Per Se

Washington State DUI law has a two pronged approach to DUI and Physical Control. The first and most widely known is the “Per Se” prong. A person is guilty of driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug if the person drives a vehicle within this state and the person has, within two hours after driving, an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher as shown by a proper analysis of the person’s breath or blood. The proof here is typically in the form of a breath or blood test.

Affected By

The lesser known prong is called “Affected By.” The statute simply states that a person is DUI if the person is driving under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor or any drug. This means that the person appeared to be “affected by” their alcohol consumption. The proof here is most often eye witness testimony of the officer who describes how the car was driven all the way through your performance on “sobriety” tests.

Like any scenario where there are multiple ways to proceed, the laws here also combine the two and a conviction can be secured by showing that you are under the “combined” influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor and any drug. Regardless of whether you are charged with DUI or Physical Control the State will seek to use a breath test, or sobriety tests, or a combination of the two to prove you were at or over .08 or affected by alcohol while your drove were in “physical control” of a vehicle.

The state has many tools and many undisclosed advantages in prosecuting you for DUI. The defense of those accused of DUI is not for the weekend “warrior” lawyer, rather it requires the dedication and determination of lawyers who continually train themselves in the techniques of breath testing, sobriety testing, and Drug Recognition Experts in order to understand an expose the limitations and rhetoric used in the prosecutions of those citizens accused. I have the aggressive and professional approach that is necessary to provide you with the best results possible.

Hole Punch in Your License?

If so, the police officer has reported your Washington State DUI arrest to the Department of Licensing (DOL) and the suspension or revocation of your license is imminent. The DOL will take action against your license even if you ultimately are found not guilty of the Seattle DUI or Washington State DUI charge. Even if the police officer did not punch a hole in your license, you still may be subject to the DOL suspension.

The hole which was punched in your license is an indication that your license will now expire 60 days from the date of your arrest. Within that time, the DOL will move to suspend or revoke your license based upon the report of the police officer. If you took the breath test and the reading was .08 or higher your license will be suspended for a minimum of ninety days and up to two years, depending on your record. If you refused to take the breath test, your license will be revoked for one year and up to two years, depending upon your record.

The DUI arresting officer who punched your license should have given you a notice of suspension and a Driver’s Hearing Request form. The officer gives the notice and Hearing Request form to the accused where a breath test is administered and the result was .08 or higher, or where a test was refused. This is required for all arrests where a breath test is administered and the result was .08 or higher, or where a test was refused. If you took a blood test after the DUI arrest, usually the Department of Licensing will send the notice and form to you.

The Hearing Request must be mailed to the DOL within twenty days of the date you received the notice (usually it is received on the day of arrest) along with a check for $375 (waivable if you are indigent) in order to get a hearing to fight the “automatic” suspension/revocation. If you take no action or miss the deadline the DOL will suspend or revoke your license. This is true even if you have valid legal defenses to the DOL action and even if you are found not guilty of the DUI charge.

In January, 2009, a new Washington State DUI law became effective which is called the “Ignition Interlock Law.” Pursuant to this law, an individual can avoid the loss of license if he or she is willing to drive with an ignition interlock device installed on their car for the length of the suspension. The law permits an individual to apply for an “Ignition Interlock License” (ILL) even before any suspension has started, whether the suspension is imposed pursuant to administrative action or pursuant to a conviction for DUI. It is important to note, however, that if you apply for an ignition interlock license the law provides that you waive your right to appeal the administrative suspension. In some cases, this means that a driver would be agreeing, in essence, to the imposition of an ignition interlock requirement for a period of 90 days or up to two years (depending upon the record) for any personal vehicle you drive.

If an individual has an ignition interlock license, there is an exception for vehicles owned by an employer and driven by an employee in the course of employment. For these vehicles, no ignition interlock is required, although the ignition interlock would still be required on personal vehicles not driven for work, and is a prerequisite for the waiver.

Find the driver’s hearing request form, the ignition interlock license application, and the waiver for employer-owned vehicles here. Proof of installation of the device is accomplished via the Ignition Interlock Status Form, which should be filed by the interlock installer. We suggest that you consult with counsel about the use of these forms.

Get a free DUI Consultation

For most people, the opportunity to fight to save the driver’s license is critical. A DUI requires decisions that a driver must make within a relatively short period of time. It is important to know all of your options. Contact me for a free consultation. Call me at (206) 226-7996 any time, or e-mail or use our online form.

Why no court date yet?

You were cited for DUI but were not given a court date

Many people who are pulled over and cited with DUI do not receive a court date right away. After you are cited for DUI, the arresting officer and any other officer’s involved will compose their police reports and turn them into the Prosecutor’s Office. Your police report may sit on the Prosecutor’s desk for a while as they have many cases to go through and charge, in addition to yours. Ultimately, the prosecutor’s office has up to two years from the date of your violation to file charges against you. This two-year time limit is called a Statute of Limitations. Once the Statute of Limitations on your case has passed, the Prosecutor’s Office is not able to file that specific charge, stemming from that citation, against you.

Here is what usually happens: your case will be filed and charges will be brought against you within a couple of weeks to a couple of months of your citation date: it may take longer, but remember, the prosecutor’s office has up to two years to file charges against you. This does not mean that you should wait to meet with an experienced DUI attorney until your case is filed. It is in your best interest to obtain as much information regarding the consequences you may be facing from a DUI charge as well as the proactive steps you can take to help your case. Additionally, while your case may not yet be charged, the Department of Licensing is working on suspending your license and there is a time line involved (you have 20 days from the date of your citation to request an administrative hearing, allowing you to fight your license suspension)

Remember …

  • While you may have been cited for DUI from a law enforcement agency, your case may not actually be filed/charges be brought against you until a later time.
  • The Statute of Limitations for a DUI charge is 2 years from the date of your violation. Just because you have not received a court date right away – does not mean you will not be charged.
  • There is another case that comes with a DUI and that with the Department of Licensing – the clock starts ticking on this case the day you receive your citation (not to be confused with charge and not to be confused with your court case), you have 20 days from the date of your citation to request this hearing or you license will be suspended for a certain period of time.
  • Do not wait to meet with an experienced DUI attorney regarding your DUI citation. It is important to obtain all the information you can in regards to your DUI charge.