Barbara A. Bowden

Tacoma, WA DUI Attorney

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Pierce County DUI Attorney

DUI Attorney in Pierce County

If you or your loved one has been arrested for driving under the influence, you’ll need to contact a Pierce County DUI attorney to help you get the best possible outcome when the case goes to court. We understand that being arrested for DUI is stressful, and you’ll wish for the entire ordeal to end right away regardless of the consequences.

For this reason, it’s always advisable never to plead guilty to the charges without first consulting an experienced Pierce County DUI attorney from a reputable law firm like The Law Offices of Barbara Bowden. Such an experienced attorney will thoroughly review your case and advise you on the best course of action.

How To Handle a DUI Arrest in Pierce County

Law enforcement officers usually observe your actions (speech and behavior) during the initial point of contact. Then, if they smell alcohol or have a reason to believe you’re intoxicated based on your actions, they may request you take a standardized field sobriety test.

A sobriety test is designed to determine if a driver can maintain balance and coordination even in stressful situations. It can include the ‘one-leg stand’ or ‘walk and turn’ test.

In some situations, you may pass the sobriety test but will still be required to take a urine or blood test if the officers have a reason to believe you’re under the influence of alcohol. But this also means that prosecutors will have to wait until the blood or urine test results are available before charging you with a DUI.

Prosecutors can only charge you before the release of your test results if:

  • there’s a collision.
  • there are children or other passengers in your car.
  • you’ve been involved in another DUI arrest before.
  • the prosecutors are convinced they can prove your case using Washington’s DUI statute (RCW 46.61.502).

What To Expect After Your DUI Arrest in Pierce County

You’ll be formally checked into the legal court system after being taken to custody for DUI in Pierce County. This means that the people handling your case will be Pierce County Deputy Prosecutors and elected Pierce County District Court Judges.

DUI cases are typically filed within a month of the incident, and the accused are usually handed the Request for DOL Administrative Hearing form.

After your DUI arrest, your driving license can be suspended for 30 days by the Department of Licensing (DOL) regardless of whether or not there are charges against you. To prevent this, it’s always advisable to speak to an experienced DUI attorney like Barbara Bowden.

Pierce County DUI Court Process Explained

When you first appear in court, the judge will set conditions for your release. These conditions can include the mandatory use of an electronic home monitoring (EHM) device, SCRAM, EHM with Sobrietor, or Ignition Interlock Device (IID). The court will then set a pretrial date four to six weeks after the first hearing.

Prosecutors usually present a first-time DUI charge as a gross misdemeanor. If you’re convicted on your first DUI charge, the court may order as follows:

  • Minimum jail time of up to two days.
  • Maximum jail time of 364 days.
  • Suspension of your license between 90 days and two years.
  • Mandatory alcohol or drug treatment.
  • A court-imposed fine of up to $5000.
  • Mandatory use of the ignition interlock device.

Other criminal and civil penalties depend on whether it’s your first DUI case. If you’ve been previously convicted, the judge can decide as follows:

  • Put you on probation.
  • Impose fines.
  • Send you to jail.
  • Place you under the electronic home monitoring program or house arrest.
  • Suspend your driver’s license.
  • Order the use of a mandatory ignition interlock device.
  • Send you to rehabilitation for alcohol or drug use.
  • Order you to wear a remote alcohol monitor or SCRAM device.

Other factors also determine the extent of the verdict. For instance, if your breath test result was above .15 or you refused to take the sobriety test, you may face a harsher verdict.

Besides, there are heightened DUI penalties for individuals who’ve been involved in multiple DUI cases. So, if you’ve been charged with DUI four or more times, chances are the prosecutors will file felony DUI charges against you.

DUI Sentencing in Pierce County

The court might decide to sentence you to time on JCAP, meaning you’ll be required to wear an ankle bracelet and serve time at home instead of going to jail. When you’re on a JCAP program, you’re literally under ‘house arrest’ but still allowed to attend work, school, and a limited number of other destinations.

Which Pierce County Judge Handles DUI Cases?

In Pierce County, there are eight judges assigned to handle DUI cases. The judges are rotated on a semi-regular basis to handle DUI and other criminal cases.

Your case will be assigned to a particular courtroom upon arraignment. Even if the judge assigned to that courtroom is moved to a new court, the case will most likely remain in that courtroom.

Are Pierce County DUI Judges Lenient?

The state of Washington has harsh laws when it comes to DUI cases. In the recent past, prosecutors have tightened standards relating to plea negotiations, especially if it’s not your first DUI case, which is why you need a Pierce County DUI attorney with the right skills, knowledge, and experience to defend you in court.

When You Need a Pierce County DUI Attorney

At The Law Offices of Barbara Bowden, our Pierce County DUI lawyers are available 24/7 to help you with your case. All you need to do is call us as soon as you’ve been charged with a DUI.

We have over 30 years of experience in handling DUI cases, and it’s our goal to ensure you get the best possible outcome in your case, just like we have for countless residents of Pierce County.

When you contact us about your DUI case, we’ll review it in detail and provide the best legal advice and representation to prevent the DUI from appearing on your record.

Over the years, we’ve successfully handled cases for clients in Pierce County, including the cities of Lakewood, Tacoma, Gig Harbor, Puyallup, and University Place, WA. We have over 170 Google Reviews from past clients satisfied with our work.

Call us now at 253-473-4262 to schedule a free initial consultation with no obligation. We are available 24/7 for you!