If you were arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, it can be a frightening and confusing time as you do not know what to expect. However, by gaining all the information regarding your case, you could be better prepared and better able to successfully resolve your case.
Were you arrested for driving under the influence (DUI)? This offense is taken very seriously in Washington and throughout the country. If you are convicted of a Washington State DUI, you could be facing up to a year in jail, or even longer if convicted of felony DUI, as well as heavy fines and a suspended license. When a police officer pulls you over and suspects DUI, you may be asked to take voluntary field sobriety tests, a portable breath test, or an evidentiary breath test to help determine your blood alcohol content (BAC). These tests will be used against you in a criminal case. In Washington, the per se legal limit for BAC is 0.08% but you may also be arrested for DUI if an officer believes that your driving was affected by alcohol or drugs.
Following arrest, you will be taken into custody and offered an evidentiary breath test. The officer will take your personal information, complete DUI paperwork, review your important rights, and you will choose to either take the breath test or refuse. After the breath testing, you may be held in custody until you can see a judge or you may be given a court date and released on your promise to appear at that initial hearing.
If you are held in custody, bail will be set within 48 hours of your arrest. The bail amount will be set based on your criminal record, the nature of the offense, and your ties to the community. Oftentimes the bail amount is far too high for the average person to pay. If this is the case, a bail bond can be posted. A bail bonding agency will post the bail in exchange for payment of a portion of the bail as a non-refundable fee and your promise to appear at all future court dates. The remainder of the bail is often secured by collateral.
If you were released from custody your first court appearance will be the arraignment. At the arraignment you are formally charged, you enter an initial plea, the judge will determine if there is enough evidence to support the charge and set conditions of release, and the judge will consider setting bail. It is important to have a skilled attorney on your side at this initial hearing to help protect your rights. Having a skilled and experienced DUI attorney in Lynnwood by your side from this initial hearing to the ultimate resolution of you case often can give you the best chance of avoiding the serious consequences of a DUI conviction.