Washington State Tough Laws and Enforcement
Tough DUI Laws Require Tough Attorneys
Washington State has some of the toughest DUI laws in our nation. These laws carry increasingly severe penalties for those who drink and drive. Washington State lowered the BAC limit from .10 to 0.08 in January of 1999. Drivers with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) at .08 or above can now be convicted for driving under the influence of alcohol. In addition, because public sentiment is so very negative toward drunk drivers, prosecutors will often pursue a DUI conviction even when the driver’s test result is well under .08! This is possible because they can obtain a conviction if they can show the person drove while “affected by” alcohol and/or any drug, including prescription or over-the-counter medications.
Gone are the days when you could talk your way out of a DUI arrest and be let go because you were only a few blocks from home. You now can and will be arrested for DUI in your own driveway. Washington is serious about drinking any amount of alcohol and driving. Even though it is not defined as a crime in our laws, you can be arrested and prosecuted if you consume even a small amount of alcohol, then drive.
Law enforcement officers in certain agencies in Washington have the goal of pulling over three cars per hour. The purpose? The primary purpose is to find drivers who have been drinking. They will stop a vehicle for the slightest driving irregularity or equipment violation. Once they smell the odor of alcohol, an arrest is imminent, whether or not the driver performs the voluntary field sobriety tests. The officer has the power to search the vehicle upon arrest and to impound it, causing the driver to pay towing and impound fees to get their car back.
DUI laws and the court’s decisions regarding them are always changing. You need a lawyer who creatively challenges the evidence against you, who understands the science and technology of breath and blood testing, and who has the experience to notice mistakes made by the police and prosecutors in DUI prosecutions. Anna Goykhman tackles these issues for every client.