they say will be available in a couple months. I wasn't ticketed or booked and was let go 3 hrs later. My car was impounded which I retreived today at $350.00. Also a non refundable $375.00 must be paid to request a hearing. Where do I stand?
Everyone fails the field sobriety tests. They are not designed to help you and are not used to decide whether you're under the influence or not. They're simply used as evidence against you and there's never any reason to take them. Depending on the results of the blood test you may be charged with driving under the influence. You will need an attorney to help you with the criminal charges and the Department of Licensing at some point.
Blood cases can take 3 to 9 months, sometimes longer, to be filed. You should not wait until you receive charging information in the mail before you do something about this. Set up a free consultation with two or three attorneys and you will have the much better idea of what up against and what your options are.
Scott W Lawrence
Law Office of Scott Lawrence, PLLC
First of all, asking an attorney if you need an attorney is "sometimes" a little like asking a barber if you need a haircut. "Of course you need a haircut even if just a little off the sides and back because I'm a barber." Or, "of course you need an attorney, you're in big trouble, because I'm an attorney". My answer is that you might need an attorney at some point but you don't need one right now. In other words, you don't need to panic and start spending a bunch of money unnecessarily at this point.
Second, if the officer/trooper punched a hole in your license it is a temporary license. It is unrestricted, that is good 24/7 it's just that it is only good for 60 days from the date of your arrest. Within that amount of time the DOL case will either likely be resolved or your will be able to get your regular license back.
Third, to protect your interests, you should mail in the hearing request form with a check for $375.00. This will keep your license from being automatically suspended 61 days from the date of your arrest. Make a photocopy of the form and your check before you send in the originals. Be sure to mail them in "certified mail/return receipt. That way you will get the green card back proving that DOL received the envelope and you will have a copy of what was in the envelope.
DOL is going to then do one of two things; either schedule a suspension/revocation hearing for you by telephone within 60 days in which case you should then consult with/hire a "DUI Attorney" right away; or they will cancel (at least temporarily) their action against your license until they get the results of the blood test back and send you your $375.00 back.
If based on the results of the blood test (if alcohol shows up) they decide to proceed against you later (it can take around 2-3 months for the testing to be completed as the Washington State Crime Lab is understaffed and very backed up work wise) they will send you a new Notice of Suspension with a new Hearing Request Form and give you a fresh 20 days to mail in the form with another $375.00 for the hearing. You should then immediately engage a "DUI Attorney" at that point. If the results of the blood draw come back negative for alcohol but positive for drugs they will will probably leave you alone (based on the current law/DOL policies) but this will not affect a possible court case (criminal charge) which is a separate case.
Bottom line, take the steps I mentioned above to protect your interests but do not spend the $$ on an attorney, yet.
With respect to the criminal case (court case) if the Prosecuting Attorney decides to file charges against you (they have up to two years to file the charges and don't have to tell you if they decide not to) they will do so in the Kirkland Municipal Court (if it was a Kirkland officer) or in the Northeast District Court (if it was a state trooper). If it was a state trooper they might not file the charges for a couple of months as the state courts are quite backed up. If it was a Kirkland officer the charges will probably be filed within the next 30 days. In any event, whichever court the charges are filed in, you will get a subpoena or notice to appear for your arraignment from the court. Typically you will get this about 7-10 days before you have to appear. In other words, with still plenty of time to line up a "DUI Attorney". If the address on your driver's license is valid, you are good to go. If not, you should go on-line and update it a.s.a.p. as that is likely the address they will send the notice to.
Bottom line, you don't need an attorney right now for your "prospective" criminal/court case but you should get one as soon/if you hear from the court.
Finally, with respect to your car being impounded and the $$ associated therewith. An officer can do that pursuant to an arrest. You can request an impound hearing but you will likely lose.
If it would make you feel better, you could call a "DUI" attorney for a free initial consult.
As Mr. Lawrence says, nearly everyone fails the FSTs, but they will be used against you nevertheless. The officer appears to have believed that you were impaired by drug usage based on your "clear" breath test. What is unclear from your question is whether that test was done roadside by use of a small device known as a PBT or if it was the evidentiary breath test performed on the Datamaster at the police station or jail. An important issue if you are charged with a DUI is whether the officer even had the authority or "reasonable basis" to request a blood draw if he did so without employing a drug recognition expert (DRE). As for the $375 for the DoL Hearing, I would be surprised if they are even commencing an administrative suspension requiring a hearing unless the blood test comes back showing alcohol > .08 ot THC > .05. Keep on top of the case and contact an attorney experienced in DUI defense if you are charged.
You should contact an attorney for a consultation right away. If you were given a hearing request form already, there might be an allegation that you refused a test. True or not, if DOL receives a report alleging that you refused, you will lose your license unless you request a hearing within 20 days from the arrest to challenge the revocation.
Yes you need an attorney. You don't want to try and understand this type of case on your own. You will be overwhelmed and then you will be wondering if you are being told the truth by the state, prosecutor and/or court but with an attorney all can be explained. Interview a few attorneys and pick the one that meets your needs and your personality. Good Luck
You may not need an attorney since if there is nothing in your blood, they will have a tough time charging you with anything. That being said, you should take advantage of any free consultation that an attorney might offer you in the event that you do get charged later. No matter how bad your field tests are, they still have to prove that there was some substance in your system at the time of driving that caused what was perceived as impairment.
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