As is becoming seemingly clearer by the day, DUI’s are a real ‘hot button’ in Washington State; the State of Washington is uber serious about reducing incidents of impaired driving. In fact, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission has specifically stated that it is working on ways to “increase impaired driving arrests” and “improve prosecution” of individuals who get behind the wheel when they have been drinking or using any other substances that could potentially interfere with their ability to drive a motor vehicle safely.
The Washington Impaired Driving Work Group in fact made pointed recommendations about DUI reduction strategies. These strategies include: (1) Lowering the number of DUI convictions before being punishable as a felony; (2) Increasing mandatory minimum penalties; (3) Mandatory ignition interlock devices; (4) Sobriety checkpoints, and (5) Greater penalties for refusing breath/blood tests. These all appear to be deterrent strategies supported by Washington’s residents, and our local, county and state governmental bodies.
According to the government, despite their aggressive efforts to reduce DUI’s, impaired driving continues to be a problem in Washington State. They estimate that 46% of all traffic fatalities in Washington are due to people driving while impaired.
It should go without saying, but being charged with a DUI in Washington State can be an extremely inconvenient, embarrassing, and expensive occurrence in a person’s life. The minimum fine for a first DUI offense is $940.50, and the maximum is $5000. The average fine imposed on all offenders is approximately $3,711. Drivers in Washington State who get a DUI will generally see their insurance increase by an average of $466.80 per year. If a person’s license is suspended/ revoked because of a DUI and he wants to continue driving, he will have to have an ignition interlock device installed on his vehicle. Even first-time offenders will have to keep the device for at least a year. Installation and monthly fees will cost about $1,300 per year. Requesting a DUI DOL hearing even costs $375. Mandatory drug treatment may be required if convicted of DUI. The fee for driver’s license reinstatement after a DUI arrest or conviction is $150. Finally, where a person lives may also have a significant impact on how much a DUI charge will ultimately cost. In short, one’s purse or pocket book may get significantly lighter after being cited for DUI.
Any person accused of DUI of Physical Control should consult with a qualified Seattle DUI attorney. A qualified and respected Seattle DUI lawyer, among other things, can quite possibly save the aggrieved thousands of dollars in court and insurance fees, the extent of loss of privilege to drive, and the amount of jail time to be served. Washington traffic laws are far too complicated for any ol’ attorney to handle. Be smart and consult with a qualified and skilled Seattle DUI attorney when arrested for an alcohol and/or drug related DUI in Washington State.