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DUI and Driving Related Arrests (Washington)

Washington DUII

DUII arrests are common but despite their frequency, being charged with a DUII can be a frightening experience for many people. Most individuals charged with a DUII have never seen the inside of a police station or a jail before and have limited experience with the criminal justice system aside from what they have seen on television.


STEP 1 – The Implied Consent Suspension.

  • A. Most likely, your driving privileges were suspended for anywhere from 90 days to 3 years for failing a breathalyzer test or refusing to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test. Requesting an appeal hearing of your implied consent license suspension is the most pressing matter; your suspension typically begins on the 30th day following your arrest.
  • B. In order to challenge the suspension, the DMV Hearings Case Management Unit must receive your request for a hearing by no later than 5:00 p.m. on the 10th day following your arrest.
  • C. It is important to understand that filing an appeal of the implied consent suspension does not necessarily mean that the suspension will be overturned; it only means that you have an opportunity to challenge the suspension.
  • D. Suspensions are most often overturned because of a failure on behalf of the police officers; failure to appear at the hearing, failure to turn in the correct paperwork to the DMV, or the police officer’s paperwork being incomplete and/or inaccurate.
  • E. If you do not hire an attorney to contest your suspension, you can request and attend the hearing yourself. Only a small percentage of people who are facing an implied consent suspension request a hearing.


STEP 2 – The Criminal Charges.

  • A. You most likely received a citation/ticket or a release agreement ordering you to appear in court for the crime of driving under the influence of intoxicants and possibly some additional crimes or violations that may include (but are not limited to) reckless driving, refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test, etc.
  • B. ORS 813.010 is Oregon’s DUII statute. A person has committed the offense of driving while under the influence of intoxicants if they drive a vehicle while the person:
    • i. Has 0.08 percent or more by weight of alcohol in the blood of the person as shown by chemical analysis of the breath or blood of the person;
    • ii. Is under the influence of intoxicating liquor, a controlled substance or an inhalant; or
    • iii. Is under the influence of any combination of intoxicating liquor, an inhalant and a controlled substance.
  • C. You must either attend the court appearance listed on your citation/ticket/release agreement or a bench warrant will be issued for your arrest; in some Washington counties, if you hire an attorney before your initial court appearance you might be allowed to be absent from the hearing.
  • D. After your initial court appearance, it is imperative that you have the opportunity to review the State’s evidence or discovery against you. Discovery can include but is not limited to police reports, audio and video recordings, pictures, and additional lab reports. These items are the State’s case against you; you need to be able to review and analyze the strength of the State’s case as well as possible defenses and/or malfeasances by the investigating and arresting officer (or officers) before you decide what to do next.


STEP 3 – Talk to a DUII Attorney.

You have the constitutional right to represent yourself in the face of criminal prosecution but keep in mind, Oregon DUII defense is a complex area of law with many far-reaching implications. Your driving privileges can be suspended for months, years, or a lifetime. You can be required to install an ignition interlock device to operate a motor vehicle and face a sentence that includes jail time and supervision by the court or a probation officer. Working with a DUII Attorney who has experience and knowledge of the process will allow you to navigate and understand this complex issue as easily as possible. If you cannot afford to hire your own lawyer, you should apply for court appointed counsel to represent you as it is imperative to have knowledgeable representation in this process.

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