Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Criminal Charges
We understand that many people are reluctant to hire an attorney for a criminal charge because of the expense and because they feel that they can do it themselves. Would you make a medical diagnosis yourself or go to a doctor? People who contact our office have many questions:
After a DUI arrest, is my driver's license still valid?
Answer: Yes, you may still drive up until the time you receive a letter from the DOL that your license is to be suspended. If you have a DOL hearing scheduled, you may drive until the results of your hearing are provided to you with a new date of suspension.
What is the DOL hearing?
Answer: In Washington, you have the right to challenge the DOL license suspension. You must request a license hearing with the Department of Licensing (DOL) within 20 days of your arrest and pay a $375 fee to DOL. The 20-day deadline will not be extended. If you hire us for your DUI, we will also represent you and fight the suspension of your driver's license. The DOL hearing is generally done by phone with a DOL hearing officer.
Can I drive while my license is suspended?
Answer: During any license suspension, you may be eligible to drive by obtaining an Ignition Interlock Restricted License. (LINK) See our resource page to direct you to the Washington DOL website.
If I am not a US citizen or am a DACA member, will a guilty plea cause me to be deported?
Answer: You should talk to your criminal law attorney and a immigration attorney to discuss your specific case and the charges.
I was charged with a DUI and the officer told me I was over the legal limit. I admitted to the officer that I had been drinking. (This relates to any criminal charge). Should I plead guilty?
Answer: You should always plead not guilty and obtain legal advice from a qualified and experienced attorney. If you plead guilty to any criminal charge, then the court may sentence you up to the maximum fines and jail. There are ways of mitigating the damages, even if you believe you are guilty.
Why did the officer impound my vehicle?
Answer: Washington State law requires a 12 hour hold on all vehicles driven by persons arrested for a DUI or other drug or alcohol related offenses. You may pick up your vehicle 12-hours after the arrest. The law enforcement agency should provide you with information as to where your vehicle was impounded. You are required to pay the fee for the tow and impound.
If arrested for a DUI or other drug or alcohol related driving offense, what are my options?
Answer: You may plead guilty, which you do not want to do, request a Deferred Prosecution, or plead not guilty and obtain legal counsel. Before you make this choice, call Heritage Law Office to discuss each of these options.
I did not know what I did was a crime. Can I still be found guilty?
Answer: The quick answer is yes: Ignorance of the law is not an excuse. It may help you in getting a reduction of your sentence, but it will not be a defense to cause the charges to be dismissed.
What is the most important thing to do if arrested for a DUI?
- Contact an attorney to discuss your options. Obtaining legal counsel is the most important thing to do.
- Heritage Law Office offers free consultations for DUI cases. You can speak to one of our attorneys without any cost to you and with no obligation to hire us.