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Vancouver WA DUI Law Blog

What are the potential consequences of breath test refusal?

In Washington state, drivers provide implied consent to chemical breath tests or blood tests to determine blood alcohol content level. By using the roadways, drivers provided consent to be tested if law enforcement believes that the driver is operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Because of the implied consent law in Washington, drivers may wonder what the consequences of refusing a breath test are.

It is important to understand that to require a breath test, the police officer must have probable cause to suspect that the driver was operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs and in control of a vehicle. In some circumstances, such as if the driver is unconscious, the driver is suspected of being under the influence of drugs or a party has been harmed in a drunk driving accident, a blood test will be taken.

Understanding driver's license suspension in Washington in detail

The loss of a driver's license can present a significant disruption in most people's lives. It can affect their ability to travel to and from work and complete other daily tasks. For individuals accused of a DUI, the arrest alone can cause their driver's license to be suspended. Within 20 days of the arrest, the accused individual can request a hearing to contest the license suspension. To avoid license suspension, the hearing examiner must find in the accused individual's favor.

If no hearing is requested, or the hearing examiner finds against the accused individual, the individual's license will be suspended for a period of time ranging from 90 days to 2 years. This is obviously a significant amount of time to be without a driver's license and the length of suspension depends on the seriousness of the incident and the existence of any prior DUI offenses.

Washington's Zero Tolerance law and juvenile criminal defense

In Washington state if you are under 21 years of age, you are subject to what is known as the Zero Tolerance Law in Washington. Under the Zero Tolerance Law, individuals under 21 accused of driving under the influence with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level of 0.02 to 0.07 can be subject to losing their license for 90 days. Additional DUI offenses with a BAC of 0.02 to 0.07 can result in the loss of a license until the individual turns 21.

For those over 21, the BAC level for a DUI is 0.08. Those under 21, and juveniles, can also be subject to other types of criminal accusations and charges related to alcohol. It is important to keep in mind that criminal charges and convictions can result in long-term consequences and serious penalties. Young people facing criminal charges are facing potential challenges to future education and employment opportunities.

Alleged drunk driver facing charges following Vancouver accident

Drunk driving charges are unquestionably serious, however, each accused individual is entitled to present a defense in response to criminal charges they are facing. A group of trick-or-treaters was recently hit in Vancouver. The vehicle that struck a woman, her 7-year old daughter, a 6-year old child and another 33-year old woman was allegedly driven by a 47-year old man. According to witnesses, the driver appeared under the influence of drugs or alcohol when his vehicle struck the group on the sidewalk. The man is expected to be charged with four counts of vehicular assault when he is ready to leave the hospital after being injured in the accident; authorities noted that the charges could change.

Criminal charges for drunk driving in Washington state are serious and can carry serious potential consequences. Depending on the circumstances, charges related to a drunk driving accident can range from DUI charges to vehicular assault charges. If the accused individual is convicted of whatever the charges they are facing, serious penalties can result. Criminal penalties can include fines and jail time and administrative penalties can include license suspension.

What are the consequences of breath test refusal in Washington?

Many people in Washington are aware that when pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, a breath test may be used to determine intoxication. This may cause some individuals to wonder what the consequences of refusing a breath test are. According to the laws in Washington, under the Revised Code of Washington, individuals operating a motor vehicle impliedly give consent to testing, under certain conditions, of the driver's breath to determine alcohol concentration, THC concentration or the presence of any drug on the driver's breath.

To require a breath test of the driver, the police officer must have reasonable grounds to believe that the individual is in control of a motor vehicle while also under the influence of alcohol or drugs. While drivers have the right to refuse a breath test, the police officer will advise the driver following a refusal that the individual's driver's license will be revoked for at least one year and that the driver's refusal to submit to a breath test may be used in any criminal proceedings against the driver related to the incident.

DUI charges follow Vancouver accident

Individuals who have not had prior contact with the criminal justice system may find themselves facing drunk driving charges at some point which is why knowledge of options available to respond to DUI charges can be critically important to an accused party.

According to authorities, DUI charges will follow a rollover accident in Vancouver. A woman is facing charges following the accident. Her vehicle allegedly went off the roadway and rolled over. She and her passenger were injured in the accident, however, both declined medical treatment. The vehicle was totaled. The woman will face DUI drug charges.

Washington man charged with DUI following police chase

The ability to drive is critical to functioning successfully for many people. A man police allege was driving with a revoked license allegedly also led them on a high-speed chase that began in one eastern Washington community and extended to another about an hour away. According to police, they received reports that the man was driving erratically and when they tried to pull him over, he led them on a high-speed chase through the eastern Washington city and onto the interstate. Spike strips were eventually used to stop the man during the chase which police reported reached speeds of 110 miles per hour. The 52-year old man, who has four previous DUI convictions according to authorities, was arrested and charged with felony DUI, felony eluding, reckless driving and driving with a revoked license.

License suspension or license revocation can place a significant burden on any individual faced with losing the right to drive. Those who are charged with a DUI face different penalties that are both criminal and administrative in nature. The loss of a driver's license occurs through the administrative process; just as a criminal defense strategy is important when responding to the potential criminal penalties an individual convicted of drunk driving may face, it is also important to have a strategy to confront potential administrative penalties such as a suspended license or license revocation.

What are the potential consequences of a DUI in Washington?

Because a DUI charge can sometimes happen to people who may not have had any previous contact with the criminal justice system, some individuals may wonder what the potential consequences and penalties of a DUI in Washington State include. In Washington, driving under the influence (DUI) refers to operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or both. Driving under the influence of drugs refers to both legal and illegal drugs.

In general, in individual will be arrested for DUI if the individual's blood alcohol content level (BAC) measures greater than 0.08 (or 0.04 for commercial vehicle drivers). If an individual is arrested for DUI, the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) will suspend that individual's license. To avoid license suspension following a DUI arrest, the individual must request a hearing to contest the suspension within 20 days of the individual's arrest. If a hearing is not requested, or is not decided in the individual's favor, the accused individual's license will be suspended for between 90 days and two years, depending on several factors.

Understanding field sobriety tests

Field sobriety tests refer to tests administered to determine impairment while driving and create probable cause for police arrest. Three tests are included within the category of field sobriety tests and each test must be administered in a standardized manner to be valid. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration developed the tests, and formal training is available through the NHTSA for police officers to learn to properly administer the tests.

The field sobriety tests include Walk-and-Turn (WAT), Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) and One-Leg Stand (OLS). The response of the individual is measured throughout the duration of a properly administered test. HGN refers to an involuntary eye jerking which naturally occurs as the eye gazes tone side. Normally, this occurs at high peripheral angles but when an individual is intoxicated may occur at lower angles as well. An impaired individual may also have difficulty smoothly tracking an object.

22-year old man faces DUI and other charges following accident

The right to defend against criminal charges is a potentially potent right all parties accused of a crime enjoy. A man was recently arrested in a neighboring town on DUI charges. The man was allegedly doing "donuts" in his vehicle near a local mall when he drove away and allegedly struck a car driven by a woman who was seriously injured. The man also allegedly barely missed a police car before striking the woman's car. The 54-year old woman was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries and was listed in critical condition. The 22-year alleged drunk driver was arrested for assault, attempt to elude by vehicle, DUI, and five counts of reckless endangerment. The accident remains under investigation by authorities.

DUI charges can lead to both criminal penalties and administrative penalties such as license suspension or revocation. Criminal penalties can include a jail sentence and possible fines. In addition, an ignition interlock device can also be required of a party facing a conviction for DUI. An otherwise average individual facing a DUI offense can also end up with a criminal record.