Sunday, April 11, 2010

How is my DUI a felony?

Within the past decade the Washington State’s Legislature has made extensive efforts to crack down on those individuals who drive while under the influence of alcohol, drugs and/or both alcohol and drugs. The Washington State Legislature’s point of emphasis has not only been to curtail first time offenders of Washington State’s DUI laws, but also repeat offenders. In July, 2007, Washington State took the initiative to pass a law that under certain circumstances makes it a Felony (not a Gross Misdemeanor) to be driving under the influence in Washington State. Since the summer of 2007, a person may be charged with Felony DUI in Washington State if: (1) the driver has a history of four or more DUI convictions within the past 10 years, inclusive of successfully completed Deferred Prosecutions and/or reduced charges such as Negligent Driving First Degree, Reckless Driving, and Reckless Endangerment; or (2) the driver has previously been convicted of an alcohol/ drug related vehicular homicide or vehicular assault any time in the past.

It goes without saying that any criminal conviction carries with it undesired penalties and obligations, but a Felony DUI conviction is the most intrusive and stigmatizing conviction a person can receive in Washington State; a Felony DUI conviction carries with it significantly higher penalties than a Gross Misdemeanor DUI conviction, and it may have far greater long term implications on a person’s personal and professional life. The Seattle criminal attorneys that make up the criminal defense team at SQ Attorneys understands the significant impact a DUI conviction can have on one’s personal and professional life. They understand that being charged and prosecuted for DUI in Western Washington (whether a Felony or Gross Misdemeanor) is one of the scariest experiences an individual can face during her lifetime.

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