Maybe you missed our post this weekend, cautioning you to plan ahead for your Halloween celebration. Maybe you had a plan, but things did not quite go as expected. Maybe you just made a mistake. We understand that mistakes are part of life, and we are strongly committed to protecting your livelihood and future from the detrimental impacts of a DUI conviction.
There were extra officers out over Halloween weekend, looking for drivers who may have been drinking. If you have been arrested and charged with DUI, we urge you to carefully consider your next steps. We also want you to be prepared in the event you are pulled over for a DUI in the future.
If you have been arrested and charged with a DUI offense, what you do next is essential:
*Contact our experienced DUI attorneys at Dellino Law Group immediately
- A DUI is more than just a damper on a fun night out. A DUI arrest in Washington State is a serious offense and you need to take action now.
- The Department of Licensing does not wait until criminal charges are filed to begin the suspension process, so it is essential that you act now to protect your rights, including your right to drive.
*Request a DOL Hearing
- Understand that there are two parts to your DUI case in WA State: criminal & administrative
- When you are arrested or a DUI in Washington State, the arrest triggers administrative action with the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL).
- Your license will automatically be suspended if you do not request an administrative hearing. This occurs separately from any criminal charges you may face.
- You will lose your right to a hearing if you do not mail your WA DOL Hearing Request within 20 days of the arrest or make the request online, including the $375 fee.
- If you request your administrative hearing within the required timeframe, the DOL will not suspend your license until your hearing is held and a decision is determined.
- Contact an experienced DUI attorney to advise you around your best course of action. Your odds of winning exponentially increase with representation by a qualified DUI attorney.
- Please visit the Washington State DOL website and our prior blog posts for more information about this process.
*Understand the potential consequences
- There is a lot at stake, including large fines, expensive insurance premiums, jail time, drivers’ license suspension, and the long term impacts of a criminal record. Please see our prior post for a list of the current penalties and fines for DUI convictions in Washington State.
- Relationships, immigration status, and even your job may be adversely affected.
- With so much on the line, it is crucial that you don’t waste any time in involving skilled legal counsel.
If you have not been arrested for DUI, it is still important to be prepared and know what to expect in the unfortunate event this may happen to you in the future.
If you are pulled over for a DUI, what you do next may have significant impact. Please follow these steps if you are pulled over for suspicion of DUI in Washington State:
- Pull over to the right as safely as possible, as soon as you see a police car trying to pull you over.
- Be polite to the officer
- Don’t admit to drinking or using any substances. Do not answer questions about where you came from or anything else. If the officer asks, stay silent or tell him you would prefer to speak to an attorney before answering questions. Admission can be used against you later in court, but your silence or request for counsel cannot.
- Don’t complete field tests. Drivers have no obligation to submit to any field sobriety tests or answer any questions by the officer. See our web link for more detailed information about declining field sobriety tests.
- Don’t answer any questions without speaking to legal counsel first.
- Do I take the official breath test at the station? Under Washington State’s Implied Consent Law, you have already consented to breath or blood test. Ask to speak with an attorney before you take the test. The consequences of refusing the tests are often harsher than the consequences of taking them.
- Ask to contact your attorney as soon as possible. These are significant charges and you should not try to tackle them without experienced counsel to advise you appropriately and advocate on your behalf.