How to Fight Your DUI Charge in Seattle
by Lewis & Laws
DUI: An Arrest is Not a Conviction
If you're facing DUI charges in the state of Washington, keep in mind that an arrest is not a conviction. With the right DUI defense attorney by your side, you may be able to successfully challenge the allegations that have been made against you. Backed by more than 45 years of combined experience, at Baker, Lewis, Schwisow & Laws, PLLC we know how to effectively defend you from the penalties of a DUI conviction.
Under the direction of a Seattle DUI defense lawyer at our office, you can aggressively challenge the allegations that have been made against you. We can review the details of your case to determine which method of defense is best suited for your DUI. Possible defense strategies include:
"Objective" symptoms of intoxication are not conclusive – Whether they like to admit it or not, Seattle law enforcement officers often look at an individual's physical behaviors to get an idea of the person's level of intoxication. However, the conventional signs of drunkenness – slurred speech, unsteady gait, red / watery eyes, flushed face – are not always symptomatic of alcohol and / or drug intoxication. Sober individuals can experience one or more of these behaviors for a number of reasons other than drug or alcohol intake.
Field sobriety tests are not an accurate measure of impairment – Field sobriety tests (FSTs) are popular methods of testing an individual's level of intoxication; however, they are far from accurate in the results that they yield. Poor performance on any one of the three most common types of FSTs – the walk and turn test, the horizontal nystagmus test, and the one-leg stand test – is par for the course, as many individuals struggle with divided-attention tasks such as the one-leg stand and the walk and turn. Sober or intoxicated, the directions given to individuals during these tests can be difficult to complete successfully.
Mouth alcohol caused your BAC results to read falsely high – Mouth alcohol is the alcohol left over in a person's mouth after he or she has been drinking. Stationary DUI breath testing machines and Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) devices were designed to collect only the air in an individual's lungs, but residual mouth alcohol can interfere with these readings. Mouth alcohol is not always the result of drinking an alcoholic beverage, however; it can also result from the use of mouth spray / mouthwash, taking medicine that contains alcohol, having dental work done which then causes food to become trapped in the teeth, and suffering from acid reflux, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or heartburn.
The arresting officer(s) didn't follow proper protocol – A law enforcement officer's drunk driving investigation is strictly regulated by procedures that must be followed to a tee. The sequence in which the officer conducts his or her DUI investigative procedures could affect the results of your DUI test, which is why it is imperative that these measures be followed as provided to the officers who execute them. When they are not, your DUI charges could be thrown out.
You were "on the rise" – Drinking before you drive is not the same as driving under the influence of alcohol. If it can be proven that you were not impaired at the time that you were driving, then you cannot be convicted for DUI. It's no secret that alcohol takes time to absorb in a person's bloodstream, meaning that it might not be immediately felt. The time during which the alcohol is absorbing in a person's bloodstream is time in which that person is said to be "on the rise." Typically, absorption takes about 50 minutes, but in some cases it might take as long as 3 hours from the last drink. The time it takes for an officer to conduct field sobriety tests and other methods of alcohol detection can allow time for a person's level of intoxication to build. Being put through a lengthy investigation and then taken to the station before taking a blood or urine test can result in a higher reading of your intoxication level than what it was when you were first pulled over. You can only be convicted for incriminating intoxication levels that were displayed at the time you were pulled over.
Your BAC level did not accurately reflect your level of intoxication – Even when a law enforcement officer seemingly did everything "by the book" at the time of your DUI arrest, you shouldn't assume that your case is hopeless. Your BAC level could have been read inaccurately due to a number of different reasons, including: the temperature of your breath is typically outside normal temperatures, making it difficult for a breath test machine to accept a proper sample of your intoxication level; the breath test machine used to read your BAC was not properly calibrated; the breath test machine had a technical error at the time of your reading; or your blood sample was passed outside the regulated "chain of custody."
There are number of defenses available to persons who've been charged with DUI in the state of Washington, only some of which are mentioned above. If you've been arrested and you're facing the penalties of a potential DUI conviction, we urge you to contact a Seattle DUI lawyer at our office for defense. We make ourselves available to our clients 24/7, so don't hesitate to contact us at any time of the day or night. Baker, Lewis, Schwisow & Laws,PLLC can be reached at 206-209-0608.