The Fox Law Firm is open and available during these very difficult times. Zoom conferences are the next best thing to an in-person consultation, and in those meetings I can advise as to legal procedure, next steps in your case, and share with you documents you may need. Please feel free to call to set up an appointment (425) 274-9190. We can talk by phone as well, the sooner the better. You’ll feel better knowing there is an effective plan in place for your representation.
Law enforcement has announced that “E-DUI” enforcement patrols will be stepped up in April with over 150 Washington police agencies participating. “E-DUI” refers to Washington State’s distracted driving law which went into effect on July 23, 2017. It’s called “E-DUI” because, as is pointed out on theDOL’s webpage, talking on a cell phone while driving is the same as driving at a .08 alcohol level. DOL also says that texting while driving is the same as driving at a .16 alcohol level – double the legal limit. So, it makes sense that the penalties for an alcohol DUI are the same as for an E-DUI, right? Let’s find out.
For a first offense DUI, the Washington State penalties include one day in jail minimum (up to a year), a fine of approximately $1,000 (up to $5,000), three years of high risk insurance, a 90 day license suspension (up to two years), ignition interlock for a year, up to five years on probation, and a permanent criminal record.
What’s the penalty for the new “E-DUI?” First of all, it’s not even a crime, so there’s no criminal record and no jail is possible. The penalty for an E-DUI is $136 for the first offense, and $234 for the second offense. That’s it.
For over thirty years, I’ve been providing vigorous representation to folks who are faced with the frightening and harsh penalties that come if there is a DUI conviction. I know that many people who are arrested for DUI are unaware that their alcohol level is over the limit. By comparison, every person who is driving and talks or texts on a cell phone they’re holding knows that they are breaking the law.
Either the penalties for an alcohol DUI are too harsh, or the penalty for an E-DUI is too lenient. The legislature can’t have it both ways. On the one hand, every year the legislature looks for ways to make the DUI laws harsher and arguably the laws are now too harsh. On the other hand, if the DUI laws are not deemed too harsh, then the E-DUI law the legislature passed last year is just a feel-good hypocrisy.
Avoiding license suspension is one of the goals of a DUI attorney, but no attorney can guarantee a win on this front. When a suspension is imposed, knowing the proper steps to take after the suspension has been served is very important. If you have just finished serving a DUI license suspension, you are still not legal to drive unless you “reinstate” your license. The DOL does not automatically give you your license back after you have served a suspension. The requirements for reinstatement are different depending upon the type an length of license suspension. The DOL has created a web-tool that is a good way to know what DOL is requiring, and how to comply. Find it here: https://fortress.wa.gov/dol/dolprod/dsdreinstatements/. In some cases, simply payment of a reinstatement fee is required. In others, filing SR-22 insurance, an alcohol evaluation and follow-up treatment is required. In still other cases, you’ll need to take the written and driving exams in addition to other requirements before the license is reinstated. TYou can always give my office a call (425) 274-9190 for help with this or any criminal traffic related problem. We offer representation for all DUI and traffic related matters, focusing upon cases arising in Western Washington, but also offering representation in certain cases in counties east of the mountains.