WHAT ARE SOME WASHINGTON STATE DUI DEFENSES?
It is imperative your Seattle DUI Lawyer understands specific strategies, case law, and defenses associated with representing you when charged with a Seattle DUI.
We have employed numerous challenges in all types of DUI cases over the years with great success. Here are some examples of some successful defenses our Seattle DUI Lawyers have implemented when challenging a client's DUI arrest:
OFFICER, CAN YOU PROVE MY CLIENT WAS THE DRIVER?
Corpus deliciti (Latin for "body of the crime" what this challenge entails is establishing whether the prosecution can prove you were the driver - in 2013, I had a client's DUI dismissed for this very reason and my client was alleged to have blown a .219 on the BAC Datamaster. In 2014, I had another client's charges for DUI, Hit and Run and Reckless Driving dismissed because the City was unable to establish my client was the actual driver, and my client's breath test was alleged to have been .217. This defense is key to many cases and must be articulated by an experienced Seattle DUI Lawyer to be effective.)
OFFICER, WHY DID YOU STOP MY CLIENT?
Lack of Reasonable Suspicion to Stop (this is the first reason an officer would contact you in a DUI investigation, that is always an issue in a DUI arrest. It is also the lowest burden of proof and is difficult to beat, but there are many occasions wherein there can be a challenge to whether or not the officer had a legitimate reason for contacting/stopping you. Here are just some examples of what courts have held to be reasonable suspicion for an officer to contact you - speeding, having a headlight or taillight out, forgetting to turn on headlights at night, changing lanes without a turn signal, swerving, weaving, driving too slow, expired tabs, talking on a cellphone, driving too fast for conditions. I have challenged a case for lack of reasonable suspicion so many times I can't keep count, on one occasion in particular I had a client's case dismissed who failed to signal exiting a grocery store, then performed very poorly on field sobriety tests and blew a .13. The prosecutor agreed the officer had no reason to contact my client because it was not illegal for him to exit a grocery store without signalling. Another example of a case I had dismissed was when the officer simply stopped my client for conducting a u-turn on a city street - there was no posted "no u-turn" signs and my client did not impede traffic; therefore, there was no basis for the officer to have stopped her. Your DUI Attorney must address every issue in your case because just one mistake from an officer could be greatly beneficial to your case.)
OFFICER, WHY DIDN'T YOU LET MY CLIENT JUST LEAVE?
Unlawful Detention (did the officer have a legitimate reason to detain you instead of just citing you for an offense and letting you leave - an example is when the person arrested was detained by an initial officer for having done nothing beyond the initial traffic violation and the officer asks for a DUI officer to come to the scene - many courts have held it is unlawful for the officer to hold you for an unreasonable amount of time while awaiting another officer to come evaluate whether you are DUI. This is especially true if the stopping officer did not observe indicia of intoxication but holds you for an assessment by a more experienced officer)
OFFICER, WHAT LED YOU TO BELIEVE MY CLIENT WAS DRUNK?
Probable cause to arrest (Did the officer have cause to make an arrest?) Here it would be necessary to evaluate whether you did Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs), how was your speech, was it allegedly slurred, what about your eyes, were they bloodshot and watery or droopy, what about your balance, did you have a flushed face, did you admit to drinking or smoking marijuana, etc. - this is a very common challenge and applicable in most DUI cases - I've had a number of cases dismissed because the officer was unable to establish a reason for making an arrest - I had a case wherein my client wrecked into the side of a Jack n the Box restaurant and was held at the scene by the officer while she was on the medic's stretcher, she later had a blood draw of .17 at the hospital - the judge dismissed for lack of probable cause to arrest because the officer was unable to articulate a reason for arresting her beside just the odor of alcohol and accident which he didn't witness)
OFFICER, WERE YOU TRAINED IN BREATH TESTING?
Admissibility of the breath test - in Washington State, law enforcement utilizes the BAC Datamaster and BAC Datamaster CDM machines to test your breath - I often challenge the admissibility of the breath tests or blood tests results on procedural and administration grounds - that is, did the officer follow the protocols such as following a 15 minute observation period, did the officer check your mouth prior to the test, did the officer change mouthpieces for each test, did you put anything in your mouth, such as your fingers, drink any water, vomit, etc. did you have any foreign substance in your mouth, such as a tongue ring, tobacco, gum, etc., was there an incomplete or invalid sample, was there an ambient fail, did the machine have its Quality Assurance Procedure (QAP) conducted within the last year, was thesimulator solution changed in the last 60 days, etc. Was there a denial of your right to counsel if requested, meaning did you ask to speak with an attorney before the breath testing but the officer was unable to put you in touch with someone to discuss the ramifications of taking a breath test or refusing or did the officer outright deny you acces. Other procedural issues can be raised to challenge the admissibility of the breath tests (see my CDL argument below). There are numerous other defenses a seasoned DUI attorney must look for when evaluating whether a breath test was performed properly and I do this on each and every case.
OFFICER, DID YOU APPLY FOR A WARRANT TO DRAW MY CLIENT'S BLOOD?
Admissibility of the blood draw - if your case involved a blood draw, I always order the testing procedures and protocols from the Washington State Toxicology Lab so that I may evaluate the admissibility. Most blood draws now require a warrant to be admissible, so I want to evaluate the validity of the warrant, whether were youprovided with a copy of the warrant, whether you were given a receipt of the property taken (i.e., your blood), I also want to determine if the toxicologist followed the protocols and procedures provided for by the State Toxicologist when testing your blood, was the person who drew your blood authorized to do so under the Washington Administrative Code and Revised Code of Washington, did they take two vials, did the vials have an anticoagulant and enzyme poison in them, was there a proper chain of custody with respect to your DUI blood draw, etc. Additionally, did you request a separate blood draw by any qualified person of your own choosing and were denied?
OFFICER, DID YOU INFORM MY CLIENT OF THEIR RIGHT TO REFUSE THE BREATH TEST?
Implied Consent Warnings for Breath or Blood - did the officer read you these required warnings prior to your test (it is required you be read these warnings prior to your breath or blood draw when arrested for an alcohol or Marijuana DUI - this is especially important if you are a CDL holder, many times officers forget the additional CDL warnings on the Implied Consent Warnings sheet must be read to a CDL holder even though they were operating their personal vehicle - that is, "for those not driving a commercial motor vehicle at the time of arrest: if your driver's license is suspended or revoked, your commercial driver's license, if any, will be disqualified.) Now the truth is you are actually facing a one year revocation of your CDL on a first offense, not just 90 days as is implied on the form, and a lifetime revocation for any subsequent offense. Also, if you had consumed both alcohol and marijuana, did the officer read you the THC warnings now provided in the ICWs, or if you were under 21, did the officer read you those applicable warnings?
Other challenges - there are numerous other challenges a Seattle DUI Lawyer can make in defense of your case.
Each case must be evaluated independently to determine which applies, so call the Webb Law Firm, your Seattle DUI Attorneys, today for a free consultation. (425) 522-4200
Each case is different and sometimes a jury trial may be the only avenue to pursue if none of the challenges above apply to your case. If that is the case, we are prepared to take your case to a jury.