Acclaimed and respected DUI Defense firm located in Bellevue, WA

By: Rokai Kolam

Road accidents are considered a serious health issue around the world. These traffic mishaps not only cause physical injuries among drivers and their passengers but cause the deaths of many people as well. Majority of these reported accidents are due to drunk driving or driving under the influence of liquor (DUI).

A World Health Organization (WHO) study has found that 1.2 million people are killed and 50 million are injured in traffic accidents every year. This makes road accidents the second leading cause of death. Approximately 40 percent or 480,000 of these reported deaths are attributed to drunk driving. The WHO expects that by 2020, deaths resulting from these road accidents will go up by 80 percent due to a rise in the number of vehicles on the road.

In the U.S., drunk driving accidents claim the lives of more than 17,000 people each year. For the year 2003 alone, DUI-related deaths were pegged at around 40 percent. This makes alcohol as the leading cause of traffic deaths and injuries in the United States. Washington State reports consistent 43 percent alcohol-related fatalities in 2001, 2003 and 2006.

To date, there are two statutory offenses to driving under the influence of alcohol being followed in all 50 U.S. states. Driving under the influence (DUI) is the first offense. It also includes driving while intoxicated or impaired (DWI) or operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated or impaired (OWI). The first offense is applied based on a police officerís observations of a personís behavior and speech. The second offense is known as illegal per se which means driving with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher.

In Washington, all DUI offenses are considered gross misdemeanors. The stateís criminal and administrative penalties are some of the countryís harshest. These include jail, fines, loss of license, a double probation period, mandatory alcohol assessment and higher insurance rates among others.

The Department of Licensing will suspend a driverís license 30 days after the arrest if the offender is found to have blown over the legal limit or refused a test. Whatís important to note here is that the license suspension stays in effect for up to two months or even longer despite the absence of charges. The process of reinstating a license takes even more time as there are numerous requirements that have to be accomplished. An alcohol assessment, alcohol treatment if necessary, payment of reinstatement fee, driving exam and proof of special insurance are just among the many requirements.

Another harsh penalty for DUI offenders in the state of Washington is getting a permanent record of their offense that can affect their entry to other countries. If convicted, a person in a DUI case is immediately barred from entering Canada for at least five years. Tough penalty for such a misdemeanor, you bet but thatís the law and it has to be followed.

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If youíre facing a DUI case, let your Washington DUI defense firm help you. Hayne & Wolf Law Firm is a recognized DUI Defense firm serving all of Washington State.

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