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Vancouver WA DUI Law Blog

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.

Should you consent to a blood alcohol test during a DUI stop?

Being stopped for a suspected DUI is anything but ideal for any Washington State driver. A driver might be anxious about the stop in general and is worried about the potential consequences the person might face whether or not it is a traffic offence of a drunk driving charge. Furthermore, some drivers do not fully understand their rights during a DUI stop and are unaware of the penalties they might face if they do not comply with an officers request.

When a suspected drunk driver is stopped, officers will often ask the driver to submit to a blood alcohol test. The driver is then faced with the decision whether or not to take these tests. Some drivers are not aware that there is the implied consent when it comes to blood alcohol content testing. This means that when a driver obtains a driver's license they have consented in advance to submitting to a blood, breath or urine test when an officer requests the person to do so.

Using the field sobriety tests to dismiss a DUI charge

When Washington State drivers are pulled over, they often fear receiving a ticket. Although a traffic violation could lead to consequences, facing a drunk driving charge is much more serious. Our firm understands that a suspected drunk driver wants to avoid a DUI charge or reduce the penalties if they are convicted of the offense. In order to establish a defense against the pending charges, a driver should be aware of their rights prior to and during the stop. The details of the traffic stop and arrest could help the suspected drunk driver with their defense against the DUI charge.

When a driver is stopped, it is important that they establish whether they were stopped for a legal reason or reasons. If a driver is a victim of an illegal traffic stop, this information could be used to eliminate the charges filed against them that stemmed from this situation. If the driving behavior observed by the officer does not conduct a lawful stop, the information gathered during the tests conducted at the traffic stop could become inadmissible.

Understanding driver's license suspension in Washington

When a Washington driver is arrested for drunk driving, they often consider how this could affect them, regardless of the results. While it is important to understand the potential penalties they could endure if they are convicted of a DUI, they should also address how their arrest could impact them. Specifically, they should understand how their driving record and ability to drive could be affected by their arrest for a suspected drunk driving.

Following the arrest for DUI in Washington State, the driver could face a driver's license suspension in two scenarios. First, the driver's license is suspended following the arrest regardless of a conviction, if the driver does not request a hearing. The purpose of the hearing is to contest the suspension, and the hearing must be requested within 20 days after their arrest. If the hearing is decided in their favor, then no suspension will commence, pending the results of the DUI case.

Washington State Police pull over DUI suspect in motorhome

When a driver is suspected of a traffic crime, officers will question the driver. In some cases, if authorities believe the driver is under the influence, they might require the driver to perform or submit to various tests. For example, the officer could ask the driver to take a blood-alcohol test, which typically comes in the form of a breath test or a blood test. Depending on the results of these tests, the driver could be arrested and charged with a DUI.

The Washington State Patrol recently pulled over a suspected drunk driver in Bellevue. At the time of the stop, authorities were traveling in a 36-foot motorhome that was equipped with emergency lights. According to reports, the lieutenant driving the motorhome witnessed the person driving erratically around 3 a.m.

Considering the consequences of a breath test refusal

When drivers in Washington State are pulled over by a police officer, they often think about what they will say to the officer when they approach their vehicle. If police suspect that the driver is under the influence of alcohol, the police will usually ask the driver to submit to field sobriety tests and a breath test or blood test. If a driver refuses to take a test, they should be aware of the potential consequences they might face because of that refusal.

Drivers in Washington State are not often aware that they have given implied consent for officers to take a blood or breath test if they are arrested for a DUI. The law states that once the driver is lawfully arrested by an officer that has probable cause, the suspected drunk driver has consented to a breath test or a chemical test of their blood in order to establish their blood alcohol content.