Drivers on our disability forum who have been arrested for DUI or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs need to know what their options are after Washington DUI arrest. Is it better to plead guilty and attempt to put the offense behind them or should they hire a DUI lawyer and fight it out in DUI court? These are great questions and most drivers should talk to a Washington DUI lawyer, most of whom will provide a free DUI consultation to discuss your case and to present your options to you before you make your final decisions. This blog will address the main issues you will need to consider.
1. Consider the penalties for DUI in Washington
State laws vary for driving under the influence charges, but all states now have severe DUI penalties, many of which may be long-term such as limited employment options or educational licensing restrictions. When you are considering whether or not to plead guilty, do not just consider the immediate fines and penalties but consider how the conviction may affect you in the future.
So what are the penalties for a first time DUI conviction in Washington? Drivers who are convicted of DUI may face a jail term from 24 hours to one year, electronic home monitoring for 15 days, fines from $865.50 to $5,000, a license suspension for 90 days, mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device, and increased insurance protection (Washington SR22 Insurance). Drivers may also have to take an alcohol and education course as a prerequisite for getting their Washington license reinstated.
2. Consider the evidence the prosecution has against you.
Whether or not you should fight a Washington DUI charge generally comes down to how much evidence the state has against you. If they have chemical evidence which seems to be conclusive, physical evidence or eye witness testimony it may be difficult to win your DUI case. Obviously all of this should be discussed with a DUI lawyer but the lawyer may decide it makes more sense to discuss plea options with the prosecution.
If, however, there is no chemical evidence or the testing methods and procedures for the BAC test are in question, your lawyer may believe you have a chance to win your DUI case if you were to go to court and will encourage you to fight the DUI charges.
3. Consider how pleading guilty may affect your employment or future employment opportunities.
As mentioned above, you have the standard penalties that the state will impose on you that can cost you money and time but you also should consider how a DUI charge which will remain on your driving record for many years, potentially forever, could affect your employment or future employment opportunities. For some individuals a DUI could completely derail their chances of working in some fields.
After the DUI you can immediately call a DUI lawyer and schedule a consultation. Present your case and discuss the next step which is right for you.