If you are like most of our clients at Callahan Law, P.S., Inc., you are probably stunned and in shock because of your DUI or Physical Control arrest. You may even feel traumatized by the experience. Probably, you have never been in trouble in your life, and you don't like how it feels at all. You would never condone drunk driving and you simply cannot believe this is happening to you.
You are not alone. Few people realize that enjoying a meal out, along with a glass of wine or a few beers, could land you in big trouble on your way home. Law enforcement agencies in the state of Washington have become extremely aggressive in identifying and stopping vehicles for even the most minor driving irregularities-hunting for drunk drivers. Some agencies require officers to stop three vehicles every hour to identify and arrest impaired drivers.
If you believe that your breath or blood alcohol level has to be .08 or higher to be charged with a crime such as drunk driving, you would be wrong. Even if your test is well under a .08, or there is no test result at all, you can be convicted of a DUI if the prosecutor officer merely proves, beyond a reasonable doubt, that your driving was affected by alcohol, marijuana, or any drug.
If you have been charged with DUI or Physical Control, we can help. At Callahan Law, P.S., Inc., our experience has shown that your anxiety level decreases as your understanding of the process and what lies ahead increases. We keep our clients informed so that they always know what to expect. This greatly reduces the anxiety most people experience when they think about their case, their license and court as their hearing date approaches.
Call (206) 866-2844 to arrange a free initial consultation.
The first thing to understand is that you have 2 cases pending against you following a DUI or Physical Control arrest: a criminal case in court for the DUI and an administrative action with the Department of Licensing against your license.
After you have been arrested for DUI or Physical Control, the officer notifies the Department of Licensing. The DOL will annotate your driving record with the arrest and mail you a letter advising you of the date you must stop driving. You can challenge this action; however, you must act quickly. You have only 20 days after your arrest to request a hearing to contest with the suspension or revocation, which will automatically take effect if you don't request a hearing. If you do not request a hearing in a timely manner, your license will be suspended or revoked 60 days after your arrest. (Timeframes may differ if you were administered a blood test.)
If you have questions about this hearing, about whether you should request one or not, and about other options you may have to keep driving legally after your license is suspended or revoked, call us. We have the answers you are seeking.
Your Court Case
In the criminal case, you will either receive a citation from the officer at the time of your arrest, or you will receive a summons from the court several days, weeks or months after your arrest. The citation or summons will direct you to appear in court for your arraignment.
At that first hearing, the court will advise you of the charge against you and of your constitutional rights. You must enter a plea of "guilty" or "not guilty" after which the court will establish "conditions of release" that you must obey while your case is pending in order to stay out of jail. These may include that you:
However, if you have prior DUI convictions or other alcohol / drug-related offenses, a high breath or blood test, or if an accident was involved, the court may take you into custody. To be released, you will have to pay bail in the form of money to the court, or pay a bail bond company to post a bond on your behalf. Bail amounts vary depending on the facts of your situation; we have seen bail amounts in DUI cases as low as $2,500 and as high as $100,000.
If you have a prior DUI or similar offense, the judge will also require that you not drive any vehicle unless it is equipped with an ignition interlock device. The court may also order you to wear an ankle bracelet with a GPS device and to carry a portable breath monitoring device that randomly signals you to blow into it several times a day. All of these costly devices are at your own expense. It may seem extreme that all this can be imposed before you are even tried or convicted; soon you will understand how very serious courts and prosecutors are about repeat DUI offenders.
If you have any of these factors in your case, you absolutely need skilled legal representation at your arraignment. Do not go to your arraignment alone. At the very least, if you cannot locate an attorney, bring a friend or family member who can post bail or obtain a bond to secure your release should you be taken into custody.
At the arraignment, you will be given a date to return to court for a "pre-trial hearing." Your DUI case can be resolved at the first pretrial hearing, although typically, you will probably attend at least 2 before your case is resolved. A DUI case may be resolved in a variety of ways. We do not recommend it, but you can plead guilty "as charged." A better result is more likely to be obtained if you to allow us to investigate your case and use any favorable facts we find to negotiate a reduction of the charge to a less serious offense. Only the prosecutor has the power to reduce the charge. We have successfully negotiated thousands of DUI cases to obtain reductions for our clients at Callahan Law, P.S., Inc.
For people who have prior DUIs, even 20 or 30 years ago, prosecutors will rarely negotiate a reduction of charge. We have successfully obtained reductions for these clients when we can find a compelling issue that shakes the prosecutor's confidence of getting a conviction. How do we shake that confidence?
Our team of DUI lawyers has extensive training in every aspect of a DUI case: the laws of search and seizure, proper field sobriety test procedures, the science of breath and blood testing, including the methods of infrared spectroscopy and gas chromatography, and we have factory-trained lawyers who traveled to Ohio to learn the mechanisms of the DataMaster used in Washington for breath testing from the manufacturer. We absolutely leave no stone unturned in hunting for a mistake, problem, or issue and armed with those, we negotiate confidently.
Clients with previous DUIs may opt for a deferred prosecution (only available if diagnosed with alcoholism, drug addiction, or a mental condition requiring treatment). The cost of treatment is at the person's expense. A deferred prosecution avoids all jail time, the DUI fine and only imposes court and probation costs. It also prevents a license suspension or revocation, unless the officer alleges the breath test was refused. However, only one deferred prosecution is allowed in a person's lifetime. It is best for first-offenders to save this option for a possible future offense when mandatory minimum jail terms are 30 to 120 days in length, rather than just a day or two.
If you are convicted of a DUI, the court will sentence you to:
If you have certain prior alcohol-related convictions, the consequences are much more severe. They will also be more severe if you refused the test, or if you took the test and the result was at or higher than 0.15. A fifth DUI in 10 years is a felony and conviction will likely mean confinement in state prison.
Aside from the court imposed penalties, the consequences don't end at the courtroom's threshold. You may be denied admission to foreign countries, such as Canada. Your insurance company may cancel your policy or increase your rates. You will be required to obtain SR22 high risk insurance. You may have difficulty renting a car. Your career may suffer if you are in the military, if your job requires a driver's license, or if your employer requires a clean criminal / driving record. For some occupations, a DUI conviction may be career-ending (pilots, commercial drivers, law enforcement), for others, it may cause problems with an employer due to the time you have to take off from work for court hearings, jail terms, and treatment.
We want to help you avoid these consequences. We want to you not to give up hope because we have helped thousands of people in your situation and we can help you too. At Callahan Law, P.S., Inc., we tackle the toughest cases and are proud of our results. We are driven in defense of those who drive-and our mission is to give you hope for the future and to reduce your anxiety now. We will defend your license and your liberty. We are by your side when it seems the whole world is on your back.
If you are thinking that you need the help of an attorney, you are right. But how do you pick the right attorney? You should not trust your DUI case to just any attorney. These cases involve scientific testing methods and technology. Accordingly, you should choose an attorney who has specialized knowledge, training and skill in these scientific methods and technology, and who has knowledge of the laws concerning these forms of evidence. Steer away from general practice attorneys who only handle the occasional DUI case. You wouldn't choose a family doctor for brain surgery; you would choose a brain surgeon with extensive knowledge and experience.
Attorney Linda M. Callahan owns her own Datamaster breath test machine, similar to the machine you may have encountered in your case. Our attorneys are trained by the manufacturer and by Ms. Callahan to look for errors with the breath test and to review maintenance and repair records for problems. She has had Field Sobriety Testing and Drug Recognition Evaluation training by NHTSA certified instructors, is certified to administer standardized field sobriety tests, and ensures her team of talented attorneys is equally well-trained. We can spot errors officers have made administering and scoring these tests.
At Callahan Law, P.S., Inc., we have the knowledge, experience and skill to handle even the toughest DUI and Physical Control cases. We have a good rapport with the prosecutors in Pierce County. They respect us for our knowledge and for the extensive efforts they see us employ on behalf of our clients. When you retain Callahan Law, P.S., Inc., you can be certain that you will have a team of lawyers who bring to bear every possible defense in your case. In every case, we seek cutting-edge strategies and innovative approaches. Please let us help you with your Pierce County DUI or Physical Control case.
Contact us at (206) 866-2844 for help with a free consultation.
930 Tacoma Ave S
Tacoma, WA 98402-2181View Map
930 Tacoma Ave
Tacoma, WA 98402View Map
1902 96th St S
Tacoma, WA 98444View Map
930 Tacoma Ave
Tacoma, WA 98402View Map