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My stepdaughter is being threatened with a year in jail for interlock device criminal violation. Please help!

Olympia, WA |

She used to live in WA until 4/2013, when she moved to FL. On vacation in WA today, she was pulled over. She had an interlock device on her car there for a year. In 4/2012, she was notified that the IDL expired, took it to the company, showed the letter, and they removed it. Now, she was told she had to have it until 10/2012 and was supposed to renew the license. They are telling her that she can't leave the state and come back home, has to appear in court on 7/24, and will be sentenced to a year in jail. She says she can get the letter showing the IDL expired from the Dept of Licensing. The prosecutor told her that she can't have a public defender, but that if she shows proof they might drop the charges or make her put the IDD on her car in FL. That doesn't sound right. What can she do?

Thanks for your replies! To answer, no she did not have an attorney for the original DUI. Also, I think the prosecutor is flat out lying to her. How could she face sentencing when there wasn't any kind of trial? To confirm what Scott Lawrence stated, this is a misdemeanor? The prosecutor is scaring the beejesus out of her by repeatedly using the term "criminal". Unfortunately, she is currently unemployed and I am not in the best financial situation, so hiring an attorney would be difficult, and I have no idea how much it would cost. If you know any that are inexpensive and have payment plans, I would like a consultation.

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Attorney answers 7


She will want to speak with an attorney about the facts of her case. Did she have counsel when charged with the DUI? Did she contact that office? It is important to address this issue so it is not prolonged and she can return home as soon as possible. She will need to appear at the revocation hearing.

Contact a couple attorneys to find one that she is comfortable with. My office has handled many of these and can help find her representation if needed.

Best of Luck

Jeffery S. Whalley

WWW.DRIVERDEFENDERS.COM Legal disclaimer: The answer provided is for educational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. You should consult an attorney for legal advice regarding the facts of your specific case and designed to help you with your personal needs.


Hire her an attorney. There are several great attorneys here on that are from that area. Contact one or all and see who is available to help her. I live 3-4 hours away so you will probably want to hire somewhere in that area.

Patrick Owen Earl

Patrick Owen Earl


Thank you for the "helpful" designation for my comment. Have a great day


I concur that she is going to want to have a lawyer. She is also going to want to speak privately with a lawyer about all the facts of this case, not on an open internet forum like this.

From what you are describing, it sounds like at worst, there was a misunderstanding. I have never seen, nor could I ever imagine a judge sentencing a person to a year in jail for a misunderstanding (unless she has been otherwise extremely bad in her probation).

Good luck!


I think you're a little confused. The prosecutor has nothing to do with whether or not she qualifies for a public defender. The court makes that determination and decision.

It's also very rare that (1) somebody is confined to the state of Washington when they have misdemeanor charges pending and (2) that a person gets a year in jail for an interlock ignition device violation.

That being said, she's probably going to be a LOT better off with an attorney. If she does not qualify for a public defender she should hire one.

Scott W Lawrence
(425) 488-8481 (Office Phone and Text Messages)


Just wanted to add that the judge does the sentencing, not the prosecutor, so the "she will be sentenced" is automatically not accurate so hopefully that eases some tension. Maybe he said she "could face up to a year in jail."


Your step daughter can drop by my office and ask to speak with somebody about whether or not she will qualify for our services. In Thurston County both the Court and the Director of Assigned Counsel have authority to qualify people for assigned counsel. She can contact Thurston County Office of Assigned Counsel, 1550 Irving St. SW, Top Floor, Tumwater, WA 98512. 360-754-4897


Threats to jail people for a year routinely come with gross misdemeanor charges. The reality is that folks on first offenses of DUI have that threat too, but at worst find themselves serving a day or two of jail in most cases. I think the threat serves merely to scare the crap out of the charged public citizen. At any rate, the prosecutor is trying to work with her. She should be entitled to a public defender. My suspicion is if you do what the prosecutor says -- get the device on the car -- the prosecutor will drop it to a ticket because it is not worth taking to jury trial.

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