If you’re charged of driving under the influence in Washington state, expect to face penalties. First-time offenders may be looking at jail time from a day to an entire year, fines that range from $865.50 to $5,000, and a license suspension for 90 days. With that hanging over the head of individuals accused of DUI, it’s no surprise that many hire a skilled Kent DUI attorney to defend them in court.
There are several defense strategies a lawyer can use to get you out of a conviction. First, they can contest the arrest. For instance, Washington state law has it that an officer can only stop a vehicle for traffic violations or suspicious behavior like wobbly driving. However, if the arresting officer made a mistake in the procedure like having no legal justification for the arrest, your lawyer can have the case thrown out.
Second, your lawyer can challenge the idea that you were under the influence when you were arrested. An officer often applies field sobriety tests like standing on one foot or walking in a straight line during an arrest—and if you fail, you’ll most likely end up being arrested for DUI. Giving reasonable explanations (e.g. the instructions were confusing, you have a physical impairment) for your poor performance during the field sobriety test may help counter the arresting officer’s conclusion.
Third, sometimes arresting officers use breath, blood, urine, and saliva tests to prove you were operating a moving vehicle while intoxicated. However, lawyers can render such evidence invalid on a technicality. As an example, theNewspaper.com recently posted an article on the case of Jose Figeroa Martines, who was arrested by Washington state police for DUI, which shows how a blood test needs a warrant before being done:
Martines appealed on the grounds that there was no reasonable suspicion to test his blood for the presence of drugs. The three-judge appellate panel went a step further and said it should not have been tested for anything at all without a warrant. […] The three-judge panel rejected the idea that blood is just an ordinary item.
“Blood is not like a voice or a face or handwriting or fingerprints or shoes,” Judge Mary Kay Becker wrote for the panel. “The personal information contained in blood is hidden and highly sensitive. […]”
Because blood is different, the court held, a warrant is required before it can be “searched” just as a warrant is needed for it to be “seized.”
An established DUI defense lawyer in Kent from firms like the Law Offices of Kim E. Hunter would be able to use this court decision to throw out any blood test as evidence if the warrant doesn’t include it.
(Source: Washington Court: DUI Blood Sample Test Requires Warrant, theNewspaper.com, July 28, 2014)