In Washington, a first-time charge of driving under the influence may result in only a misdemeanor charge if there has been no crash, injuries or death. Charges will escalate to felony DUI, however, if an alleged drunken driver crashes or causes bodily harm or if the driver has been convicted of prior offenses. Felony DUI charges mean that the accused, if convicted, will be subject to stiff fines and possible jail or prison time.
A Black Diamond woman recently tested the limits of Washington's laws and the patience of law enforcement officers when she not only crashed her own car through a storefront at 11 in the morning, but also was arrested a second time just three hours later after being stopped for DUI in her husband's car.
Following the first crash, police found the 58-year-old woman in a neighboring liquor store. A field sobriety test showed she had a blood alcohol limit three times the legal limit. Her car was impounded and she was arrested; however, because the local jail had no room for her, she was released and driven home. Her second arrest occurred just 30 minutes after her release. Following the second arrest, she then was held in the nearby Issaquah jail.
A person accused of a DUI offense should fully understand that the charges against him or her are criminal and could have severe consequences. The person will need legal guidance to contest charges and protect his or her own interests. A DUI conviction can lead to incarceration, fines, the installation of an ignition interlock or suspension of a driver's license.
DUI charges not only can bring criminal and possibly civil penalties, but also harm a person's reputation. However severe the charges, an accused driver should seek a strong legal defense in order to best defend himself or herself in court against the potential consequences of a felony DUI conviction.
Source: Komo News, "Woman cited for DUI twice within 3 hours," Keith Eldridge, Sept. 20, 2013