When a person is convicted of a drunk driving offense for the first time, he or she faces serious penalties that affect both present and future lives. However, a person convicted of four or more drunk driving offenses, which are considered felony DUIs in Washington, faces even heavier significant fines and a long-term sentence behind bars. Recently, a Washington man was arrested for driving under the influence.
Police say that they received a 911 call reporting that the man was driving erratically. According to the police, when they pulled the man over and issued field-sobriety tests, the man failed the tests but registered a 0.00 blood-alcohol level. Police say that even with that result, they may issue a blood test if they suspect a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The man was ordered to have a blood draw.
Because the man has been convicted of prior DUI offenses, he faces being charged with a felony DUI. According to police, the man has been convicted of two DUI offenses and has pleaded down three other citations relating to DUIs. A Washington prosecutor has noted that misdemeanor DUI citations that are pleaded down may be counted as prior offenses of driving under the influence.
In Washington, an individual may be charged with a felony DUI if the defendant was convicted of a vehicular homicide or vehicular assault involving alcohol or drug intoxication or the defendant has been convicted of four or more prior DUI offenses within 10 years. A person convicted of a felony DUI faces up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
When up against a felony DUI charge, an individual should be aware of his or her rights and possible defenses that may impact the penalties he or she may face. It is important to remember that every defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
Source: The Olympian, "6th DUI arrest prompts possible felony charge," Jeremy Pawloski, Feb. 19, 2013