Driving Offenses

  1. DUI

    DUI litigation is essentially fought in two battlegrounds: (1) license suspension proceedings brought by the Department of Licensing (DOL) and (2) criminal charges initiated from the Prosecutor. You need an attorney who can maneuver both venues aggressively and not just one aspect of the case.

    License Suspension

    If the police officer punched a hole in your driver’s license and provided a slip of paper regarding a license suspension, it means the State Department of Licensing (DOL) is plsnning to suspend or revoke your license.  These suspensions can and should always be challenged.  Under statute, defendants have a very short window of time – a mere 20 days from the DUI incident – to challenge the automatic license suspension.  In deciding whether to suspend your license, the DOL Hearing Examiner must analyze four issues:

    1. Whether you were lawfully arrested / contacted;
    2. Whether there were reasonable grounds to believe you were DUI;
    3. Whether you were read your implied consent warnings properly;
    4. Whether you either refused the breath test or blew over the legal limit.

    Fortunately, the DOL cannot suspend someone’s license if their constitutional rights are violated, evidence is lacking, the BAC machine has malfunctioned, or government agents fail to follow proper procedure. The attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. have handled hundreds of DOL hearings and have a strong success rate at preventing suspension. It is imperative that you hire an attorney soon to maximize your chance of saving your license. If you don’t then you run the risk of unnecessary suspension, costly insurance increases, and an ignition interlock device on your car. Again, you have a very short time after a DUI arrest in order to properly set up a challenge. Please call us right away at (360) 671-8500 to talk with our experienced attorneys. Consulations are FREE.

    Criminal Charges

    Under RCW 46.61.502, DUI’s are gross misdemeanors punishable up to a year in jail and a $5,000.00 fine. Additional consequences include alcohol evaluations, follow-up treatment, probation, mandatory ignition interlock device, lack of access to Canada, and fines from around $1,000.00 to $5,000.00. Fortunately, many consequences are negotiable, and can be modified to your benefit with the assistance of an experienced attorney.

    Every case is factually different.  Outcomes vary.  There are always mitigating and aggravating factors. However, in most cases the attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. obtain favorable reductions of charges (plea bargains) to lesser offenses that don’t have quite the onerous consequences of a DUI.  We always strive to obtain dismissals whenever possible. Grounds for dismissal include proving the initial stop was unconstitutional, was unsupported by probable cause, or that the officers have no basis to believe you were driving unlawfully.  These arguments can be made at pre-trial motions.  Again, in order to obtain more information about your charge and the potential consequences, and to see what services we can provide for you, it is in your best interest to contact our office at (360) 671-8500. We look forward to helping you.

  2. Minor DUI

    Under RCW 46.61.503, defendants charged with a Minor DUI are alleged to have

    • driven or were in physical control of a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol,
    • been under the age of twenty-one and within two hours after operating or being in physical control of the motor vehicle,
    • had an alcohol concentration of at least 0.02 but less than .08.

    Although this offense is a simple misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine it also carries significant consequenses for the minor. In addition to the criminal conviction, the DOL will impose a lengthy license suspension. Other additional concerns include increased motor vehicle insurance premiums and educational obstacles for those seeking college.

  3. Driving While License Suspended

    Driving While License Suspended (DWLS) is a frequently charged criminal traffic offense. The crime of DWLS may fall into one of three types, or degrees. Each degree has its own penalties.

    First Degree

    This is the most serious of DWLS charges. In short, the Department of Licensing has classified DWLS 1 defendants as a Habitual Traffic Offenders (HTO). DWLS 1 is classified as a gross misdemeanor punishable up to one year in jail and a $5,000.00 fine. The charge carries a mandatory jail sentence upon conviction. First convictions bring a mandatory minimum 10 days in jail. Second convictions bring 90 days. Third and/or subsequent convictions bring mandatory jail sentences of 180 days.

    Furthermore, because DWLS 1 is also considered a major moving violation, a conviction leads to additional periods of HTO suspension which extends the period of administrative suspension/revocation imposed for an additional period of one year from and after the date the person would otherwise have been entitled to apply for a new license or have his or her driving privilege restored.

    Second Degree

    Being charged with DWLS 2 means a defendant was driving while on a suspension other than an HTO and was not currently eligible to reinstate their driving privileges. This type of suspension can be assigned for many reasons but most is most commonly used for defendants with DUI conviction based license suspension or an administrative suspension. Unlike DWLS 1, a DWLS 2 conviction does not carry mandatory jail time, however, it is still considered a gross misdemeanor.

    Third Degree

    Defendants charged with DWLS 3 are those who were driving on a suspended license at a time when they were eligible to have their licenses reinstated. For the most part, the reason for the suspension is an unpaid traffic ticket or failing to get their license reinstated after a period of suspension. DWLS 3 is a simple misdemeanor, meaning that the offense carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $1,000.00 fine.

  4. Hit and Run

    ATTENDED

    Under RCW 46.52.020, defendants charged with Hit and Run/Attended allegedly were driving a vehicle and were involved in a collision with another attended vehicle. If this occurs, motorists have the duty to stop and provide the driver/occupant of the other vehicle with their name, address, vehicle, and insurance information. Failure to provide this information is a criminal offense. Hit and Run/Attended is a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to 365 days in jail and a $5,000.00 fine.  Additionally, Hit and Run/Attended can become a felony offense if there is an injury to the occupant of the other vehicle. A conviction for Hit and Run/Attended also carries a mandatory license suspension of one year upon conviction. Lastly, Hit and Run/Attended is considered a major moving violation for purposes of the Habitual Traffic Offender Law. If you have three major moving violations within five years you will be classified as a Habitual Traffic Offender and as a result will face a lengthy license suspension. This is another offense that could possibly be resolved in a civil manner which will result in the criminal charges being dismissed. Contact Tario & Associates, P.S., about this possibility.

    UNATTENDED

    Defendants charged with Hit and Run/Unattended were allegedly involved in a collision with an unattended vehicle and/or property of another. As such, you, as the driver have a duty to provide the owner of the vehicle/property you struck with your contact information. Furthermore, if the owner of the other vehicle/property cannot be located, the driver has a duty to leave his contact information on the struck vehicle or damaged property. Hit and Run/Unattended is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Speak to the attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S., about the possibility of having this charge resolved in a civil manner with the payment of restitution for damages.  We may possibly have the ability to keep the criminal charge off of your record.

  5. Minor in Possession (MIP)

    Defendants charged with an MIP are alleged to be under the age of 21 and discovered by a law enforcement officer with alcohol in their system or with alcohol in their possession. This offense is a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine. Unfortunately, a conviction for MIP can result in a minor being excluded from some forms of financial aid. In addition, some schools have strict policies regarding minor drug and alcohol offenses that can result in severe sanctions, including but not limited to, suspension or expulsion from school.

  6. Negligent Driving

    Under RCW 46.61.5249, defendants charged with Negligent Driving in the First Degree have allegedly operated a motor vehicle in a manner that is both negligent and endangers or is likely to endanger any person or property; and also exhibited the effects of having consumed liquor or an illegal drug. This offense is a simple misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $1,000.00 fine.  For now, this charge does not carry a mandatory license suspension or SR 22 insurance requirement like a DUI or Reckless Driving charge. In addition, and under RCW 46.61.525, Negligent Driving in the Second Degree is a traffic infraction. Traffic infractions are only punishable by a monetary penalty.

  7. Reckless Driving

    Under RCW 46.61.500, defendants charged with Reckless Driving are alleged to have operated a motor vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. This offense is a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine. Reckless driving is considered a serious criminal traffic offense in the State of Washington. As a result, a conviction will result in a 30 days license suspension by the Department of Licensing. Upon reinstatement of your license you will be required to secure SR-22 insurance and must have the more expensive form of insurance for three years. Since Reckless Driving is considered a major moving violation it will count against you as it relates to the Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO) status. If you have three major moving violations during a three year period you will be classified as a Habitual Traffic Offender. As a result, you would be looking at a long period of suspension of your driver’s license.