Friday, October 12, 2012

DUI limit really more of a guideline for state troopers in Washington State

I came across this article earlier this week from MyNorthwest news.  The author follows a State Trooper who is a member of the target zero task force on a ride along.  The Trooper arrests an individual in Ballard, Seattle for DUI.  It talks about what happened, what the law is, blah, blah, blah.  Pretty standard article dealing with this subject matter.  But as I was reading this article I was struck by this statement the Trooper made regarding his philosophy on arresting individuals for DUI in Seattle.

Trooper Brock, the arresting officer states, "I [couldn't] care less about what they blow; if they're below the legal limit, at the legal limit or five times the legal limit," said Trooper Brock, who is member of the Washington State Patrol's Target Zero Team. Their goal is to reduce deaths on the roadway.  I don't worry about what's going to happen six months or a year down the road in court," he said. "I know when I go home every single shift that if I took someone off the road, I'm 100 percent positive they were not supposed to be driving a car."

So there it is.  If you smell like alcohol, you will get arrested.  Regardless if you consumed 20 shots of tequila (which would be very impressive) or whether you had half a glass of wine.  Troopers around this State don't care what your legal limit is.  This is something that I have written before on my blog, but it's worth noting again.  If you have had 1 drink you will get arrested.  The police do not care about the legal limit and whether you're over it.

I can't tell you how many people I have met with that simply just don't understand how they can be arrested for a DUI when their breath or blood test is below the legal limit.  Heck I have represented a client before on a Seattle DUI arrest with a .03 breath test.  Based on this particular Trooper's statement law enforcement simply do not care what your alcohol level is.   

Now why is this important to note.  How many times do I meet with people who say, "well I only had 1 drink, I thought I was ok to drive.  I thought I would pass all the field sobriety tests."  What this article reveals is you can pass all the field sobriety tests.  You can honestly tell the arresting officer you only had 1 drink.  But you will still get arrested.  You will still get taken to the police statement.  You might be booked into custody and spend the night in jail.  You will still have to shell out at least $5K for an attorney.  You will have to go to court and be subject to the humiliation and embarrassment of being a defendant in a criminal case.  And the kicker is even if your DUI were to get dismissed, you still go through all this.  

Anyway.  Here is a link to the article if you're interested.

Matthew A. Leyba is a DUI Attorney in Seattle, WA.  He is the owner of Leyba Defense PLLC, a boutique Criminal DUI Defense Firm in downtown Seattle.  If you have been arrested for a DUI in Washington State contact our office for a free consultation.   

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