Thursday, January 31, 2013

Beware of the "Green DUI" in Washington State

Since the legalization of Marijuana in Washington State approximately 130 DUI arrests have been made for those allegedly impaired by Marijuana and that number is increasing every day.  This new DUI charge is now being referred to as a "Green DUI."  If you were arrested for a Washington State Green DUI in December 2012, then chances are you DUI charge is in the pipeline and charges will be filed against you any day.  Why does a Green DUI take so long to be filed, when an alcohol DUI can be filed the next day after the arrest?  Well the simple answer is it takes time to have a blood sample analyzed.  

What is the process for a Seattle Green DUI arrest.  As noted above after an arrest for a Green DUI then the suspect is given the opportunity to provide a blood sample.  Once provided the sample is sent to the Washington State Toxicology Laboratory and analyzed by a Toxicologist.  Those results can take anywhere from 1-3 months to get back.  Depending on the volume of cases at the Toxicology lab, and the order the sample is received.  Once those results come back they are sent to the appropriate Prosecutors Office.  

So let's say you were arrested on I-5 by a Washington State Trooper in King County.  That means your King County DUI would be filed by the King County Prosecutors Office.  So after the blood test results come back they are sent to the Prosecutors office.  A prosecutor will then review the blood test results, review the police report, and any other evidence submitted by the arresting agency.  If the Prosecutors feels they can prove a Green DUI charge beyond a reasonable doubt then they will file charging documents with their records department.  The records department then provides that to the Court that would have jurisdiction.  The Court then sends notice to the defendant of their arraignment and the criminal process starts. 

Defending a Green DUI is drastically different than an alcohol related DUI.  Prior to creating a legal limit, Green DUI's were fairly easy to defend.  There were so many different views, and medical opinions on what constituted impairment.  For every expert the Prosecutor provided, the Marijuana DUI Attorney would counter with an expert of their own.  However with this new per se law a Marijuana DUI is going to be more difficult due to just the legal limit.  But like an alcohol related DUI, there are still ways to prepare a defense for this type of charge.  Thus it is extremely important to hire an experienced Seattle DUI lawyer to properly prepare a defense.  

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Matthew A. Leyba is a DUI Attorney in Seattle, WA.  His practice consists of representing those accused of DUI and other alcohol related offenses.  If you have been arrested for a Green DUI or an alcohol related DUI contact our office immediately to set up a free consultation.    




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