Biff Crane | ATTORNEY AT LAW | 206.937.5930
DUI Defense

Biff Crane

4050 SW Admiral Way

 Suite A

Seattle, WA 98116

tel: 206.937.5930

fax: 206.937.5911

Washington DUI Defense

At the Law Office of Biff Crane, we understand a DUI arrest can be a disturbing event and the effects of a drunk driving conviction can be devastating. A DUI conviction can mean jail time, loss of driving privileges, increased auto insurance rates, installation of an ignition interlock device, attendance at an alcohol treatment program, a conviction on your criminal record, points on your Department of License driving record, denial of admissions into foreign countries, and employment consequences. A DUI violation handled improperly can disrupt an otherwise law-abiding life.  

In Washington, there are three different means of committing the crime of DUI:

1. Having an alcohol concentration of .08 or higher on your blood/ breath within two hours of driving.
  • The arresting officer and the breath test technician must comply with strict guidelines before the test is deemed accurate and admissible.
  • Breath testing is a scientific procedure and is subject to error.

2. Being under the influence of or affected by liquor or drugs. 
  • A person can be charged with DUI, even without a breath test, if your ability to drive is lessened to an appreciable degree. 
  • The evidence will consist primarily of a person’s performance on the field sobriety tests and the officer’s observations.
3. Being under the combined influence of drugs and/ or liquor.
  • Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) use a 12 step procedure based on observable signs and symptoms to determine drug impairment.
  • DRE evidenced is not admissible unless the strict 12 step protocol is accurately performed and the DRE is qualified as an expert.

DUI cases are complex but can be successfully challenged in court. The laws and techniques in defending DUI's are constantly changing. What worked yesterday may not be the best approach today. It is important to find a lawyer who stays on top of current laws, trends, and new occurrences in court each week. Legal motions challenging the State’s evidence can make the difference in determining the outcome of your case. A successful DUI defense requires a thorough investigation of the facts and circumstances surrounding your case. Legal challenges include: 

  • Whether the officer had probable cause to stop, detain, and arrest for DUI.
  • Did the officer get consent to perform "voluntary" field tests or were you coerced?
  • Were the field tests conducted according to the standardized training manual?  
  • Did the officer follow the protocols in the Washington Administrative Code (WAC) for breath testing?
  • Was the breath test machine properly maintained, checked, and calibrated before you provided a sample?
  • Successful legal challenges can mitigate severe DUI penalties.      


Aside from a possible department of licensing administrative hearing that reviews the circumstances surrounding your arrest to see if your license should be administratively suspended (as opposed to suspended by the Court), you must generally go to court where a jury or judge will decide your fate. In any criminal case, including DUI’s, you have the right to a jury trial, but once convicted, it is up to the judge to determine your punishment. In Washington, there are very strict mandatory minimum punishments which deny the judge discretion as to the punishment. Generally, for each prior DUI conviction within the previous 7 years, the punishment will become progressively more severe if you are convicted of DUI. The penalty will also depend on other factors including: 

  • your level of intoxication
  • your driving record including prior DUI history
  • which Judge you are sentenced by
  • whether there was a passenger in the vehicle
  • whether the Judge feels you accepted responsibility for your actions   

Generally, a first time offender will be sentenced to 24-48 hours of confinement if he / she is convicted of a DUI. However, Washington State law offers an alternative to prosecution in DUI cases. If you have an alcohol and/or mental health problem, you can complete a two year intensive outpatient treatment program in lieu of criminal prosecution. If you successfully complete the treatment program and abide by all other conditions imposed by the court, the criminal case will be dismissed.  

Click to see a DUI sentencing grid that explains the consequences of a conviction.


Driver license suspensions are imposed by the Department of Licensing (DOL) and are separate from the criminal court case. Your Washington driver license may be suspended for:

  • BAC .08% or greater (lower for commercial drivers and minors under 21 years of age)
  • failing a breath or blood test 
  • refusing a breath test.  

Your license may be suspended from 90 days up to four years, based on prior offenses and your blood alcohol level. The only opportunity to contest these DOL administrative penalties is to make a timely request for a hearing. Your license will not be immediately suspended, but you must request an administrative hearing with the Department of Licensing within 20 days of your arrest. If you fail to request a hearing, DOL will automatically suspend your license. Click the link to print the form to request a DOL hearing. Call 206.937.5930 to have The Law Office of Biff Crane will represent you at this hearing.

You may be eligible to receive an Occupational / Restricted Driver License (ORL) if the DOL suspends your license. You can apply for a restricted license after your initial 30 day license suspension. ORLs can be used for work, school, court ordered community service, substance abuse treatment meetings, continuing your own healthcare or caring for one who is dependent on you.

New this year is a law that gives you the opportunity to apply for an Ignition Interlock Driver License. (IIL) There are no restrictions on where or when you may drive, as long as you have an interlock device installed on the car you drive.

Consultation with an experienced defense lawyer is a crucial first step. Biff has over 25 years experience successfully managing DUI cases as a defense attorney. He knows how the criminal justice system works and the best defenses for your case. He can successfully navigate the criminal courts and the Department of Licensing systems on your behalf. Biff will take the time and effort to explain “the court system” and to discuss all of the options that are available to you during this emotional time.

Revised Code of Washington

46.61.502 Driving under the influence
46.61.503 Driver under twenty-one consuming alcohol
46.61.504 Physical control of vehicle under the influence
46.61.5054 Alcohol violators-Additional fee-Distribution
46.61.5055 Alcohol violators-Penalty schedule
46.61.5056 Alcohol violators-Information school-Eval.& treatment
46.61.50571 Alcohol violators-Mandatory appearances
46.61.5058 Alcohol violators -- Vehicle seizure and forfeiture
46.61.506 Persons under influence of intoxicating liquor or drug-Evidence-Tests-Information concerning tests
46.61.517 Refusal of test-Admissibility as evidence
46.61.519 Alcoholic beverages-Drinking or open container in vehicle on highway-Exceptions
46.61.5195 Disguising alcoholic beverage container
46.61.520 Vehicular homicide-Penalty
46.61.522 Vehicular assault-Penalty
46.61.524 Vehicular homicide, assault -- Evaluation, treatment of drug or alcohol problem
46.61.5249 Negligent driving-First degree
46.61.525 Negligent driving-Second degree


Disclaimer: this information is not intended as legal advice and is provided for illustrative purposes only. Call an experienced DUI attorney at 206.937.5930 before making assumptions about your case.

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