Barbara A. Bowden

Tacoma, WA DUI Attorney

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DUI in Tacoma, Washington

Driving while under the influence of alcohol puts you, your passengers, and other drivers on the road at risk. That’s why the law is so tough on drivers who are charged with driving under the influence. Many drivers who are pulled over for DUI thought they were OK to drive when they slid behind the wheel, but Washington law enforcement is on the lookout for drunk drivers and they can spot even tiny discrepancies in driving.

If you are charged with a DUI in Tacoma, Washington, the ticket you receive is not the only price you’ll pay. In addition to the initial fine, a driver might face alcohol education fees, loss of license and increases in the cost of insurance.

According to an article from the Mercer Island reporter, car insurance increases in Washington will stay on a driver’s record for five years after they receive a DUI. The minimum fine for a first-time DUI in Washington is almost $950 and the resulting car insurance premium increase for an average driver will be almost 2.5 times that initial fine. That means drivers will pay more than $2,000 for insurance, for five years, all because of one DUI.

Some DUI charges are more severe than others and that can also affect how much a Washington driver pays for driving under the influence. A study by revealed that the true cost of a first-time DUI for Washington drivers is anywhere between $6,574 and $10,634 depending on the harshness of the charges.

That’s a lot of money for one DUI. If you recently received your first DUI in Tacoma, Washington, you might be getting worried about these charges and the affects that having a DUI on your record might have on your personal life. Taking time off work for alcohol education or court may not be the best integrity builder to your boss and could result in lost wages, resulting in less money to pay the fees with.

Fortunately, there are plenty of resources in Tacoma to help you through this tough situation. The Law Offices of Barbara A. Bowden specializes in taking care of traffic offenses and reducing the charges you face. A DUI defense attorney will investigate your case and determine the best plan of action after your DUI by taking your BAC, field sobriety test results, probable cause, and any prior offenses in to account.

You might feel like you don’t have any options after a DUI charge, that you’ll just have to pay the price and navigate the confusing charges on your own. But, the truth is, there are many options and our attorneys can help you decide which option is best. It is our duty and pleasure to serve you and answer any questions you have about DUI charges in Tacoma, Washington. One question you might be thinking of now is: How can I possibly need to pay more than $10,000 for a first-time DUI charge? We can help answer that one right now.

The study calculated the “true cost” of a DUI charge in different Washington cities. They took in to account the four main costs associated with DUIs:

  1. The fine itself. The fine that drivers pay depends on the situation. First time offenders with a BAC less than 0.15 is the $940 mentioned above, and that’s the minimum. The maximum, depending on the driver’s BAC, is $5,000. According to Washington’s Administrative Office of the Courts, the average fine for all convicted DUIs was $3,711 in 2013.
  2. Lawyer’s fees for a trustworthy DUI defense attorney. It’s hard, if not impossible, to defend yourself after a DUI charge if you don’t have any legal education or knowledge of DUI laws in Washington. You could end up paying more in the long run if you try to defend yourself than if you get an experienced DUI attorney to help you through the process. Our DUI attorneys will work hard to reduce the cost and consequences of a DUI charge for you.
  3. Ignition interlock device fees. If a Washington driver wants to drive again after a DUI conviction he or she will have to install an ignition interlock device in the car. According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, the device will cost about $1,300 for the first year. First-time offenders are required to have the device for at least a year.
  4. Insurance premium increases. As mentioned above, driver’s who have a DUI on their record will see an increase in their annual car insurance premium even if they look for a different provider. The average increase in Washington is $466 but the price will vary from place to place and driver to driver.

NerdWallet also calculated the top ten Washington cities with the most expensive DUIs — Tacoma, Washington, is at the top of the list. In Tacoma, the true cost with a maximum is more than $11,000 and the true cost with the minimum fine is more than $7,000. Why so expensive in Tacoma?

Tacoma residents already have some of the highest average car insurance rates in Washington: $1,057.35 each year. Our residents also see the largest per-year dollar increase of any city for drivers who get a DUI. Five of the other communities with the most expensive cost for a DUI are within a short driving distance of Tacoma including University Place, Lakewood, and Federal Way.

If you’ve been charged with DUI in Tacoma, Washington, you could be facing hefty charges that you don’t deserve. You’re not a criminal for driving under the influence. You simply made a mistake. We have offices in Tacoma and Lakewood, Washington, and our attorneys represent people throughout the Tacoma area.

You don’t have to navigate the complexities and costs of a Tacoma, Washington DUI charge alone. Contact our office today to find out how we can help you. We know every case is different, and we will answer any questions you have