With the annual seafair weekend upon us there will be an increased emphasis in DUI patrols. Remember the best decision to make is to not drink and drive. But if you do have a few and find yourself in the unfortunate position of being investigated by a DUI officer here are some helpful hints to keep in mind.
If you're being investigated for a DUI then it's important to remember as much as possible about the interaction with the arresting officer to relay to your Seattle DUI lawyer. Often times during the defense of a DUI case there are no cameras or recordings of what happened. Most of the evidence comes from the police report and the testimony of the arresting officer. To challenge that evidence it may be necessary to have the only other person who was present testify. That would be the defendant. Therefore if you found yourself in the position of being investigated for a Seattle DUI Arrest then it's important to try and take mental notes on the following areas.
Did the officer explain the reason for the stop: Many jurisdictions have seen a crackdown on drunk driving. However with such an increased emphasis many Officers are simply pulling people over for minor infractions with the intent to conduct a DUI investigation. A tell tell sign of whether this in fact happened was if the Officer initially advised of the reason for the stop or did they just start asking questions about alcohol consumption.
How much time elapsed before you were asked to exit the vehicle: Being able to remember how much time elapsed before you were asked to exit the vehicle can demonstrate whether this was the type of stop where there was no intention to cite for an infraction, but to investigate for a DUI. In order to ask a driver to exit a vehicle to conduct a DUI investigation the arresting officer needs to point to specific and articulable facts the driver may be affected by alcohol. Usually if a driver is asked to exit immediately there is no way for an Officer to note the signs of impairment necessary to start a DUI investigation.
Did you understand the field sobriety tests were voluntary: In Washington State the field sobriety tests to be taken voluntarily before they are admissible in court. Often times in DUI arrests the arresting officer just asks the driver to start performing these tests. There is no mention that they are voluntary and the driver has a right to decline them.
The area where you performed the field sobriety tests: Generally the field sobriety tests should be performed in a well light area with a relatively level surface. It's important to remember the area where the tests were done in case it was not an ideal location.
Process prior to taking the breath test: Prior to taking a breath test a subject cannot burp or hiccup or put anything in the mouth that can affect the results of the test. If you were hiccupping or burping uncontrollably and the Officer still administered the test to you that may be an issue. Try and remember any abnormalities that may have happened prior to submitting to the breath test to inform your Seattle DUI lawyer