In Washington State, Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is classified as a "gross misdemeanor" criminal offense.  This means that
if you are convicted of DUI, you are subject to a maximum 364 days in jail and a $5000.00 fine.  With a DUI conviction, there are
also mandatory license suspensions/revocations and Ignition interlock requirements.  Unlike many other gross misdemeanor
cases, there are "mandatory minimum" penalties associated with a DUI conviction.  What those are in your case, including the
length of mandatory jail time, fines, license suspension, ignition interlock, etc., will depend on whether you have any prior similar
convictions, when those convictions occurred and the specifics of the arrest in this case.

So you have been arrested for DUI, what happens now?

After an arrest for DUI, there are usually three initial primary concerns:

  • The court
  • The Department of Licensing
  • Chemical Dependency Assessments and classes  


THE COURT

Law enforcement officers arrest persons for DUI.  
State or City prosecutors decide whether or not to charge those individuals after the arrest.  
If a person is in custody, that decision may be made quickly.  If a person is not in custody, that decision may take weeks or
months.  
Eventually, if charged, the court will schedule and "arraignment" hearing.  
At that hearing, the charged individual will enter a plea (likely not guilty), the Judge will put conditions on the person's continued
release,
and schedule a "pretrial" hearing to take place about 30 days after the arraignment.
The "pretrial" is not a "Trial."  It is a preliminary hearing at which the defendant, the defense attorney, and prosecutor will
exchange information, negotiate, and likely set additional hearing dates.


THE DOL

While there may be a lengthy delay in actually filing the criminal DUI charge, there specific and independent
time requirements to request a hearing to contest the likely administrative license suspension resulting from the arrest.
In almost all DUI cases, the Department of Licensing will move to suspend or revoke the drivers license of a person arrested for
DUI.  
This action is independent of and will not wait for the court case to begin or complete.  It also requires an affirmative request
from the driver.


THE ASSESSMENTS AND CLASSES

Unless the DUI charge against a person is completely dismissed, or they are found not guilty after a trial, the person will likely
be required to obtain a chemical dependency assessment and complete the recommended treatment.  
The assessment and classes must be completed at a "State Certified Treatment Agency."

If you are arrested for DUI, try to speak with an attorney as soon as possible.  There are time limits that may restrict your ability
to request a hearing to contest the suspension of your driver's license.  In addition, you may not be immediately arrested or
charged and there may be actions beneficial to your case that your attorney can assist you in discovering, maintaining, and
preparing.  Documenting the facts of your case, the circumstances of your arrest, the administration of the field sobriety tests
and breath or blood tests can help formulate a future defense to the pending charges.

In every DUI case, I will seek to negotiate either a dismissal of or a reduction of the original DUI charge whenever this is
possible.  

This involves challenging the results of your breath/blood tests and the circumstances of your arrest.  
If there were problems with the field sobriety testing or breath/blood testing, there is a better chance of having evidence
suppressed and your case dismissed or the charges reduced.    It is also important to really understand why the office came into
contact with you in the first place.  Why were you stopped?  What did he/she see?  As your lawyer, rest assured that I will go
through every step of the arrest and investigation to determine the legality of the stop and detention.  

A DUI/DWI/Physical Control charge is a complex process that is nearly impossible to legally explore without experience and
training.  My criminal defense practice offers the knowledge, experience, and commitment you need to help you successfully
pursue the best possible outcome in your case.   I will lobby the government and the court on your behalf for as long as it takes
to reach our goals.
WASHINGTON COURTS
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REVISED CODE OF WASHINGTON
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DUI DEFENSE
EDWARD NELSON
LAW OFFICES, PLLC
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