Spokane, Washington DUI Defense Attorney
A conviction for driving drunk can result in serious legal and financial penalties. A DUI conviction can affect employment, insurance premiums, health coverage, even visitation or custody rights if children were in the car at the time of your arrest. At the Law Offices of Gerald R. Smith, I explore alternatives to jail, license suspension, and heavy fines for my clients. Depending on your driving record and the circumstances surrounding your arrest, I work with the court to reduce the charges and sentence against you. When there are reasons to believe your arrest was unconstitutional or the results of the blood alcohol test incorrect, I have the investigative and forensic resources needed to challenge the evidence against you. At the same time, I advise clients in regard to steps they can take to convince the court they are prepared to drive responsibly and avoid lengthy license suspension or revocation.
A DUI arrest doesn't have to result in jail, heavy fines, and the loss of your driver's license. Avoiding the serious consequences of a DUI begins with understanding how DUI is handled in the state of Washington. To schedule a free, confidential consultation regarding your case, contact DUI defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Gerald R. Smith today.
What are the Penalties for Driving Drunk in the State of Washington?
The court has a certain amount of discretion when sentencing someone convicted for DUI. Typically, the judge will take into account your previous driving record, your blood alcohol level, whether you had passengers in the car, if you were speeding, and whether an accident and injuries were involved. Depending on the specifics of your case, conviction on a charge of DUI could involve one or more of the following penalties:
- Jail time (from 1 day to more than a year)
- Suspension or revocation of your driver's license
- Fines of up to $5,000
- SR-22 insurance
- Installation of an ignition interlock device
- Probation monitoring
- Enrollment in an alcohol evaluation and treatment program
How Can I Challenge the Evidence against Me?
Police officers are required to follow specific procedures and constitutional principles when making a DUI arrest. First, an officer must have "reasonable suspicion" to pull a car over. Secondly, he or she must administer a field sobriety test according to a given protocol. Next, if a breathalyzer is used, the machine must be properly calibrated and in good working order. As your attorney, I review dashboard camera video footage to determine if your car stop and field sobriety test were conducted correctly.
In certain respects, field sobriety tests seemed designed to ensure failure: even sober, a percentage of the population will have difficulty performing some of the tasks required. Since the judgment and evaluation of an officer during a field sobriety test provides "probable cause" to make an arrest, how they are administered is very important. I also request the maintenance records on the breathalyzer used in your arrest to determine if it was calibrated correctly and has ever registered a "false positive" in the past.
Don't Assume a Plea of "Guilty" will make your Problems Go Away
As your attorney, I explore alternatives to maximum penalties that could lead to longer jail sentences and the loss of your driving privileges. Keep in mind, your employer may not be understanding if you have to take a leave of absence to spend a few weeks or more in jail. Reducing your sentence may have a significant impact on other areas of your life - and finances.
I understand what needs to be done to convince the court to reduce the sentence against my clients. To schedule a free consultation and learn how I can help you, contact DUI defense attorney Gerald R. Smith today.