Frequently Asked Questions: DUI

If my BAC is below the legal limit can I still be found guilty of DUI?

Yes. It is illegal to drive your vehicle when impaired by alcohol. If you drink and drive, and your driving is impaired by alcohol, then you are guilty of DUI.

Does the car have to be moving for me to be guilty of DUI?

No. If a breathalyzer test shows that your breath alcohol content is over .08 then you can be arrested for DUI even if your car is stopped. If the prosecutor proves that you were in physical control of your car you will be found guilty.

Do I have to submit to a breath or blood test?

No. But remember, refusing a breath or blood test will most likely result in your driver’s license being suspended or revoked, regardless of whether or not you are ever found guilty of DUI. If you do refuse a law enforcement officer’s request to take a breath test or blood test, the fact that you refused can be used against you in a criminal trial. The prosecutor will argue that you refused the test because you had a guilty conscience and knew that you were drunk. When you sign your driver’s license, you give your consent to submit to the breath or blood test approved in your state for determining breath or blood alcohol concentration. So it is generally in your best interest to take the breath test at the station, not on the roadside

Can I fight my DUI arrest?

Yes. There is no way to predict with certainty the outcome in your case. When you are arrested for DUI in Washington State, two cases are usually initiated against you. One is a civil case, where the Department of Licensing (DOL) will try to suspend or revoke your driver’s license. The second is a criminal case, where the state or local government will try to put you in jail, make you pay fines, take away your driver’s license, force you to undergo alcohol or drug therapy, put an ignition interlock on your car and force you to purchase an expensive, high-risk insurance policy. Your opponents are fighting to win. In order to defend yourself, you must hire an experienced DUI attorney to fight for you.

If I am arrested for a DUI, will I lose my license?

It depends. After arresting you the law enforcement officer will usually mark your license and issue you a temporary driver’s license. The temporary license is good until you receive a notice from the DOL that your license is suspended or revoked for some period of time, or that the civil action against your license is dismissed. If the civil case is dismissed or concludes with a finding in your favor, then the temporary license will expire and you may apply for a new driver’s license. If you are later convicted of DUI in the criminal case arising from the same arrest, you may still lose your license for 90 days or longer. If you are not convicted of DUI or any other criminal traffic crime that calls for a license suspension or revocation then you will not lose your license.

How long will I lose my license for?

It depends. If you refused to submit to a breath or blood test, your license will likely be suspended administratively for a period of one year for a first refusal, or for twenty four months if you have previously refused to submit to such a test. If your BAC is over the legal limit, your driving privileges will likely be suspended for 90 days for a first offense, and two years for a second incident. If you are under 21 your license will be suspended for 90 days on your first offense. For a second offense your license will be suspended for one year or until you are 21, whichever is longer.

What else will happen to me?

Once again, this depends. If you are convicted, it is likely you will be given jail time. Our state has a mandatory minimum sentence of one day in jail for a first offense with a breath-test reading of under .15. The time in jail increases to two days in jail if your breath test is over .15 on a first-time conviction. If you have prior convictions within the past seven years, the penalties increase exponentially. A second offense DUI in Washington with a breath test of .15 or higher results in a mandatory 45 days in jail, followed by 90 days of Electronic Home Monitoring (EHM), fines in excess of $1,3000, 900 days driver’s license suspension followed by a probationary license for five years, ignition interlock on your car for a period of one year after your driver’s license is reinstated, alcohol assessment and follow-up treatment recommendations, and high-risk insurance for three years. For more detailed information, refer to the DUI Penalty Chart.

How does a DUI conviction affect a non-citizen?

A DUI conviction for a non-citizen could result in removal from the United States.

How does a DUI conviction affect airline pilots?

A DUI conviction or a treatment program following a DUI arrest will very likely have a negative impact on your FAA medical certification, causing you to lose your certification and adversely affecting your flying status. In short, you could lose your job.

How does DUI affect travelers?

Canada identifies certain individuals as being inadmissible to Canada. A DUI conviction makes you inadmissible and you will not be permitted to enter Canada.

How does DUI affect my commercial driver’s license?

If you are convicted for DUI driving your personal vehicle during your free time it will still result in you losing your commercial driver’s license. If you are DUI while driving a commercial vehicle during work hours you will also most likely lose your commercial driver’s license.

What are your fees?

There is never a fee for your initial consultation with Kannin Law Firm. Call us at 206.257.7950 or fill out our online contact for (at right) to set up an appointment to discuss your case.