Truth, Lies, & Breathalyzers - Understanding DUI

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Apr 12

Lewis & Laws

Truth, Lies, & Breathalyzers - Understanding DUI

by Lewis & Laws

Truth, Lies, & Breathalyzers - Understanding DUI

If you are pulled over for driving under the influence of alcohol, there may be many questions running through your mind. One of the most common questions is “Do I have to take a breathalyzer test?”. The short answer is no. But before you refuse, there are some very important things you must consider about breathalyzers and DUI in Washington.

Every state sets their own limit for what is considered driving under the influence of alcohol. In Washington, that limit is 0.08% for drivers over the age of 21. Drivers with a BAC of between 0.08% and 0.15% will be charged with DUI. Drivers over the limit of 0.15% will be charged with a much more serious DUI offense that is subject to harsher sentences.

The officer that pulls you over for suspected DUI can measure your BAC through either a blood test or a breathalyzer. Anyone driving on Washington roads is assumed to have previously consented to taking these tests if they are suspected of driving under the influence. This is known as Implied Consent Law.

Can I Refuse the Breathalyzer?

You have a right to refuse to take a breath or blood test within 2 hours of being arrested, but you must be aware that refusing to take a Breathalyzer test comes with stiff penalties and consequences that are sometimes more severe than the DUI itself. In the state of Washington, refusing to submit to a breath or blood test will cause you to automatically lose your drivers’ license for at least one year. Refusing to submit to a test is typically admitted in court as “consciousness of guilt.”

In comparison, if you are a first time offender with a BAC less than 0.15%, then you would likely just lose your license for 90 days.

I Passed the Breathalyzer Test - Now What?

Even if you pass the breathalyzer test, you may still be charged with DUI. A breathalyzer test is just one of many pieces of evidence that could be used to prove that you were driving impaired. Statements from others, the results of your roadside sobriety tests, and physical symptoms of intoxication will also be submitted and can be used to show that you were under the influence at the time.

I Failed the Breathalyzer Test - Now What?

Failing a breathalyzer test does not guarantee that you will be convicted. Your attorney may be able to show that you were not operating the vehicle at the time of the arrest or the device was improperly calibrated, thus leading to a false reading. There are many ways the test can result in a false reading - especially if administered incorrectly. A breathalyzer is susceptible to falsely elevated levels when any alcohol is trapped in the mouth or esophagus. Even mouthwash or breath mints could result in a false reading.

What are my Rights?

You have a right to request an independent blood test be administered to determine BAC. This must be performed within 2 hours of the arrest and must be administered by a qualified medical professional. A blood test is the most reliable measurement of blood alcohol content and this can be used to refute the breathalyzer results.

You also have the right to an attorney. If you or a loved one is facing DUI charges, it is important that you speak to an experienced DUI lawyer at Baker, Lewis, Schwisow & Laws, PLLC immediately. Our attorneys have an intimate understanding of DUI law in the state of Washington and we know how to aggressively defend against these serious charges.

Have you or someone you love been arrested and charged with a DUI? Contact the Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers at Baker, Lewis, Schwisow & Laws

If you have been charged with a DUI in Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Everett, or anywhere in the state of Washington, it is imperative that you speak to an experienced Seattle criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible in order to protect your rights as well as your future. The expert defense team at Baker, Lewis, Schwisow & Laws, PLLC vigorously defend the rights of individuals facing a multitude of charges in Seattle, Bellevue, and Kirkland. Contact us today at 206.209.0608 or fill out our online contact form to get more information or to get a free case review!
 



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