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Articles Posted in DUI

When someone is studying DUI laws in Washington there is a term that will come up and that is “escalating penalties”. What is usually also being discussed is whether the escalating penalties have been effective in curbing repeat offenses or DUI related fatalities. The phrase is actually used and discussed within two contexts so it can get a little confusing.

The first context you may have discovered if you have needed to deal with a second or greater DUI arrest. The more DUI’s that you get the penalties that you face increase. If you are facing a 5th or higher DUI charge the crime is then classified as a felony which would mean prison time if you were convicted. This is what is often meant by “escalating penalties”.

What can also be meant is the history of DUI law in the first place. This context of the term “escalating penalties” can also affect first time offenders. Continue reading

If you are facing DUI charges for the first time you are undoubtedly nervous and unsure of your options. This is not something anyone plans and when it happens all you know is that you are in the middle of a nightmare.

Now, of course, the best case scenario is an acquittal. But what if you do not think you have a chance of that happening? First, talk with your DUI defense attorney. The law is complex and the case against you may not be as hard as you think it is. But what if your defense attorney also thinks an acquittal is unlikely? Then what may be suggested is a plea bargain to a lesser charge and the most common charge would be a wet reckless driving charge (a reckless driving with an added statement related to having consumed alcohol). At this point you may be wondering, “Well, is this better? Do I want this or not?” Continue reading

To all parents the most important part of our lives is our children and their wellbeing. You go crazy with worry and possibly even ballistic if anything or anyone threatens them. But parents are just people like everybody else and people make mistakes. It causes extreme guilt but sometimes it is the parent that inadvertently causes the threat. You have now just been charged with a DUI. Will this threaten your child? It might. You will want to do everything to make sure that it doesn’t.

Being arrested is always stressful. Due to the stringent DUI laws in Washington being arrested for DUI can be scary as now you are facing potential jail time, large fines and other possible penalties. But let us look at your situation. Are you in the middle of a divorce involving child custody? Or are you the custodial parent and are now worried that if convicted you will be facing another custody battle? This can be terrifying. Continue reading

You’ve heard the expression “don’t judge a book by its cover”? Perhaps you even believe it and practice it in regards to people. So, perhaps you’re thinking, “It shouldn’t matter how I dress for court, I should simply be judged in regards to the merits of the case.” Maybe you’re right and maybe in a perfect world that would be the way that it is. But you would probably agree that this is not the time to make things harder on yourself. There is another old expression “honey attracts more flies than vinegar”. No one is going to get a favorable verdict or sentence simply on the basis of good clothes and behavior but the opposite can happen with bad clothes or behavior. Continue reading

Being arrested for DUI is terrifying enough. It’s usually caused by a temporary lapse in judgment with someone who has had no previous legal problems. So now, for the first time in your life, you’re facing potential jail time, fines, license suspension and other possible penalties like being required to install an ignition interlock device. But now it even just got scarier for you. Your child was in the car and now you’ve just learned that CPS is investigating you.

First – don’t panic. It may feel like it but you’re not being singled out. In WA anytime a DUI arrest happens with children in the car they are required to report it to CPS and CPS is, in turn, required to conduct an investigation. What CPS is looking for is whether there is cause to believe that ongoing abuse or neglect is happening in your home. If that does not describe your situation then you have little to worry about. But it is frightening and is one reason you need the counsel of your defense attorney. Continue reading

You were arrested for DUI, you were tried and you were convicted.  Or perhaps you plead guilty.  If you had the assistance of Smith & White, PLLC then you likely plea bargained to a reduced charge that does not have mandatory jail, can come off of your record and does not have a 5 year probation period.  However, if you went with someone else then you may have spent a day or two in jail.  Now you’re thinking, “That was horrible but I paid my debt and now it’s all over.” It can be. Of course what you will want to do is make sure it is.

What you may not realize is that when the court sentenced you they probably placed you on probation. In fact, unless the court gave you the maximum jail sentence of a year they did put you on probation. The probation in Washington lasts for two to five years and is sometimes supervised and sometimes unsupervised. When you were placed on probation the rest of the jail time was put on suspension. It will only face you if there are any probation violations.

Talk to your defense attorney to make sure you know and understand the conditions of your probation. That way you can make sure you have the necessary counsel so that you will progress correctly. Continue reading

You’re being either accused of DUI or are under investigation for a crime. Perhaps you’ve even had to go through the stress of arrest and arraignment. This is the most stress you’ve probably ever been under. You’re worried. Your family is worried. Your friends are worried. Everyone is saying, “Get a lawyer.” You want to follow this advice. You realize that a defense attorney on your side would be a good idea to have. But the task is daunting. There are several attorneys in the area and you have no idea how to choose one. Most of this will be what you will want to consider no matter what the crime is that you’re under suspicion of.

There are a few things to consider. These may sound fairly obvious, but you’re in a situation where the obvious doesn’t always feel so obvious. Continue reading

A DUI charge is one of the most seriously taken and stigmatized charges in Washington. You probably feel like you’re being treated like a criminal even before you’ve been convicted. You’re upset with yourself for getting in this situation as is your family. You’re wondering, “What do I do now? How do I handle all the interrogation?” Looking for and retaining a defense attorney is a good start. There are also some things you should do and some things you shouldn’t do when dealing with the police.

Here is what you should not do. Don’t be rude or condescending. Remember that the police are people doing their job. When you’re doing your job do you give the best service to those who mistreat you? We all try to, after all it’s our job, but it’s difficult isn’t it? If an officer wants to arrest you, they can usually find a reason. So, don’t make them want to. Continue reading

You were driving home. All of a sudden you realized, “Oh my goodness, I shouldn’t be driving, I’ve had too much.” So, you pulled over and chose to sleep it off. That way you wouldn’t be a danger to yourself or others. You were trying to do the right thing. Yet now you find yourself facing charges of physical control. You don’t even quite know what that means and you’re angry to find you’re arrested and charged while trying to do the right thing. You will want a DUI defense attorney on your side.

Now you’re thinking, “I wasn’t even driving! Why do I need a DUI defense attorney?” Though it is a different charge, the circumstances are similar and the penalties are exactly the same. Physical control is charged when you are in control of a vehicle and are impaired by alcohol or drugs. You could be facing a year in jail, a $5000 fine, a license suspension, and required treatment or installation of an ignition interlock device. This can get just as serious as a strictly DUI charge; that’s why you need a DUI defense attorney. Continue reading

Being arrested is stressful. Being arrested for DUI is scary. After all, now you’re facing potential jail time, fines, license suspension and other possible penalties like mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device or mandatory drug/alcohol treatment programs. It’s not good for any career but being charged with DUI in certain professions can be downright terrifying. If you’re in the military you may be facing further sanctions. If you’re a CDL driver or a pilot this could have serious repercussions to your career.

Let’s start with the military possibility. Because of your military career and especially if you were stopped on base you may be facing these charges in federal court. The penalties are the same but the procedures are different. You need a DUI defense attorney that is familiar with these differences. Continue reading

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