What You Should Do If You Get A DUI

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DUI Numbers Increasing

The numbers of DUI and DWI convictions over the past 10 years has skyrocketed, and that is because law enforcement agencies across the United States have literally been cracking down hard on drinking and driving, and the results have meant a dramatic increases in arrests.

Emotionally DUI arrests can be pretty bad, partly because you’ve been drinking and then were arrested, but also because getting this kind of charge has a lot of repercussions that go along with it. When it comes down to it, you should definitely understand that there are many aspects and outcomes of getting a DUI that will change your life, so you’ll need to be ready for these changes.

What You Need to Know

You are much more likely to get a DUI than you were in the year 2010, and that was just seven years ago! So let’s get right into some of the things that everyone who gets a DUI or DWI needs to know about!

The first thing you should know after getting arrested for DUI is that your insurance is about to increase, and that is not something to be too excited about, but of course it is something that should be expected. You become labeled as a high-risk driver and that makes you put under all these statutes of limitations and can create much higher prices for insurance. This is not always the case, though, and if you had a good driving record up to your DUI arrest you may be with an insurance company that only raises your rates a little bit.

Of course, the major notion that everyone has with DUI and DWI is with alcohol, but these charges are for literally anything, so you should definitely know that just avoiding alcohol consumption does not get you off any hooks with the law at all, and can even lead to more serious charges depending on what a urine test shows up with after your arrest at the police station. This is not the situation you want to get yourself in.

Also, a lot of people are scared to be a registered felon after getting a DUI, but if it is your first DUI then it is more than likely going to be a misdemeanor. But this is not always the case of course because many times a DUI recipient also hurt or even killed another person in a crash, and that leads to a felony no matter what.

Be sure to handle your arraignment and then get yourself an experienced lawyer for everything else. What’s important here is that when you are in your arraignment you are going to get in the situation in which you are presented in front of the court typically after a night in jail and then you are asked to plead guilty, not guilty or to ask for a plea bargain of some sorts or even a jury trial. A lot of times people think that lawyers should help out in this situation and they actually really can. If you have a lawyer to help you out with your plea bargain, especially if it’s your first criminal offense, then you have a really good opportunity at getting the charges reduced dramatically.

You are going to lose your license for a good amount of time, typically around a year, but maybe anywhere from 3 to 12 months depending on where you live. What you are going to want to do right away is make sure your arresting officer gives you a temporary license when he takes your regular license away. This temporary will have a date on it that corresponds with a DMV hearing that you’ll have to go to in order to get your license back. You can plead your case in many circumstances, but if you fail to plead your case you are looking at not having a license.

The best and fastest way to get your license back is through a treatment program. By doing this program you typically will be able to get your license back, but it does take some time.

The main thing you should know though is that it is going to follow you awhile, and that is just something that you can’t avoid in these situations, which is exactly why you need to know your rights and make all of the right decisions from the very beginning of the arrest to your new license and freedom back on the road!

Michael Phelps Discusses His DUI Conviction

Drivers who are arrested for driving under the influence in Spokane and other Washington communities understand what Michael Phelps meant when he told Sports Illustrated that he was in “a really dark place” after his 2014 DUI arrest. An arrest for driving under the influence is the only time that most people become involved in the criminal justice system. Apart from the legal consequences of a DUI, an arrest often impairs self-esteem, creates social stigma, and leads to a deep sense of shame and embarrassment.

Phelps is used to facing challenges. He has won more gold medals than any other Olympic competitor. Yet nothing in his life prepared him for the challenge of facing a DUI prosecution. He felt that he let down his fans, his friends, his family, and his foundation.

Overcoming DUI Despair

Disappointment and despair are common reactions to an arrest for driving under the influence. Defense attorneys who assist individuals after a DUI arrest understand how traumatic the experience can be. The good news, as Michael Phelps’ story illustrates, is that it is never too late to turn a life around. Phelps went through some bad times, but after renewing his commitment to his training regime and to sobriety, he has a chance at the 2016 Olympics to become the oldest swimmer ever to win a gold medal — and he is favored to win at least three.

Phelps entered an alcohol abuse treatment program voluntarily. That is often a good option for people who are facing a DUI charge. While the first line of defense is to avoid a conviction, taking steps to minimize the consequences of a potential conviction is an essential backup plan. Judges respect people who recognize that they have a problem and who do something about it. That respect often translates into more reasonable penalties if a DUI defendant in Spokane or surrounding communities is eventually convicted.

Treatment allowed Phelps to work through problems that had been building in his life for years. He also credits sobriety for his leaner physique, for his ability to sleep soundly, and for the clear head that allows him to focus on his goals.

Making the Right Choice

Not everyone who is arrested for DUI has a drinking problem. Some people drink an extra beer and do not realize that they are over the limit. Any driver who has more than one “standard” drink per hour is at risk of exceeding a 0.08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC), even if they are not drunk.

In many cases, it makes sense to contest the DUI accusation. A variety of defenses can be raised that might save driving privileges and avoid the sanctions that accompany a DUI conviction. That is a choice you should make in consultation with your Washington DUI defense attorney.

Phelps, who had a 0.14% BAC and crossed two double-yellow lines while traveling at speeds in excess of 80 mph, acknowledged that he had a problem. Any driver in that situation should do what Phelps did — get help. And realize that with the support of friends, family, and a good DUI defense lawyer, it is possible to overcome the challenge of a DUI arrest.

 

Disclaimer

The materials available on this website are for informational purposes only and are not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. This article does not create any attorney-client relationship.

Driver Arrested for DUI after Falling Asleep in a Drive-Thru

A defense that DUI attorneys in Spokane raise in appropriate cases is that the arrested individual was not driving and therefore cannot be convicted of driving under the influence. Unfortunately, that defense will not help a driver like the one whose arrest recently made the news when he was found passed out at Taco Bell drive-through in Northern Idaho.

To convict someone of driving under the influence in Washington, the prosecution must prove that the accused individual was under the influence while driving or while in actual physical control of a vehicle. “Driving” means controlling a car’s motion.

Actual physical control

While the legislature has not given “actual physical control” a precise definition, that section of Washington’s DUI law is usually applied to drivers who are in a position to control the movement and direction of a vehicle even if the vehicle is not being driven. One Washington court decision held that a driver was in actual physical control of a car that ran out of gas when the driver remained in the vehicle after moving it partly onto the shoulder of the road. Although the vehicle was not operable, it was capable of being rendered operable by walking to a gas station and buying more gas.

The Washington Supreme Court took note of court decisions in other states that concluded a driver was not in actual physical control of a car when the engine was not running, the keys were not in the ignition, and the driver was sleeping in the back seat and thus had no present ability to control the vehicle. If you might be over the limit and a part of your car is in the road, you should not sit in the driver’s seat with keys in the ignition, even if you do not plan to drive. If you do, you might be accused of DUI.

The “off the roadway” defense

Washington drivers have a defense to a DUI charge based on being in physical control of a vehicle if they move their vehicle safely off the roadway before they are stopped or pursued by a police officer. That defense serves a public benefit by encouraging drivers to get off the road if they feel they should not be driving.

If the driver in the Taco Bell drive-through had been in Spokane, the facts reported in the media suggest that he would not have been spared a DUI prosecution. While the driver may have moved off the roadway by pulling into the drive-thru of a closed restaurant, the “off the roadway” defense applies only to defendants who are charged with being in actual physical control of the vehicle. It does not apply to defendants who are charged with driving.

The news report states that the car was running and the transmission was still in drive when the police investigated. When the officer knocked on the window, the driver let the car roll forward, then allowed the car to move in reverse before he finally shifted into park.

The driver is presumed innocent and he may have other defenses to the charge that he was under the influence. Any driver in or near Spokane who is arrested for DUI under similar circumstances should get legal advice immediately.

 

Disclaimer

The materials available on this website are for informational purposes only and are not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. This article does not create any attorney-client relationship.

How common is underage drunk driving in Washington?

Every year, an alarming number of underage drunk drivers get behind the wheel. Sadly, when someone makes this decision, it could result in an accident that causes serious injuries and even loss of life. However, even when an accident doesn’t occur, the potential consequences of being charged with an alcohol-related driving offense can have a serious impact on a young person’s future. For example, they may have difficulty securing employment because of their criminal record or experience problems with friends and family members. In Spokane, Washington, and across the nation, those who have been charged with underage DUI should closely analyze their situation and take a close look at all of their legal options.

The Washington State Liquor Control Board published a fact sheet which explores the prevalence of underage drunk driving. In addition to considerable criminal and civil penalties, underage drunk drivers may become seriously injured or even lose their life in a wreck. According to the WSLCB, almost one out of every five 10th graders who participated in a survey that was conducted in 2014 said they rode in a vehicle with drivers who had consumed alcohol. Furthermore, the survey found that nine percent of 12th graders reported operating a vehicle after consuming alcohol. Sadly, underage drunk drivers between the ages of 16 and 20 are over twice as likely to lose their life in an auto accident when compared to those who are over 21.

Please remember that the material presented in this piece does not constitute legal advice.