Bellingham Criminal Defense

Whatcom County Physical Control Attorney

An arrest for Physical Control in Whatcom County is almost exactly like a DUI, except that the arrested was not actually driving the vehicle. Unfortunately, this also means that the individual faces the same harsh penalties as driving under the influence including, but not limited to, a lengthy license suspension, an ignition interlock device and Jail. Therefore, like driving under the influence, you only have 7 days to contest your license suspension and only hours before a court appearance. It is imperative that you consult with an attorney as soon as you are released from Jail and prior to court.


We are a dedicated Bellingham Criminal Defense Law Firm whose exclusive practice is defending those charged with a crime.  With more than 50

years of combined legal experience we understand what it takes to get the best results from each Physical Control case.  It is our sole objective to provide our clients with exceptional service and superior results.

A Whatcom County Physical Control is Serious!

The crime of Physical Control in Whatcom County is exactly the same as DUI except for one important fact, Physical Control requires no driving. Believe it or not, you may have pulled over to the side of the road after deciding that it was not safe for you to drive and still be guilty of a crime. Physical Control is having within two hours of being in physical control of the vehicle, an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher, a THC concentration of 5 (nanograms) or higher, being under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor or drug, or being under the combined influenced of or affected by intoxicating liquor or any drug. RCW 46.61.504. This offense also has penalties that are the same as DUI including license suspensions, ignition interlocks, and jail.  It may seem unfair that you can be punished as severely as those driving under the influence after you have parked your car and made a conscious decision not to drive, but that is the law and the reason for hiring the best criminal defense attorneys for your Whatcom County Physical control charge. 

Whatcom County DUI Handbook

Defenses to a Whatcom County Physical Control Charge

Like every criminal offense there are legal defenses to the crime of Physical Control in Whatcom County. Obviously your criminal defense lawyer in Bellingham can provide you with details regarding your specific case but one such defense is called "safely off the roadway." If you have moved your vehicle safely off the roadway prior to being pursued by law enforcement you cannot be convicted of Physical Control in Whatcom County.

The Physical Control Statute, RCW 46.61.504, provides an affirmative defense to the crime if the individual has consumed alcohol or marijuana after being in physical control of a motor vehicle.  Specifically, the law states:

  • (3)(a) It is an affirmative defense to a violation of subsection (1)(a) of this section which the defendant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant consumed a sufficient quantity of alcohol after the time of being in actual physical control of the vehicle and before the administration of an analysis of the person's breath or blood to cause the defendant's alcohol concentration to be 0.08 or more within two hours after being in such control. The court shall not admit evidence of this defense unless the defendant notifies the prosecution prior to the omnibus or pretrial hearing in the case of the defendant's intent to assert the affirmative defense.
  • (b) It is an affirmative defense to a violation of subsection (1)(b) of this section, which the defendant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant consumed a sufficient quantity of marijuana after the time of being in actual physical control of the vehicle and before the administration of an analysis of the person's blood to cause the defendant's THC concentration to be 5.00 or more within two hours after being in control of the vehicle. The court shall not admit evidence of this defense unless the defendant notifies the prosecution prior to the omnibus or pretrial hearing in the case of the defendant's intent to assert the affirmative defense.

Because the consequences of a physical control arrest in Whatcom County are so severe and the penalties are so harsh, it is very important to consult with a lawyer who understands the law and defenses to the crime.  Call our Whatcom County Physical Control Defense attorneys to discuss your case at  (360) 734-3847.

Fighting for Your Freedom and Your Future

At our law firm, the legal team has been recognized for their ability to provide unparalleled dedication and commitment to our clients throughout Whatcom County. And, we done this for many years. Our goal is to defend our clients' rights, future and freedom. Despite the charges you are currently dealing with, our legal team strongly urges you to call us today for an evaluation of your case. Without the help of a competent criminal defense attorney, you may find yourself facing the harsh ramifications of a crime you did not commit. Working with an inexperienced law firm, on the other hand, is also not the best idea. When making the decision to hire a criminal defense lawyer, you must remember that you are putting your future in another's hands. You are relying on this individual or legal team to provide you with a high level of legal representation. 


When you choose to work with one of the attorneys at the Law Firm of David N. Jolly, we always bring our most aggressive defense to the table. From violent felony offenses to misdemeanor charges, our firm has seen it all and we are prepared to defend your case. Call us today to speak to a Bellingham criminal defense attorney and discuss the circumstances of your arrest. Even if you have simply been accused of committing a serious offense and were subsequently placed under investigation, it is vital that you obtain legal representation early on. Fighting any type of criminal charges may prove to be difficult without the help of a legal professional, so if you hope to avoid the maximum penalties of a conviction, it is advised that you speak to an attorney immediately.

Contact Us Now!

Law Firm of David N. Jolly

218 West Champion Street, Bellingham, Washington 98225, United States

(360) 734-3847

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