When meeting with any potential DUI client, we at SQ Attorneys make it our practice to inquire about whether there was a passenger(s) in the car. It isn’t uncommon that initially folks seem a bit miffed by the question, but get it after it is learned that having a passenger in the car is considered an ‘aggravating’ factor that is considered by both the court and the prosecutor. Certain aggravating factors, in fact, include enhanced penalties should the driver be convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
Beyond the aggravating factor of having a child under the age of 16 in the car, some other potential aggravating factors include: (1) a driver’s choice to refuse a blood or a breath test; (2) a prior DUI; (3) an injury and/or property damage that is related to the DUI; (4) the driver of a car is under the age of 21; (5) possession of a Commercial Drivers’ License (CDL) while DUI; and/or (6) the breath/ blood test is .15 or greater.
If there is a child under the age of 16 in a DUI driver’s vehicle, officers are required to make a ‘clear notation’ in their report. Officers are also specifically required by law to notify child protective services whenever a child is present in a vehicle being driven by his or her parent, guardian, legal custodian, or sibling and who is arrested for a drug or alcohol-related DUI. In addition to the foregoing, when there is a DUI involving a passenger under the age of 16, the criminal court is required to order the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (“IID”) for at least 60 days … and this period is in addition to any other IID requirement that is imposed and/or required.
If you or a loved one is accused of DUI, you should immediately consult with a qualified Seattle DUI lawyer. A qualified and respected Seattle DUI lawyer, among other things, can quite possibly save the aggrieved person thousands of dollars in court and insurance fees, the extent of loss of privilege to drive, and the amount of jail time to be served. We have said it before and will say it again, Washington DUI laws are far too complicated for any ol’ attorney to handle. Be smart and consult with a qualified and skilled Seattle DUI attorney when arrested for an alcohol and/or drug related DUI in Washington State.