Drunk Driving & DUI

DUI Tacoma

Drunk Driving Defense Attorney

You are probably looking at this web page in order to research a DUI/DWI/BUI case. Take the next step: Contact JensenLegal.com to set up a Free Consultation. Call our office at 206-617-9173. Every case is unique, every case presents opportunity for defense. At Jensen Legal we have over two decades of legal experience.

In the last fifteen years, DUI cases have attracted lots of draconian legislation designed to make even getting arrested and prosecuted the worst experience for you possible. It does not need to be any worse, so hire a good lawyer to guide you through the process.

In Washington, a driver is considered to be Driving Under the Influence (DUI) if the driver´s blood alcohol concentration is .08 or higher, or if the driver is impaired by other drugs, or both. It does not matter whether the drugs are prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs or illegal drugs, if your driving has been affected or impaired, you will be arrested if stopped.

Drivers under age 21 can be arrested for DUI with a blood alcohol concentration of .02 or higher.

These are the minimum penalties for a DUI conviction, they depend on the alcohol reading of your case and any prior history with alcohol related cases.

First Offense (BAC less than 0.15):

Minimum of one day in JAIL, FINES between $900 and $2,500 depending on the court. LICENSE SUSPENSION of 90 days, IGNITION INTERLOCK required for 12 months, ALCOHOL TREATMENT, SR-22 (high risk) insurance for 3 years, court PROBATION and a permanent CRIMINAL RECORD.

First Offense (BAC over 0.15 or refusal):

Minimum of two days in JAIL, FINES between $900 and $2,500 depending on the court. LICENSE SUSPENSION of 1 year, IGNITION INTERLOCK required for 2 years, ALCOHOL TREATMENT, SR-22 (high risk) insurance for 3 years, court PROBATION and a permanent CRIMINAL RECORD.

Second Offense (BAC less than 0.15):

Minimum of 30 days jail PLUS 60 days of HOUSE ARREST. Most of the rest same as above.

Second Offense (BAC less than over 0.15 or refusal):

Minimum of 45 days jail PLUS 90 days of HOUSE ARREST. Most of the rest same as above.

Alcohol & Drug Treatment Programs

What happens to a person who is convicted of a DUI?

A conviction for DUI carries these basic consequences:

  • Jail (between 1 and 364 days)
  • Home Detention (sometimes)
  • Complete alcohol treatment. The amount depends on the results of an evaluation conducted by a State certified alcohol treatment agency. Classes can be anywhere from 8 hours of education to 2 years of treatment. Some agencies have a sliding scale for low income.
  • Complete a Victim´s Panel class. Typically it´s a two hour class, where victims of DUI drivers speak about their experience.
  • Community Service Hours (sometimes)
  • Fines (always)
  • License Suspension (How long depends on your history and your case)

Ignition Interlock Device (IID)

Question: Many drivers ask if they can still drive if their driver´s license gets suspended because of a DUI arrest, can I still drive?

Answer: Almost always the answer is YES. Most people are allowed to drive with an Ignition Interlock License. Driving with an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) requires a license. The Ignition Interlock License (IIL) allows you to drive limited distances and for specific purposes when you have an IID installed on your vehicle.

What is the difference between these two: IIL vs. IID?

IIL = Ignition Interlock LICENSE

  • Requires an Ignition Interlock Device is installed on the vehicle
  • It´s a type of “Temporary Restricted License”
  • You must carry and be able to produce an SR-22 insurance policy
  • You must apply for and pay DOL to get one

IID = Ignition Interlock DEVICE

  • Required in circumstances when the driver´s license is not revoked/suspended.
  • Sometimes called a “blow and go” by people who talk about these often. It´s a breath test machine hooked up to your car.

Basics to get an Ignition Interlock License (IIL)

Learn how to reinstate your license

Yes, you can reinstate your license. Here are the steps and a link to the process, also located on the DOL website

You can also look up your current license status at the Washington State DOL site.

A great email address to get answers from the DOL is: drivers@dol.wa.gov However, this email address is for a government department, never assume DOL has given you the correct answer. Consult an experienced DUI attorney.

Washington State DUI Law

What´s new in DUI Law?

Felony DUI laws. For people with multiple prior DUI or other qualifying convictions, a new DUI charge can be a felony. That means up to 5 years in jail and thousands more in fines. Beginning in September, 2011, more convictions are being added to allow a DUI to qualify as a felony.

How can you help yourself if you do get stopped at a DUI checkpoint or get pulled over?

Don´t drink any alcohol before you drive. If you do and you get stopped, exercise your 5th Amendment right to remain silent, no matter what you are told. The only exception is to take the Breath Test if the officer takes you down to the Station.

DUI Checkpoints and High Visibility DUI Enforcement Programs

A new DUI Checkpoint website has been launched sponsored by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, in order to provide King, Pierce and Snohomish County Residents advance notice of where special DUI patrols will be set up. This DUI Checkpoint website WATikiLeaks has a DUI Checkpoint calendar and other information on the coordinated law enforcement efforts to keep drunk and drug impaired drivers off the road.

The Commission hopes that by providing drivers information about the dates, times, and locations of DUI patrols, responsible citizens will observe caution and common sense by choosing a designated driver or will seek alternate means of transportation if they are consuming alcohol or any drug that may impair their driving ability.

In February 1996, The Drug Evaluation and Classification Program (DEC) was established. This program has focused on training law enforcement officers to become Drug Recognition Experts (DREs). Once certified, these trained officers are able to recognize the symptoms of intoxication for seven different categories of drugs.

In addition, the The Washington State Liquor Control Board´s Enforcement and Education Division identifies establishments recognized as “Locations of Strategic Interest” based on arrest data they have collected, focusing resources and coordinating efforts with law enforcement to reduce exessive drinking.

The Washington State Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor Program was implemented in August 2009. This program is designed to prosecute, sanction, and treat DUI offenders. The goal is to increase and enforce the vigorous and unswerving prosecution of impaired drivers. The training, resources and references available to the Courts share the common goal of implementing the ten DUI Court principles developed by the National Center for DWI Courts. The Administrative Office of the Courts conducts annual DUI judicial educational training to keep judges up to date regarding new legal and technical issues surrounding DUI cases.

Protect yourself and hire a DUI attorney with the experience and knowledge to represent you in court if you have been charged with a DUI or DWI. Call Kris Jensen at 206-617-9173!

Department of Licensing Hearing

If you are cited for DUI, there are two basic actions the Government will take against your license and here they are:

  • The Department of Licensing (DOL) will send you a notice that your license will be suspended for a certain amount of time unless you contest the suspension. This is called a DOL Administrative Hearing. At Jensen Legal we always want a client to contest the suspension of their license by DOL regardless of the facts of the incident.
  • If you are convicted in Court, the Court will send notice of your conviction to DOL. If the conviction is for a suspendable offense (DUI, Reckless Driving, etc), then DOL will initiate a suspension of your license.
  • The Department of Licensing (DOL) suspensions sometimes run concurrent (at the same time) and sometimes consecutive (end-on-end). You´ll need good legal advice in your case to determine the period of suspension and what you need to get your license reinstated.

Challenge DUI Convictions

Challenging DUI charges is what we do best. Any reduction in charges is likely to save you thousands of dollars in reinstatement and insurance fees. It also keeps your record in better condition for employment, apartment checks and other background and credit reasons.

Every case is different. A high BAC test case can sometimes be explained by external factors and defenses on the BAC machine. A refusal of BAC case can be explained. You have the right not to take a breath test and it´s your attorney´s job to best explain why you refused to the Court, Jury or Prosecutors.

Fighting a DUI Charge

Why fight the charge? The question is, why roll over? If you don´t fight your case the prosecutors will convict you and without a moment of sorrow.

How do lawyers win these cases? Statistics on “winning” and “losing” are not to be trusted. The question for you is how to best fight your case and do best for you in both Court and with the Department of Licensing.