The Potential Outcomes of a Washington DUI Case
There are a variety of potential outcomes to a DUI case. Although we don't recommend it, you could plead guilty and suffer the consequences of conviction. Instead, we can fight for you. We search for mistakes made by the officer, for problems with any testing devices used, for anything done in violation of proper and required procedures. We take evidence of the mistakes to the prosecutor to convince them their case is not as strong as they think it is, and we push for a reduction of the charge or a dismissal if the problems are severe. If the prosecutor is unwilling, we keep fighting by filing motions that seek to exclude the evidence against you. Sometimes, filing of such motions forces the prosecutor to take another look at your case, or can lead to the judge excluding evidence the prosecutor needs. These efforts have enabled us to obtain reductions of DUIs to less serious charges for the vast majority of our clients.
Do I Need a Lawyer? What Can Happen to Me Without One?
Without a Tacoma DUI attorney at your side, you are at the mercy of an experienced prosecutor and the judge, both of whom know the ins and outs of the DUI laws very well. Prosecutors know that public sentiment is strongly against drunk drivers and that jurors have the same sentiments. Unless the prosecutor is shown why a conviction might be difficult to obtain, they have no reason to bargain with you. This is why you need a lawyer with the knowledge and experience to find the problems in the prosecutor's case and to get the most out of them on your behalf. If you don't have a lawyer, or if you don't have the right type of lawyer, you could be convicted of a DUI and suffer all the consequences that follow the conviction.
The consequences of a DUI conviction include:
- Mandatory jail time and fines
- Mandatory license suspension or revocation
- Mandatory ignition interlock device for at least a year at your expense
- Up to 5 years' probation
In addition, you will be required to get an alcohol / drug assessment and follow the recommendations, including up to 2 years of treatment if so indicated. If no treatment is necessary, you will at minimum have to attend an 8-hour alcohol drug information school and a DUI Victims' Impact panel. The court will impose conditions of probation, which if violated, could result in further incarceration and additional suspensions of your license.
Other Possible Consequences of a DUI Conviction
The consequences of a DUI conviction don't stop at the courthouse door. Your insurance may be canceled. You will be required to obtain high risk SR22 insurance, which may be a financial hardship. You will be excluded from traveling to Canada, and possibly other foreign countries. Rent-a-car companies may decline to rent you a vehicle. If your job requires that you drive potential clients in your vehicle, the ignition interlock device may be a source of embarrassment to you. It seems also that having a DUI conviction makes it more likely that law enforcement will stop your vehicle in the future, ostensibly for some slight driving or equipment irregularity, although the officer's true motivation is to see if you have been drinking and driving.
This is so because they have access to DOL records and are almost constantly running plates. Because public sentiments about drunk driving are so extremely negative, officers have become extremely aggressive in hunting down drunk-drivers. Certain jobs are extremely adversely affected by a DUI conviction. A clean driving record is required for jobs such as commercial drivers, fire-fighters, taxi drivers, and others who have to drive a company or personal vehicle on the job. For these people, a DUI could cost them their jobs. With more companies doing pre-employment background checks for criminal records, it may well be difficult to become employed again, even for employers who do not require driving.