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If a law enforcement officer suspects, based on their observations, that a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Thurston County they can ask the driver to perform field sobriety tests as well as a portable breath test.
The tests are 100% voluntary and may be the deciding factor as to whether an arrest for Thurston County DUI is made. If the officer collects enough incriminating information to make an arrest for driving under the influence then they inform the individual of their implied consent rights and ask them to perform the blood alcohol concentration test or BAC.
The legal limit for alcohol in Washington is .08. However, a person can be charged with a DUI even if their BAC reading is below .08. Under Washington law, if it can be shown that a person’s driving is effected to an “appreciable degree” by drugs or alcohol then they may be charged and convicted of a DUI.
Upon arrest for Thurston County / Olympia DUI two processes begin, the criminal case and the DOL license suspension case. Washington State’s Department of Licensing automatically suspends the license of individuals arrested for DUI from 90 days to 2 years. In order to prevent the automatic suspension a hearing request must be made within 20 days from the arrest. At the telephonic DOL hearing your Olympia DUI attorney can present evidence, require the officer to testify, and make legal arguments.
The criminal process begins with the arraignment. Appearance at criminal hearings is mandatory and failure to appear at a hearing will result in an arrest warrant being issued. At the initial appearance your DUI attorney attempts to minimize conditions and restrictions that the court may impose such as bail, electronic home monitoring, and ignition interlock devise.
If convicted of a first time DUI the court imposes mandatory jail time, alcohol/drug treatment, fines, and license suspension. A DUI Attorney will evaluate the case and negotiate with the prosecutor in an attempt to avoid unnecessary sanctions. Ideally, the DUI conviction can be avoided. Many times a competent criminal defense attorney can get the charge amended to a Negligent Driving, Reckless Driving, or Reckless Endangerment charge thereby avoiding jail time, and minimizing a license suspension, and fines.