Spokane DUI Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged with DUI in Spokane, Spokane Valley or surrounding areas, contact us today for a free consultation. We assist Idaho residents as well.

Meet highly rated Spokane DUI Lawyer Dean Chuang

Dean Chuang is a native of Washington who serves part-time in the Washington Army National Guard. You may have seen him on CNN, Fox and Friends, Good Morning America, Associated Press, Wall Street Journal, NPR or on other various news networks.

He is a member of the Washington State and Spokane County Bar Associations, the National College for DUI Defense, the Washington Defender Association, and sits on the Board of Governors of the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

See Dean’s full profile page here.

What is a DUI charge?

As per the Washington State Department of Licensing, (DOL), in Washington State, Driving Under the Influence (DUI) refers to operating a vehicle while affected by alcohol and/or drugs. This applies to both legal and illegal drugs, including prescription medication and over-the-counter drugs.  Currently, Spokane aggressively investigates and prosecutes DUIs.  Many locations of past DUI stops can be found  at the CCD LAW DUI HEAT MAP.

Drivers may be charged with DUI when the results of a breath or blood test show the amount of alcohol in the driver’s blood to be:

  • .08 or higher for adults (21 and over).
  • .04 or higher for commercial vehicle drivers (CDL disqualifications).
  • .02 or higher for minors (under 21).

Drivers may also be charged with DUI if they are found to be driving a vehicle under the influence or affected by alcohol, any drug, or a combination of alcohol and drugs, regardless of the concentration of alcohol in their breath or blood.

DUI charges may be misdemeanor or felony offenses depending on previous charges.

Do I need a DUI defense lawyer?

Getting arrested on a DUI charge is a serious matter in Washington State. DUI charges could affect you the rest of your life. The charges involve more than being found guilty or not guilty.

If convicted, you may face severe penalties, such as mandatory jail sentences and fines, required alcohol classes, driver’s license suspension, higher insurance rates and ignition interlock requirements.

If you are facing a DUI conviction, it is imperative to contact an attorney who can protect your rights and your best interests. Since 1981, our team of professionals has been representing individuals in Spokane, Spokane Valley, and throughout the surrounding communities charged with misdemeanor and felony DUI charges.

What does a DUI Lawyer do?

Whether you are up against your first or fourth DUI, our Spokane DUI attorney Dean Chuang can help you. We recognize the anxiety you may be feeling, and we want you to know that we will stand behind you.

An effective trial lawyer, Dean Chuang is on top of the latest Washington and Idaho DUI laws, allowing him to strategically apply his knowledge to your case.

When you consult with our firm, you can expect to be treated with respect and be given the personalized attention you deserve. We are prepared to help you build a strong defense, and we will do so by:

  • Challenging the legality of the police stop and arrest
  • Identifying if your rights were violated at the time of your stop
  • Challenging the administration of breath and blood tests, as well as the proper maintenance of the machines
  • Reviewing video surveillance of the stop
  • Reviewing the police report and uncovering any inconsistencies between the footage and the written report
  • Interviewing witnesses

Contact a Spokane DUI Defense Lawyer now

Washington DUI law becomes more complicated every year. New bills are always pending in the legislature. That’s why selecting a highly experienced and respected DUI lawyer to represent you is of vital importance. A bad choice can impact your freedom, job, educational opportunities, ability to travel, friends and family.

Contact the law office of Crary, Chuang & Domanico, P.S., today to discuss how our experienced DUI lawyer can help you with your misdemeanor and felony drunk driving charge at 509-926-4900, or e-mail us, to schedule a free and confidential consultation.

Spokane DUI FAQ

We are asked questions daily about driving under the influence. Here are some of the top questions we receive:

You do have the right to refuse to take the official breath test, but the consequences can be severe, and you can and probably will, still be prosecuted for a DUI. In Washington, there are three official sanctions:

  • Your driver’s license can be suspended for a minimum of one year, or substantially longer if you have prior DUIs.
  • The fact of refusal can be introduced into evidence as “consciousness of guilt.” In other words, the prosecutor will claim that you refused because you knew you would flunk the test.
  • A test refusal will increase the mandatory minimum sentence that the judge must impose if you are found guilty.

If you refuse, the test the Department of Licensing (DOL) will revoke your license for at least one year. Prior DUIs can increase the revocation to two years. An ignition interlock license is allowed and you will be required to file proof of financial responsibility (high risk insurance) for three years after reinstatement.

You are entitled to a hearing before DOL revokes your license, but only if you request it by way of a hearing request form provided by the officer within 20 days of the date of arrest, and pay $200, which can be waived if you are indigent.

Refusals increase the mandatory minimum sentence that must be imposed in the event of a conviction. In fact, the courts treat a test refusal the same as if the test result was over a .15 alcohol concentration! The fine will increase, the jail time will increase, the additional license suspension resulting from a conviction will increase, and you will be required to install an ignition interlock device in your car.

The DOL’s license revocation will stand if you are unsuccessful in the administrative hearing regardless of the outcome of the criminal prosecution. Even if you are found not guilty, you will still lose your license for refusing the test!

An officer must have  a reasonable suspicion to believe you have violated some law in order to make a traffic stop. Random stops and  “Sobriety Checkpoints” are not legal in Washington.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the following is a list of symptoms, and the percentage chance that a driver at night is legally drunk:

  1. Turning with a wide radius – 65%
  2. Straddling center or lane marker – 65%
  3. Appearing to be drunk (e.g. slouching in the seat, gesturing erratically or obscenely, eye fixation, tightly gripping the steering wheel, face close to the windshield, drinking in the vehicle, head protruding from the vehicle) – 60%
  4. Weaving – 60%
  5. Driving on other than designated roadway – 55%
  6. Swerving – 50%
  7. Slow speed (More than 10MPH below speed limit) – 50%
  8. Stopping (without cause) in traffic lane – 50%
  9. Following too closely – 50%
  10. Drifting – 50%
  11. Tires on center or lane marker – 45%
  12. Braking erratically – 45%
  13. Driving into opposing or crossing traffic – 45%
  14. Signaling inconsistent with driving actions – 40%
  15. Slow response to traffic signals – 40%
  16. Stopping inappropriately (other than in traffic lane) – 35%
  17. Turning abruptly or illegally – 35%
  18. Accelerating or decelerating rapidly – 30%
  19. Headlights off – 30%

However, the officer does not have to observe any bad driving to pull you over. A burned out license plate light or headlight is sufficient legal justification to stop your car.

As he/she is pulling you over, the officer will continue to observe your driving for anything unusual:  responding slowly , swerving abruptly, stopping suddenly or striking the curb when pulling over.

When you are pulled over, you should immediately retrieve your driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance before the officer approaches your window and asks for these documents. Roll your window down. If the officer witnesses you fumbling for your paperwork, or having difficulty with the window (due to nervousness or unfamiliarity with the car) he will undoubtedly attribute these actions to intoxication rather than stress.  Having everything ready! Also, do not take off your seat belt.

Understand that the officer’s goal in every traffic stop is to gather evidence. He will be using all of his senses to collect evidence against you and will do very little to gather or record evidence that will help you.

1) The officer is looking for:

  • Red, watery, glassy and/or bloodshot and eyes
  • Flushed face
  • Soiled clothing
  • Fumbling fingers
  • Alcohol containers
  • Drugs, drug paraphernalia or other contraband
  • Bruises, bumps or scratches

2) The officer is listening for:

  • Slurred or thick-tongued speech
  • Inconsistent and/or slow responses
  • Admissions of alcohol consumption or intoxication
  • Abusive language
  • Unusual statements

3) The officer is sniffing for:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Marijuana
  • “Cover up” odors such a breath sprays, mints, chewing gum or smoke
  • Unusual odors

Remember, always be courteous towards the officer. Never argue or debate with him. You will inevitably lose. Most importantly, never lie about anything. In other words, if you have been drinking, don’t deny it, but don’t admit it either. Politely decline to answer. Lying can damage your credibility later in court. If the truth hurts, it is far better to politely decline to answer questions and ask to speak to a lawyer.

If the officer suspects you are impaired, you will be asked to get out of your car. At this point the officer will be paying close attention to your coordination during the exit, which will, in the officer’s mind provide evidence of your intoxication. Specifically, the officer will be observing:

  • If you cannot follow instructions
  • If you cannot open the door easily
  • If you leave the ignition on
  • If you leave the car in gear
  • If you “stumble” getting out of the car
  • If you are swaying or unstable on your feet
  • If you use the door for support while exiting
  • If you lean against the vehicle
  • If you keep your hands on the vehicle for balance

After you have exited your car, the officer will instruct you to perform a series of  voluntary “field sobriety tests” to see if “you are safe to drive.” You should decline to take these tests. Without a videotape, the only thing that determines if you pass is the officer’s opinion. The physical tests may include:

  • Reciting the alphabet
  • Walking a straight line in a heel-to-toe fashion
  • Standing on one foot for approximately 30 seconds
  • Finger counting
  • Closing your eyes, leaning your head back and touching your finger to your nose
  • Examining your eyes by having you follow a pen or finger

In addition to these “tests,” most officers use a  portable breath test (PBT). This type of breath  device cannot be used in your trial, so will not fulfill your obligation to take an “official”  breath test at the  station .  You should decline to take the PBT and ask to take the “official “test at the station.

The Department of Licensing (DOL) will suspend your license  AUTOMATICALLY if you are an adult arrested for DUI (or physical control) and have a breath or blood test result of .08 or higher; or if you are under age 21 and your test result is .02 or higher. Your license will be revoked for at least one year if you refuse testing.To  AVOID this you must request a hearing from DOL within 20 days of the date you were arrested. We offer free help to show you how to handle this request.  When you were released from custody, the officer should have given you a hearing request form.Unless you send in the hearing request form (and pay a $200 fee) within 20 days of your arrest, you will lose your license and have no right to appeal! (In blood test cases, time period  starts when DOL mails you notice of your blood test result.

Your hearing request  must be postmarked no later than the 20th day.  (Do not forget to include  a check or money order for the $200 hearing fee). Once you request a hearing, DOL must  hold the hearing  within 60 days of the date of arrest.

The Department’s  case is totally independent of any criminal prosecution.

You should always carry our “Assertion of Rights Card” and be familiar with it’s content

You are not required to answer  any questions. A polite “I would like to speak with a lawyer before I answer questions”  Or “My lawyer always said ‘be polite and Keep my mouth shut'” are  good replies.

The most important thing is never lie about anything! It will only damage your credibility  in court.  It is always your right to speak to a lawyer. Do not make any further statements until you have had the opportunity to do so.

NO!!! Unlike blood and breath testing, submitting to “field sobriety tests” is strictly voluntary,  The police officers will tell you so. In many respects, these tests are designed for failure  and unless you are being videotaped the ONLY evidence that you passed or failed is the officer’s opinion. This is often a no-win proposition.

Many of the  several tests the officer might ask you to take, such as the alphabet test, the finger-to-nose test, the finger-count test, and the standing balance (usually administered along with the finger-to-nose test) are scientifically proven to not correlate to legal intoxication.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the only tests that have been shown to have some relevance to establishing legal intoxication are the One Leg Stand, the Heel-to Toe and the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN).

HGN – In this test the officer has you follow a penlight (or finger or pencil) and attempts to estimate the angle at which the eye begins to jerk (“nystagmus” is medical jargon for a distinctive eye oscillation). If this occurs before 45 degrees, it theoretically indicates a blood alcohol concentration over .05%. The smoothness of the eye’s tracking is also a factor, as is the type of jerking when the eye is as far to the side as it can go.

This test has been shown to be subject to a number of different problems, not the least of which is the non-medically trained officer’s ability to recognize nystagmus and estimate the angle of onset, and make what amounts to a medical diagnosis that is best left to neurologists and ophthalmologists. Even under laboratory conditions, this test has only been established of be accurate in predicting a blood alcohol content above .10% 77% of the time. This test won’t show up EVEN if there is a video, so the only evidence on if you passed or not is the officer’s recollection.

One Leg Stand – In this test you will be asked to stand on one foot for approximately 30 seconds, while the officer looks for four things:

  1. Do you sway while balancing?
  2. Do you use your arms to balance?
  3. Do you hop?
  4. Do you put your foot down?

According to NHTSA if you are unable to satisfactorily perform this test by doing two or more of the above, there is a 65% probability that you have a blood alcohol concentration of .10% or more.

Heel-to-Toe – In this test the officer is required to find a visible line. You will be asked to stand on this line in a heel-to-toe position while receiving instructions. The officer will have you walk on this line for nine steps, heel to toe, turn, and walk nine steps back. The officer will be looking for eight things:

  1. Can you balance during the instruction phase?
  2. Do you start the test too soon?
  3. Do you stop while walking?
  4. Do you touch heel-to-toe each step?
  5. Do you step off of the line?
  6. Do you use your arms for balance?
  7. Do you lose your balance on the turn, or do you turn incorrectly?
  8. Do you take the wrong number of steps?

These tests are simply additional evidence to use against you in court. While an arrest may be avoided if the tests are taken and successfully completed, the tests are so subjective (what appears to be “swaying” to one officer may not be to another) that the best action may well be to politely decline until you have had the opportunity to talk to a lawyer.

Obviously, refusing the tests will definitely heighten the officer’s suspicion and may result in an immediate arrest.  Regardless, if you have been drinking, submitting to “field sobriety tests” is a momentous decision that will likely affect your case adversely.

NO!!! The results of the PBT are not admissible in trial – driver is rarely informed of that. Refuse to submit to the test . The fact of a refusal of a PBT is not admissible at trial, and you will not lose your license or suffer any other sanctions for refusing a PBT.  You should REFUSE the PBT and normally take the test at the station.

Accordingly, there is a critical difference between the PBT and the “official” breath test that will be requested after arrest at the police station, known as the BAC Machine. Do not confuse the two tests! You do not have to submit to the PBT on the street. But if you refuse to take the test on the BAC MACHINE at the police station, you will face at least a one-year license revocation.

Some people think that because they took a breath test on the street that they don’t need to take another one at the police station because the difference is not adequately explained to them. Don’t make the same mistake! If arrested for DUI, ask to speak to a lawyer immediately.

Almost everyone is familiar with the “Miranda rights” from TV.  But when those rights must be read depends upon the facts and circumstances of each case. Generally speaking, the officer must read you your rights when you are arrested. If the officer fails to do so, the prosecution cannot use any statements you make in response to questions

In Washington, the rule has been expanded from the original Miranda rule, which simply provided that a suspect has the right to remain silent and not answer questions until talking with a lawyer. As a result of a court rule adopted by the Washington State Supreme Court, an arrested person has the right to talk to an attorney for any purpose, not just to find out whether or not to answer questions. This is particularly important in DUI cases, because it means an arrested person can talk to an attorney to find out whether or not to take a breath test, as well as other things he or she should or should not do while in custody, or after release.

Failure to advise a person of the Miranda rights typically does not result in dismissal of the case. The remedy is suppression or exclusion of evidence obtained after the violation of the suspect’s rights

It is a fact of life that most people do waive their rights and agree to talk to the officer. That is usually based on a mistaken belief that being cooperative will help their case.  It is imperative that you ask for a lawyer’s help at this stage. Ask the officer, “Gee, I guess I need to talk to a lawyer to help me with this. Can you put me in touch with one now?”

Our EMERGENCY ON CALL NUMBER is always on our service and can be obtained by calling 509-926-4900 DAY or NIGHT.

Since you have the absolute right to decline police questioning, your silence cannot be used against you in court.  nor can the fact that you ask to speak to a lawyer.

Additional information about refusals and breath test cases:
  • First refusal within 7 years with no other previous administrative suspensions: 1 year revocation
  • Refusal or any 2nd and subsequent within 7 years: 2 year revocation 

Breath Test Cases:

  • First administrative suspension in 7 years: 90 day suspension
  • Second administrative action within 7 years: 2 year revocation
  • First administrative suspension within 7 years: 90 day suspension
  • Second administrative action within 7 years: 1 year suspension, or until age 21, whichever is longer

A recent review

We have a long history of good reviews, many of which may be seen on our Google review page. Here is one of our more recent reviews:


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