future job or educational opportunities, and even be denied entry into some foreign countries.
And if someone is injured or killed and a court finds that the cause was an intoxicated driver, that driver could be convicted of the serious crimes of vehicular assault or vehicular homicide. When you are accused of these or any crimes you will need an experienced lawyer. Vehicular assault can carry a penalty of Ten Years’ imprisonment and $20,000 in fines. Vehicular homicide can carry a penalty of Life imprisonment and $50,000 in fines. Both can lead to millions of dollars in court-ordered restitution or civil judgments to the victim.
If you are accused of driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs (DUI), call the Law Office of Martin Duenhoelter immediately to ensure that your rights are protected.
Things to know about Tacoma Washington’s laws on drinking and driving
- A person is legally impaired when his or her blood alcohol content is more than 0.08%. This can be established by a blood test or by a breathalyzer, which is a test in which the driver blows into a straw and a machine measures the alcohol content in that person’s breath.
- Alcohol or drug impairment can also be established by what is called a “field sobriety test,” which may involve being asked to walk a straight line, touch your nose with your fingers, count backwards, or other tasks designed to determine whether a person is intoxicated.
- Someone driving a car in Washington has already agreed to take a breathalyzer test when requested to do so by a police officer. This is called “implied consent,” and a refusal to take the test can result in criminal penalties whether or not that person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time.
- A person can be prosecuted for operating a vehicle while under the influence when operating an automobile, a bicycle, a motorcycle, a boat, an airplane, a tractor or other moving farm equipment, or even while operating a horse-drawn vehicle.
- Washington has a “dual track” system in which persons accused of a DUI will have their driver’s license suspended administratively by the Washington Department of Licensing in addition to any criminal process they may be subject to. Regaining a driver’s license may require working through both processes.
- Washington has a “zero tolerance” policy for persons under the legal drinking age who are driving while impaired by alcohol. A person who has not yet turned 21 can be convicted of DUI if he or she has a blood-alcohol content of more than 0.02%. This means that any alcohol detected in a minor’s blood while driving can mean a conviction for driving while intoxicated.
- Although Washington does not use a “point system” for traffic infractions, the state will automatically suspend the licenses of drivers for 30 days if the driver has a fourth moving violation within one year or a fifth moving violation within two years.
- Under Washington’s “open container” law, a driver can be given a citation for having an unsealed container of beer, wine or other alcoholic beverage in his or her car, even if he or she is not drunk.
Issues that could impact your case:
Did the police officer have a valid legal reason to stop your car?
Were the Field Sobriety Tests administered properly? Did they meet Federal guidelines?
Was the breathalyzer or other chemical testing done properly?
Did you have a medical condition that might have affected the outcome of the blood-alcohol content measurement? Were you taking a lawful prescription or over-the-counter drug that may have affected the test’s outcome?
Only an experienced lawyer or attorney, trained in defending these and other issues, can help to determine whether a person charged with a driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol may have valid legal rights or claims. If you are being charged with a DUI, contact our office for a consultation immediately.
For more information on local laws relating to Driving while Under the Influence of Intoxicants (“DUI”), Speeding Tickets or Traffic Tickets, visit our companion sites lawyerintacoma.com and trafficticketintacoma.com.
Information contained in this website is not to be taken as legal advice, nor does viewing this site mean that an attorney-client relationship has been created.