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Tacoma DUI Attorney - Pierce County

Have You Been Arrested In Tacoma for DUI?

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Experienced Tacoma DUI Attorney

Experienced and successful at handling Tacoma and Pierce County DUIs we are highly respected by our peers.  Happy clients with great results thank us for our dedication and skills in the complex and quickly moving Tacoma and Pierce County Court system.  For more than two decades Kevin Trombold's passion and focus for DUI defense has excluded hundreds of breath tests and helped successfully resolve DUI cases in a cold and threatening court system.

Being charged with the crime of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) can feel like the end of your life.  It's not.  We have successfully resolved hundreds, if not thousands, of DUIs all over the State of Washington, including Tacoma Municipal Court and Pierce County District Court.

We stand between the Tacoma DUI prosecutors and good people.  With knowledge of the power they have and the rules and procedures they must follow we craft a defense in each and every individual case.  Even when the DUI prosecutors want to put away an "unpopular person," such as Trombold's client in the picture on the right, justice will be served with a well crafted, individual defense that arises from each individual clients life.

You need someone strong and professional to protect you from a DUI prosecution.

Pierce County and Tacoma DUI Information

If you were arrested by the Tacoma Police Department your case will be filed by the Tacoma City Attorneys Office in the City-County Building.  But if you were arrested by the Pierce County Sheriffs Office or the Washington State Patrol in Pierce County then your case will be charged by the Pierce County Prosecutors office.  All Pierce County cases are also heard in the City-County Building on Tacoma Avenue South.

Both prosecutions occur in the City-County Building, which is shown on the map below and specifically located at 930 Tacoma Avenue S, Tacoma, WA 98402.

The City Attorneys office has a prosecution division, which is distinguished from their civil division that advises the City Council, the Mayor, and any other elected city officials.  The Tacoma City Prosecutors is one of the busiest in the State right behind the City of Seattle.

Of the more than 32,000 DUI and Physical Control cases filed in 2013 in the entire State of Washington, the City of Tacoma filed 511, Pierce County Prosecutors filed 2733.  As a comparison, the City of Seattle, in 2013 filed 1550 and the King County Prosecutors filed 3687.  The City of Everett filed 206.  And Snohomish County Prosecutors Office filed 2236 DUI and Physical Control cases.

Same Bad Machine Statewide - The BAC DataMaster

How do we defend people?  One of our favorite defenses is to focus on the most difficult and damming pieces of evidence - the evidentiary breath test.  The breath test machine used by the Washington State Patrol (WSP) in Tacoma and Pierce County is the same bad machine used all over the State of Washington and has been in service since 1985.  The WSP has several hundred of these machines, which haven't changed in any major way since the 1980s, when they put the first machine in service in Bellevue, Washington.

For more than twenty years that we have been defending Tacoma DUI charges by picking apart the faults in breath testing machine.  Thats the key to our success.  The BAC DataMaster has been in deployed in Washington State since 1985 - its old and tired.  They don't even make replacement parts anymore.  One of the machines weakest pieces is the simulator solution, which was that jar of liquid behind the machine.  It needs to be replaced every sixty days.  But don't be confused by forensic science, leave that to Kevin and his staff.

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Fighting DUI Charges In Tacoma For More Than 20 Years

Our Tacoma DUI law practice is dedicated to fighting your Pierce County DUI.  We start our DUI case analysis from the assumption that you are not guilty and continually look for potential DUI defenses until you decide we have achieved a successful DUI result.  We are here to help you.  You will never feel alone with us at your side.

In Washington DUI Courts Kevin has seen many people wrongly accused and also knows that good people sometimes make mistakes. He understands how overwhelming the potential penalties for driving under the influence may seem when you are first charged with a DUI.

Being accused of Tacoma DUI  can feel like the whole world is against you.   Suffering the accusations may be the most stressful and terrifying event of a lifetime.  The Tacoma DUI arrest can bring humiliation on the roadside, at the police precinct, and in the Pierce County open and public courtroom.  Without a driver's license, some people lose their jobs.  The threat of a jail or prison sentence raises nightmarish concerns about personal safety. And a conviction for DUI can create a permanent criminal record following a person for the rest of his or her life and exclusion from Canada.

20 Day Deadline for Tacoma and Pierce County DUIs Arrests

If you have been arrested for a Tacoma or Pierce County for the crime of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) you have 20 days to file for a Department of Licensing hearing. If you don’t you will loose your Washington State Drivers License. Again, you only have twenty days from the date of your Tacoma or Pierce County arrest for DUI to request a hearing to keep your license. Call our office now to find out more information about how to request a hearing.

If you don’t request a Administrative hearing within 20 days of your arrest for Tacoma or Pierce County DUI then your Tacoma DUI attorney will not be able to defend your right to drive and your license will be suspended for at least 90 days.

Call us now to discuss your right to drive after a Tacoma or Pierce County DUI arrest. 206-382-9200.

Penalties for a Tacoma DUI

Potential criminal penalties for a Tacoma DUI include mandatory jail, fines, license suspension for at least ninety days, ignition interlock on your car for one, five or ten years, an alcohol evaluation and treatment, and attendance of a DUI victims panel and high risk insurance.

Remember that the Tacoma Municipal Court prosecutor and Pierce County Prosecutors and the Department of Licensing have to prove numerous things before any of these penalties apply.

CRIMINAL DUI PENALTIES

Pierce County District or Tacoma Municipal Court Dispositions and Penalties

(within 7 years means that arrest for prior offense occurred within 7 years of arrest for current charges)

A first Tacoma and Pierce County DUI in seven years will mandate the Tacoma DUI Judge to impose one to two days in jail (or 15 to 30 days EHM allowed), a fine of $866-$5000, Ignition Interlock for one year, a 90 day license suspension or up to two years if the breath test was refused.

A second Tacoma and Pierce County DUI in seven years will mandate the Tacoma DUI Judge to impose 30 or 45 days jail followed by 60 or 90 days electronic home monitoring, a fine of $1121 at a minimum and an ignition interlock for one or five years depending on if the ignition interlock has been imposed before on the person.

A third Tacoma and Pierce County DUI in seven years will mandate the Tacoma DUI Judge to impose 90 or 120 days jail followed by 120 or 150 days electronic home monitoring, a fine of $1121 at a minimum and an ignition interlock for one or five years depending on if the ignition interlock has been imposed before on the person.

A reduction to Reckless Driving removes the case from all mandatory jail and fines allowing the Tacoma DUI Judge to impose up to 364 days in jail.  The license suspension must be for at least 30 days and followed by six months of ignition interlock if its a second offense in seven years.

A reduction of a Tacoma and Pierce County DUI charge to Negligent Driving in the First Degree also removes the case from all mandatory jail and fines and also any license suspension.  Second offense Negligent Driving reductions do have an ignition interlock requirement for six months.  The maximum jail and fine is 90 days and $1000 because the charge comes down from a gross misdemeanor to a misdemeanor.

All license suspensions require SR-22 insurance for 3 years, $150 re-issue fee.  Any conviction following a Tacoma or Pierce County DUI charge will require an Alcohol evaluation & follow-up treatment.  The minimum treatment will be alcohol information school.

Tacoma and Pierce County DUI clients are often worried about how much their insurance rates will go up, and the answer depends on your driving record. It is important to shop around to find the best rate.  The insurance rate is market dependent.

Here is a helpful graph that shows Tacoma/Pierce County DUI Penalties that the Judges must impose if they receive a guilty verdict from the jury or a plea of guilty from a defendant.  This chart lists the mandatory minimum punishment that the judges must impose without any discretion.

DUI – 1ST CONVICTION IN 7 YEARS
Offense Penalty License Action
BAC < .15 or No BAC Jail: 1-364 days (or 15 days EHM allowed)
Fine: $866-$5000
Interlock: Required
90 day suspension
BAC ≥ .15 or refusal Jail: 2-364 days (or 30 days EHM allowed)
Fine: $1121-$5000
Interlock: Required
1 year revocation for BAC over .15
2 year revocation for refusal
DUI – 2ND CONVICTION IN 7 YEARS
Offense Penalty License Action
BAC < .15 Jail: 30-364 days & 60 days EHM
Fine: $1121-$5000
Interlock: 1 year minimum
2 year license revocation
BAC ≥ .15 or refusal Jail: 45-364 days & 90 days EHM
Fine: $1546-$5000
Interlock: 1 year minimum
2.5 year revocation for BAC over .15
3 year revocation for refusal
DUI – 3RD CONVICTION IN 7 YEARS
Offense Penalty License Action
BAC < .15 Jail: 90-364 days & 120 days EHM
Fine: $1971-$5000
Interlock: 1 year minimum
3 year license revocation
BAC > .15 or refusal Jail: 120-364 days & 150 days EHM
Fine: $2821-$5000
Interlock: 1 year minimum
4 year license revocation
RECKLESS DRIVING
Offense Penalty License Action
Reckless Driving Jail: 0-364 days
Fine: $0-$5000

30 day license suspension (IID on 2nd offense)

NEGLIGENT DRIVING 1ST DEGREE
Offense Penalty License Action
Neg 1 Jail: 0-90 days
Fine: $0-$1000
None (IID on 2nd Offense)
MINOR DUI—BAC ≥ .02
Offense Penalty License Action
Minor DUI Jail: 0-90 days
Fine: $0-$1000
None
DEFERRED PROSECUTION REQUIREMENT:

Based on alcohol, drugs or mental health

Deferred Prosecution Jail: 0 days
Fine: 0
Interlock: 1 year minimum
Probation costs: $25-$50/month
None
HOW IT WORKS:

2 year treatment program, case dismissed after 5 years.

REQUIREMENTS FOR GETTING LICENSE BACK

Court Suspensions and Revocations

License Suspended License Revoked
SR-22 insurance for 3 years
$150 re-issue fee
Alcohol evaluation & follow-up treatment
Minimum alcohol information school
SR-22 insurance for 3 years
$150 re-issue fee
Pass Driver's Ability Test
Alcohol Evaluation & follow-up treatment
Minimum alcohol information school

Civil Penalties

Civil penalties imposed by the state Department of Licensing include license suspension or revocation and a requirement for SR 22 high-risk insurance.

CIVIL DUI PENALTIES

Department of Licensing Administrative Sanctions

Offense First Offense License Action Second Offense License Action
BAC ≥ .08 90 day suspension 2 year license revocation
Refusal 1 year license revocation 2 year license revocation (or until 21,
whichever longer)
Minor BAC ≥ .02 90 day suspension 1 year license revocation

REQUIREMENTS FOR GETTING LICENSE BACK

Court Suspensions and Revocations

License Suspended License Revoked
SR-22 insurance for 3 years
$150 re-issue fee
SR-22 insurance for 3 years
$150 re-issue fee
Pass Driver's Ability Test

High Risk Insurance (SR-22)

If the Department of Licensing suspends your license, you will be required to carry SR-22 high-risk insurance for the three years after your license is reinstated. Clients are often worried about how much their rates will go up, and the answer depends on your driving record. It is important to shop around to find the best rate.

Pulled Over: Do's & Don'ts

No one plans to get pulled over for driving under the influence, so don't feel that you made a terrible mistake if you didn't follow the guidelines below. But for future reference, here are the rules of the road.

When you are pulled over follow Tromboldlaw's 7 Rules of the Road:

DO:
  • Do give the officer your papers—driver's license, registration, and proof of insurance.
  • Do blow into a breath-test machine BUT ONLY AT THE STATION.
  • Do give blood at the hospital if your DUI involves an accident or suspected drug use.
  • Do ask for a lawyer.
DON'T:
  • Don't say anything. As you have heard so often on TV, you have the right to remain silent. Be polite but decline comments.
  • Don't perform any Field Sobriety Tests. You are not legally required to take these voluntary tests and even a sober person can fail them.
  • Don't blow in the portable breath machine which officers keep with them in their squad cars. This machine is prone to serious errors. Simply tell the officer you are only willing to take the test on the larger machine at the station.

– The above is just a guideline to follow when pulled over for DUI in Tacoma and Pierce County.  Nothing is as good as speaking with a lawyer at the time on the telephone.  The police should allow you to speak with the on-call public defender if you ask for it.

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Politely Decline When Stopped for a Tacoma Pierce County DUI

Its lawful to drink and drive in Tacoma up to a certain point.  Its normal and lawful to attend a nice Tacoma  social gathering and drink alcohol and then drive home.  Many businesses have seasonal business events where alcohol is served.

Should you have too much fun with the mulled wine, spiced cider and other holiday goodies, it is important to know the Tromboldlaw's 7 Rules of the Road.

No one plans on getting pulled over for driving under the influence and it definitely comes as a surprise when you feel that you have been driving normally. There will be an emphasis on DUI patrol over every holiday season and they will be on the look out for the slightest indication that you may be driving under the influence.

If you find yourself being pulled over, again, here are the  7 Rules of the Road – guidelines to follow when stopped by the DUI police:

  • Do give the officer your papers – drivers license, registration, and proof of insurance.
  • Do submit to a breath or blood test, but only back at the station or the hospital.
  • Do ask for a lawyer.
  • Don't say anything. Be polite but decline comments.
  • Don't perform any field sobriety tests – including the handheld portable breath tester.Don't consent to any searches.
  • Do go to the hospital after your release for an independent and confidential blood or breath test of your blood alcohol level.
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Politely Decline the DUI Field Tests in Tacoma

This information is designed only to provide general legal information about the Tacoma criminal process.  This information is not legal advice addressing any particular Tacoma or Pierce County DUI client's specific legal concerns.  We need to speak with you to provide that.

Please call us.  We offer a free consultation. 206-382-9200

How Early Should I Arrive for my Tacoma and Pierce County DUI Hearings?

It is important to always be on time for your hearing.

If you have been cited or charged with DUI (Driving Under the Influence), it is important that you appear on time for all scheduled Tacoma Court hearings as your presence is usually mandatory. Generally, unless your attorney has requested that you arrive at a certain time, you should arrive in between 15-20 minutes early. This will allow you enough time to go through the metal detectors and find your courtroom. Make sure you are in the courtroom on time, as the Judge/bailiff/or clerk will usually take roll call to make sure everyone is in attendance, (if you are not in the courtroom when roll call is taken, it is probable the Judge will issue a Bench Warrant for your arrest).

Remember to factor in traffic into your travel time. If you are running late due to traffic, call your attorney immediately so your attorney can try and prevent a Bench Warrant by notifying the Judge of your tardiness.

If you have not retained private counsel regarding your Tacoma DUI charge and have missed a court appearance, there may be a warrant out for your arrest. It is important that you speak with an experienced and respected Tacoma DUI attorney to go over all your options in regards to your Pierce County DUI and your possible warrant.

You can all our office at (206) 382-9200 to schedule a free one-hour consultation to discuss your case with attorney Kevin Trombold.

The Saying Goes….“Early is on time, on time is late, and late is unacceptable!”

Pierce County District Court and Tacoma Municipal Court

930 Tacoma Ave S Room 239

Tacoma WA 98402

(253) 798-7487

DIRECTIONS TO PIERCE COUNTY DISTRICT COURTSOUTHBOUND I-5 FROM SEATTLETake the City Center exit marked #133. Follow City Center signs off the exit. Go to the third stoplight which is 11th Street and turn left. A public parking lot is located on 11th Street between Tacoma Ave and Yakima Ave.

DIRECTIONS TO PIERCE COUNTY DISTRICT COURT NORTHBOUND I-5 FROM OLYMPIA Take the City Center exit marked #133. Follow City Center signs off the exit. Go to the third stoplight which is 11th Street and turn left. A public parking lot is located on 11th Street between Tacoma Ave and Yakima Ave.

Dc1judges
Franklin L. Dacca, Karla E. Buttorff, Pat O'Malley, Claire Sussman James R. Heller, Margaret Vail Ross, Judy Rae Jasprica, Jack F. Nevin

The Pierce County Sheriff's Department DUI Unit

The Pierce County Sheriff's Department DUI Unit is charged with, as they say, "making Our Streets Safer."  Although some of my clients would argue that their actions do not promote such a goal, the DUI Unit charges approximately 3,000 DUI cases each year.

The Pierce County Sheriff's Office collaborates with the Washington State Patrol and other area law enforcement agencies. In fact, in 2010, the Washington State Traffic Safety Commission funded Target Zero aimed at eliminating deaths on Washington highways. Six dedicated DUI Washington State Patrol Troopers were added to Pierce County highways.

The Pierce County Sheriff's Office believes that this resulted in 21 percent increase in DUI referrals to the Prosecuting Attorney's Office in 2011.

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While my traffic case was minor, I didn't want to go it alone. My friend recommended Kevin to me. From the first phone conversation til it was resolved, Kevin and his team were pure perfection! This is the team you want on your side. Period. - K.M.