1. Will I be convicted of a Seattle DUI?
Being arrested and charged with Driving under the Influence (DUI) can be an extremely frightening and stressful experience. Many people who are arrested and later charged with Seattle DUI assume they will eventually also receive a conviction for a Seattle DUI. However, in Seattle this often is not the case. The majority of Mr. Ejarque’s clients charged with Seattle DUI in the last few years have successfully avoided an actual DUI conviction. Many different factors will determine the outcome of your case. But the two most important factors are the BAC level and whether there has been any prior DUI related convictions. A DUI charge can be a difficult charge to prove. To be found guilty of a DUI, a prosecutor must prove that you were either driving or in physical control of a motor vehicle: a) with a BAC of .08 or more within two hours of driving or being in control of a motor vehicle; b) while under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor or any drug; or c) while under the combined influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor and any drug. At trial each and every element of the charge must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a very high standard. Our Seattle DUI attorney holds the prosecutor to this very high standard.
2. How can I fight the Seattle DUI charge if I was over the legal limit and failed the field sobriety tests?
It usually starts with the officer asking you if you have had anything to drink. Then he may ask you to step out of the car and do the “field sobriety tests.” Most people are unaware that they have a basic right to decline to do these roadside “field sobriety tests.” The tests involve difficult roadside agility maneuvers that most people who are sober have trouble doing for the first time. Officers are trained to administer and grade the test according to very strict standards set forth by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Unfortunately, some officers fail to provide the proper instruction or demonstration for the tests. Even worse, officers sometimes improperly score the tests. Sometimes this can be seen in the police video of the testing. Mr. Ejarque is well prepared to challenge these test. He has completed a training course on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration standardized field sobriety testing. In fact he is qualified himself to administer the test. After your arrest for Seattle DUI the officer probably took you to the station and requested that you take a blood or breath test to measure you blood alcohol concentration (BAC). In some cases the officer can obtain a blood test without your permission. Do not assume that you are guilty just because the test results say your BAC is over a .08. Machines make mistakes. People who operate and maintain the machines also make mistakes. You may be surprised how often the Washington State Toxicology Lab has made mistakes in preparing and maintaining the breath testing machines. Sometimes the mistakes are very apparent and other times the mistakes are more difficult to find. Our Seattle DUI Attorney leaves no stone unturned in challenging the validity of a BAC test. He often works closely with a former police officer or with a former Washington State toxicologist to investigate potential problems with the BAC results.
3. What information do I need when speaking with a DUI attorney about my case?
When speaking with a Seattle DUI attorney one of the first questions he or she will ask is what your BAC level was. Normally if you took the breath test at the station the officer would have given you a “BAC Ticket” which is a printout showing the two subject samples of the BAC. Have this ready to show your Seattle DUI attorney. With the information on the BAC Ticket, Mr. Ejarque can access additional information available on the Washington State Patrol web site to help determine the validity of the results. Mr. Ejarque can also immediately access information for your current court case as well as past charges on a court database called JIS. He can do this during the free consultation. People who submit to a blood test may not know what the results are until their attorney actually obtains the police reports.
4. What are the Consequences of a Seattle DUI conviction?
Washington State currently has some of the toughest DUI laws in the country. A DUI conviction will result in mandatory penalties including jail time, license suspension or revocation, probation and installation of vehicle ignition interlock devices; not to mention fines, court costs and fees. Washington State has mandatory minimum penalties for people who are convicted of DUI. The penalty for a DUI conviction depends on the BAC level, whether there was a refusal to take the BAC and the number of prior offenses. The penalty is more severe if the BAC is above .15 or if there was a refusal to take the BAC. The penalty becomes progressively more severe with the number of offenses a person has within the past seven years. For those with prior DUI offenses (including convictions for reckless driving, negligent driving or reckless endangerment where the charge was reduced from a DUI charge) you need to know the arrest date for these prior convictions. An arrest within seven years of your arrest date for the current DUI will increase the mandatory minimum sentence. Our Seattle DUI attorney can immediately access information on your prior cases in Washington with a program called JIS. Seattle DUI attorney Ejarque can immediately view the case docket of most prior charges within the past seven years. He can also immediately view the case docket for a current charge. To determine the mandatory minimum sentences, if you are convicted of a DUI, you need to know your BAC level or whether it was a refusal, as well as the number of prior offenses you have in the past seven years. The consequences of a DUI conviction vary significantly depending on the facts of each case and the circumstance of each person. Often times the collateral consequences of a DUI conviction can be the most severe. Persons who are not United States citizens will have special concerns regarding the immigration consequences of a conviction. Seattle DUI attorney Ejarque represents many non-US citizens in DUI cases. He is careful to work for a result that will have the least negative impact on his client’s immigration status. A DUI conviction may affect eligibility to enter into Canada for a period of time. It will also stay on your criminal record for life. In addition, anyone who is convicted of a DUI related offense will be required by the court to obtain an alcohol and drug evaluation. The evaluator will normally review the person’s driving record, criminal history, reported BAC level and sometimes the police report. The evaluator will then determine if the person is in need of treatment or not. Because of the severe consequences of a DUI conviction, in most cases the primary goal is to avoid a DUI conviction. Seattle DUI attorney Raymond Ejarque has had a very good success rate in helping his clients avoid the harsh consequences of a DUI conviction.
5. How do I fight the license suspension?
Under Washington DUI laws, if the officer requests and you refuse to take the breathalyzer test or the blood test, or if you do take the breathalyzer test or the blood test but register a .08 blood alcohol concentration or greater, the Department of Licensing (DOL) will initiate license suspension procedures against you. You must request a hearing with the DOL within the required period of time to obtain a hearing and challenge the suspension. If you do not make the hearing request in time you will lose your right to challenge the license suspension. The DOL will normally hold a phone hearing where the DOL officer will simply review the police reports and other documents and then render a decision whether to uphold the suspension. The length of the DOL suspension varies depending on whether there has been a prior administrative suspension in the past seven years. The specific DOL license penalty can be found by reviewing the WA DUI sentencing grid: see WA DUI Sentencing Grid. Seattle DUI attorney Ejarque has won many DOL hearings through a variety of successful legal arguments. In a surprising number of cases the police officer fails to include necessary information in the police report. For example, the officer may not clearly indicate that a mouth check and 15 minute observation period were properly done before he administered the breath test. In other cases the officer may not have included the BAC Ticket or the proper certifications verifying his qualifications to operate the machine. In other cases our Seattle DUI attorney can show that the police report fails to show the officer had a legal basis to stop your car or arrest you. In refusal cases the DOL may be unable to show that the proper warnings were given. In some cases, our Seattle DUI attorney can prove that evidence shows that persons did not in fact refuse to take the test but made an earnest attempt to blow into the machine. The Washington State Patrol website provides data on each breath sample or refusal taken. That information can help to win a case. On other occasions police video tapes are available that contradict the police report or show that the officer did not comply with required procedures. Other times the court will suppress the BAC results and this will be used to win the DOL hearing. If the police reports are sufficient to uphold a suspension, often our Seattle DUI attorney will serve a subpoena on the officer to appear at the DOL hearing. Our Seattle DUI attorney will then have the opportunity to question the police officer and possibly reveal useful information that is not in the report. Sometimes the record of the officer’s testimony can be used to win the case in court. If the officer does not respond to the subpoena most DOL hearing officers will dismiss the action. Our Seattle DUI attorney has won a number of DOL hearings simply because the police officer has not appeared as required by law. The success of prior cases, however, is not determinative of the outcome of future cases. Every case is different. Please call Mr. Ejarque, your Seattle DUI attorney at 206-621-1554 to find out what to expect in your case.
6. How do I find a Seattle DUI attorney to help me?
If you are charged with a Seattle DUI it is important to choose an experienced attorney dedicated to your success. Our Seattle DUI attorney, a former public defender, has over 15 years of experience representing those accused of Seattle DUI and other criminal offenses. Over the years he has successfully represented hundreds of people charged with a DUI in the Seattle area. Because of the number of jury trials our attorney he has completed over the years he has developed a confident and persuasive courtroom style. Often times the experience and approach of your attorney can determine the outcome of a Seattle DUI case. That is why it is important to interview and carefully choose an individual attorney you can personally work with and trust. Sometimes this will involve talking to more than one attorney and researching an attorney’s background. A attorney rating service exists that provides detailed background information on attorneys and rates them according to their experience and other criteria. This can be found at Avvo. As of March 27, 2012 our Seattle DUI attorney has a superb rating. In interviewing attorneys, it is important to find out whom specifically in the firm will actually be representing you. Our Seattle DUI attorney personally represents each of his clients and is backed up by two attorneys who assist in researching legal & factual issues, drafting motions and making court appearances.
7. How can you help me?
Familiarity with local courts:
As a former public defender and long time attorney in King County, Mr. Ejarque knows the ins and outs of the system. Nearly all of Mr. Ejarque’s cases are in local King County courts. Over the years Mr. Ejarque has learned the system, the players and how to obtain the best results for his clients.
Cutting Edge Seattle DUI knowledge:
Mr. Ejarque, a Seattle DUI lawyer, knows how to apply cutting edge legal arguments. He stays on top of the complex legal issues presented in Seattle DUI cases by: keeping current with new Washington and National DUI case law, networking with other Seattle DUI attorneys, attending DUI training and seminars, and consulting with toxicologist and other expert witnesses. Recently, Mr. Ejarque completed National Highway Traffic Safety Administration training on DUI detection & standardized field sobriety testing. This training helps Mr. Ejarque determine if the officer correctly performed the field sobriety testing in your case. It also helps to cross examine the officer in court. He is a member of the Washington Bar Association since 1994; the King County Bar Association; the Washington Defender Association; and the Washington Association of criminal trial lawyers.
Aggressive Motion Practice:
From the beginning of your case, Seattle DUI attorney, Mr. Ejarque will aggressively challenge the prosecutor’s evidence by filing relevant motions including: motions to suppress blood or breath test results, field sobriety tests, and incriminating statements as well as motions to dismiss for lack of probable cause to detain or arrest. The prosecutors then know they have a fight on their hands. This helps our attorney to obtain better results during negotiations.
Most Seattle DUI cases are resolved with plea negotiations that involve a reduction of charges. However, the success of those negotiations often will depend on who your attorney is and how he approaches the prosecutor. Over the years Mr. Ejarque, our Seattle DUI attorney has developed professional working relationships with local prosecutors. He knows the best approach to convince the prosecutor to offer the best deal for his clients.