Research indicates that the State of Washington and the City of Seattle boast the toughest DUI laws in the USA. These cases are cited as receiving the most frequent administrative/ in court activity as well.
Recent institution of 0.08 percent as the driving while impaired designation has resulted in a deluge of detrimental consequences even for residents with no previous criminal record. With or without submission to breath testing procedures, mandatory drivers license suspension is highly possible. Even with no prior conviction, a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge can result in a 90-day suspension following voluntary breath testing and one year for those who refuse to submit to testing.
In addition to those above, a financial responsibility clause comes into play. More commonly known as an SR-22, this can be required for a 3-year period regardless of whether the case is dismissed or receives a favorable outcome. Washington’s Department of Licensing has the power to institute a 7-year background check for the purpose of bringing any prior DUI or DWI issues to light.
Retaining the services of a qualified Seattle DUI attorney is highly advised even in the early stage of your case in light of documentation that must be filed beginning with submission of a Drivers Hearing Request form that must be filed within 20 days of receipt of the pending charge. This filing must include a $375 fee payment.
As of January 1, 2009, the state instituted an Ignition-Lock option that involves a $60 per month fee plus installation costs. This process requires the driver to blow into a breath analyzer prior to starting the engine and at intervals during vehicle operation. Eligibility for this option requires pre-requisite filing of SR-22 paperwork. Under this option, employers of drivers using non-company owned vehicles must request sanction by the Department of Licensing.
Proof of the severity of consequences is evident in the fact that a 1st Offense carries a mandatory 1-year incarceration and up to a $5,000 fine. Mandatory appearance in court occurs within 1 to 14 days following arrest. Even at 0.08 percent and with no prior infraction, 1-day jail time, a lesser fine, probation and license suspension is most often handed down in court. If deemed advisable during adjudication, the minimum time for ankle-bracelet wearing is 15 days. In either case, probation conditions must be precisely adhered to and will be monitored by the Washington DUI Probation Office.