Call our office today at (360) 464-3591 or email us here to speak with our experienced staff about how Baldwin Legal Group can help with your legal issue.

Facing any criminal conviction is difficult. If you've been arrested for drunk driving, the attorneys at Baldwin Legal Group can help you through the complicated legal proceedings ahead of you. Do you feel like the evidence is stacked against you? You don't have to face this challenge alone. With a skilled and experienced legal advocate fighting for your rights, you can have peace of mind that your case is in good hands. If you were arrested for a crime you know that you didn't commit, our attorneys can help!

If convicted, you will face the same penalties as anyone else. Don't risk your freedom, career and your future; contact us today. Our attorneys are passionate about protecting your rights and always strive to reach the highest level of legal professionalism in their work. We have the skills, resources and dedication to take your case to the next level - Contact us today!!

Washington has some of the strictest DUI laws in the country. Learn about topics from field sobriety tests to Department of Licensing hearings. I can help you navigate the legal maze. Contact me now to set up a free initial consultation!

If you have been charged with DUI in Washington, you should know your rights and retain an experienced and skilled WA DUI lawyer to evaluate your case. Penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) are very serious and can include jail time, fines, outpatient and inpatient treatment programs, and a lengthy driver's license suspension. Even when you eventually are eligible to get your driver's license back, you could end up paying thousands of dollars in high-risk insurance premiums.

Experienced Defense From Former Thurston County Prosecutor

As a former Thurston County prosecutor, Chester Baldwin knows that the police gather evidence for potential DUI cases in several different ways. A drunk driving conviction can haunt you for the rest of your life. That is why retaining dedicated legal representation is so crucial.

 

If you are stopped while driving and have had a couple of drinks, remember that my business cards have instructions printed on the back. My card explains to the officer that you are going to comply with his requests, but that you are not going to do anything that isn’t legally required. The instructions are as follows:

Stopped by Police

  1. I do not admit to drinking and I assert my right to counsel and my right to remain silent. I will not make a statement or answer any questions.
  2. I will not submit to any field sobriety tests or a PBT. If you do not have probable cause to arrest me, I wish to leave now.
  3. I do not consent to any search or sobriety test; nor do I wish to talk to you or answer your questions.
  4. I will submit to a breath/blood test at the police station.
  5. I wish to speak with my attorney immediately: 360.464.3591. If he cannot be reached, I wish to speak to a public defender.

That means that if the office starts asking you questions like: “Do you know why I stopped you?” or “Have you been drinking tonight?” You do not have to answer these questions. Always be polite, but it is always ok to say “My attorney has told me not to answer any questions or make any statements if stopped or detained.”

Politely decline to do any field sobriety tests. A simple “no thank you” will do. These are voluntary tests that the officer will want you to perform in order to gather evidence against you. The most commonly applied tests are the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, One Leg Stand, Walk and Turn, and the Portable Breath Test or “PBT”. Law enforcement will often ask if its ok to check your eyes, or “make sure you are ok to drive”; it is not ok. If the officer is asking you to take a test prior to arrest, you can refuse to do them.

But Defendants should usually take the breath test offered at the police station because the penalties associated with DUI and license suspensions are weighted so that they are more severe if you refuse to take the test.

 

Probable Cause to Stop and Probable Cause to Arrest

Before ever pulling you over, a police officer will want to witness your driving, and report back to the court if you were weaving, or speeding or driving in some other unsafe manner.

Once you are pulled over, the officer will be watching you like a hawk. Any delay in having your license and registration ready could be reported as a "fumbling for a driver's license."

If you have been seated in your car while driving for awhile, and hold onto the car door while getting out, the officer may report that you needed to lean on the door for support because you appeared "unsteady" on your feet. The officer will likely shine a light into your eyes and report that your eyes appeared "bloodshot and watery."

These elements of a police report are quite common, and standard-fare in a typical DUI police report. Baldwin Legal Group has handled hundreds of DUI cases and are well versed in cross-examining police officers to blunt the impact of such testimony.

 

Challenging the Evidence in a DUI Case

Even if you have "failed" a Breathalyzer test, there are ways to fight a DUI charge in court. There are regulations with which the police must comply before administering a Breathalyzer test. Baldwin Legal Group attorneys have researched and thoroughly understand those requirements and can advise you regarding the validity of the test that you took. We have successfully filed motions to suppress Breathalyzer test results on behalf of our clients. We have also successfully challenged the probable cause for the motor vehicle stops themselves, via motions to suppress and dismiss the DUI cases.

While each case is different and no attorney can guarantee any particular result for a client, our attorneys have the proper experience to handle every aspect of DUI defense. We regularly take DUI cases to trial when necessary to secure "not guilty" verdicts for our clients.

Whether the scenario involved an accident, a Breathalyzer test failure and/or incriminating statements made to law enforcement, you should still get the proper advice from an experienced and competent attorney before resolving your DUI case. Our trial skills are unsurpassed when it comes to defending DUI cases.

 

Bench or Jury Trial

If a defendant pleads not guilty, prosecutors and defense attorneys prepare for a trial. Investigators on both sides collect and examine evidence, interview witnesses and prepare documents. A defendant has a right to a jury trial, but some people waive that right. In those cases, they will go before a judge rather than a jury, this is called a bench trial. In Washington, the state must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The state and the defendant each present their cases and the judge or jury reach a final verdict. If the state does not meet its burden of proof, the judge or jury will enter a verdict of not guilty.

 

Sentencing

Washington state law sets sentencing guidelines. Penalties may include fines, probation, restitution and time in jail or prison. The convicted may also lose certain rights, such as the right to vote or bear arms. Some defendants may be restricted from traveling, drinking alcohol or approaching or contacting particular people.

 

Timeframe to Challenge License Suspension

You have a right to challenge any action the Department of Licensing takes, but the burden is on you to request a hearing by mailing in a form to the DOL or requesting the hearing online. You have 20 days from the date of your arrest to request this hearing. It is crucial that you do not miss this deadline.

Implied Consent Law

If you have been arrested for a DUI in Washington State you are most likely facing a driver's license suspension or revocation by the Department of Licensing. Washington State has an “implied consent law” which allows the Department of Licensing to revoke or suspend your license because Washington State considers driving a privilege, not a right. Every licensed driver from this state must agree to submit to a breath or blood test when placed under arrest for DUI. Every state in the country has an implied consent law; thus, you have automatically consented to taking such a test anywhere in the US.

Mandatory License Suspension from DOL

Washington's Implied Consent Law (RCW 46.20.308) requires any driver arrested for DUI to submit to a breath or blood test. Refusal to submit to a chemical test will result in a mandatory administrative license revocation by the DOL for at least one year. Should a person submit to a test and are over the legal limit (.02 under age 21, .08 over 21), they face an administrative license suspension by the DOL for 90 days or more.

DOL Action Separate from Court Action

The administrative action by the DOL is completely separate from the criminal case. It is considered "civil" in nature, while the court case is a "criminal" matter. Even if the court dismisses the criminal charge for DUI, or the charges are reduced to a lesser offense, a driver can still face an administrative suspension or revocation based on the implied consent law. Thus, you may "win" your DOL hearing to preserve their license and still lose it if convicted of a DUI. Or vice versa. Both matters must be handled separately from each other.

If the DOL rules against you and sustains the license suspension or revocation, you will have the option of either applying for the Ignition Interlock License (IIL) or appealing the DOL's decision to the Superior Court.

Ignition Interlock Driver License (IIL)

Washington State Department of Licencing: Ignition Interlock

Getting Your License Back After Suspension

It depends on several factors, including your blood alcohol content and whether you were involved in any previous DUI incidents. To learn how to reinstate your license, see the suspension letter we sent you or Learn how to reinstate your license online.