The Vancouver criminal defense lawyers of Spencer & Sundstrom PLLC defend those accused of committing a wide variety of crimes, including felonies and misdemeanors, drug crimes, assault, sex crimes, DUI (driving under the influence) crimes, white collar crimes, child abuse, and juvenile offenses. The following are frequently asked questions we receive regarding criminal offenses, particularly DUI crimes. Criminal Defense FAQ:
No. Under the United States Constitution, you have a right to remain silent. In fact, if you do choose to say anything, the prosecution can use it against you during your trial. Therefore, it is best to remain silent and refuse to say anything until you hire an experienced defense attorney. He or she can discuss your case with you and communicate with law enforcement on your behalf to ensure you do not say anything incriminating.
Even if you know you have committed a particular crime, it is important to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney before agreeing to any kind of plea deal. In some cases, law enforcement error can lead to your case being dismissed even if you might be guilty. Additionally, prosecutors often offer a plea deal that can be negotiated to a lesser offense with fewer punishments. There may also be other consequences to pleading guilty-for example, if you are not a U.S. citizen, a guilty plea could be the basis for a deportation proceeding or denial for naturalization as a U.S. citizen. A skilled attorney can negotiate on your behalf and obtain the best plea bargain possible.
In Washington, you have committed a DUI if you were driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) above .08, or if you were under the influence of, or affected by, intoxicating liquor and/or drugs such that your driving was hindered to an appreciable degree.
Under the Washington Criminal Code, DUIs are Gross Misdemeanors. While the maximum penalty in a DUI case is 365 days jail time and a fine of $5,000, the actual punishment in any particular case depends on the facts of that case. Factors that influence the punishments include the defendant’s actual BAC, whether he or she has prior DUI convictions on his or her record, if an accident occurred, and if the defendant is eligible for Deferred Prosecution.
Deferred Prosecution allows a defendant to avoid a DUI conviction in exchange for compliance with a very strict two year alcohol or substance abuse program. Under current law, a person is eligible for Deferred Prosecution only once. Typically, a Petition for Deferred Prosecution is filed with court. In this petition, the defendant acknowledges guilt, admits to having an addiction to alcohol and/or drugs, and waives any right to contest the charges. The defendant then waives his or her right to a speedy trial for a period of up to three years, during which the defendant agrees to enter into and complete a state certified treatment program at his or her own expense. A Deferred Prosecution may not be appropriate or available in all cases, and it is important that you consult with counsel regarding any specific case.
It is important to hire an experienced DUI defense attorney as soon as possible who can assist you with preparing for your first court appearance and arraignment.
Additionally, if you have failed a blood or breath test or refused to submit to the test, you may receive notice of an administrative suspension/revocation action filed by the Washington State Department of Licensing. This administrative suspension/revocation is separate from any penalty that the court may impose if you are convicted. Under current law, you have 30 days from the date of arrest to request a hearing to challenge the suspension or revocation of your license. An experienced attorney can assist you with requesting and handling this hearing.
If you have been accused of or charged with a crime, it is important to consult with an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible. For a consultation regarding your criminal case, contact the Vancouver criminal defense lawyers of Spencer & Sundstrom PLLC today so that we can begin working on your defense.
To schedule a consultation regarding your case, call us at 877-574-6109 or fill our web consultation form today.