Written By: Josh Lowell ~
Click it or ticket. Drive hammered, get nailed. Over the last decade or longer, Washington State Patrol and the courts have been cracking down on drunk driving. Rightfully so, in Washington hundreds of drivers and passengers dies every year, while thousands die every year nationally due to alcohol-impaired driving. Campaigns brought by Washington law enforcement have done their best to get the word out that drunk driving will no longer be tolerated. Washington courts have followed suit.
Police have the authority to pull over drivers in Washington if they notice errant driving. From swerving, to speeding, to driving to slowly, officers have lenient discretion in many circumstances to ensure our roads are safe. Judges are now required to follow specific guidelines for sentencing and must implement minimum sentence for even a first DUI. Here are ten facts you should know to dissuade you or others from driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
- Jail Time is Mandatory. If you are convicted of DUI, the Judge will require a stint of jail. The amount of jail will depend on the severity of the crime alleged, but there is no escaping the sentence.
- A Lower BAC (“Blood Alcohol Content”) Means a Lesser Sentence. Driving with a BAC over .15 will mandate a harsher sentence pursuant to the sentencing guidelines. This includes more jail, higher fines, and longer license suspensions.
- A Second DUI Means Harsher Sentences. The sentencing guidelines also dictate that drivers will have more severe punishments for any DUIs beyond the first.
- Negotiating Reduced Charges is More Difficult. With a similar stance to the judge’s and legislature, prosecutors are cracking down on DUIs by limiting pretrial resolutions. It used to be very common for prosecutors to lessen their schedule by providing ample room for negotiations. Nowadays, resolution is highly case dependent and limited in many circumstances.
- DUIs are Difficult to “Win.” Breath and blood technology are only improving, and police training on DUIs is becoming more effective. Circumstances warranting straight dismissal or not-guilty verdicts are rarer than ever before.
- Do Not Drive Drunk with Children in the Vehicle. State mandatory sentences take this very seriously. DUIs with kids in the vehicle are treated even more harshly. Severe punishments with added jail, higher fines, and longer suspensions.
- There’s More than Just Jail and Fines. Generally, courts will require alcohol and drug evaluations and will require you to follow all recommended treatment. You will need to participate in a victim’s impact panel. Community service or work crew are also very common requirements as part of any DUI sentencing.
DUIs in Washington are complicated and require both care and patience. The courts and the prosecution are taking these offenses seriously. Everyone deserves a proper defense. Working with a qualified and experienced attorney can ensure you have the best opportunity for an optimal outcome. The attorneys at Magnuson Lowell, PS will work cooperatively with you and the prosecution to determine if pretrial resolution makes sense or whether trial is in your best interests.