Top 10 Things You Should Know If You’re Arrested for DUI

If you have been arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol, you should contact an experienced Washington DUI lawyer from The Law Offices of Morgan Fletcher Benfield PLLC right away. You should also review these 10 facts you may not have known:

  1. Roadside, portable breath tests are voluntary. If the police stop you under the suspicion of a DUI and after asking a few questions are still worried, they will probably ask you to blow into a small, portable breath test machine. An officer may not tell you this, but it is voluntary. You can decide whether or not to take a breath test during a traffic stop and prior to an arrest.
  2. Breath tests require specific procedures. An officer cannot simply give you a breath test. Under Washington law, the officer is required to check your mouth for objects and to observe you for 15 minutes prior to giving you the breath test. The purpose of this is to ensure nothing will impact the accuracy of the breath test results. If the officer did not check your mouth for objects like chewing tobacco or a piercing, or did not observe you for 15 minutes, then we can challenge the breath test results.
  3. Field sobriety tests are voluntary. An officer who believes you are inebriated will ask you to get out of the vehicle and perform certain physical tests. The eye tracking (horizontal gaze nystagmus), one-leg stand, and heel-to-toe tests are all standardized field sobriety tests an officer may ask you to do. You have the right to politely refuse.
  4. You should tell the police about your medical conditions. Diabetes, gastroesophageal reflux disease, mobility issues, and even a fever can affect the outcome of many of these tests.
  5. You can challenge the admissibility of a portable breath test. If you choose to blow into a breath test machine prior to your arrest and this provided evidence to support your DUI arrest and charges, let your attorney know right away. Portable breath test results are often not admissible in court. We will file a motion to suppress this evidence.
  6. Refusing a BAC test after an arrest can lead to additional punishments. Once you are arrested, the police will ask you to submit to an official breath test to gather a result (BAC) that can be admitted to court. Under Washington law, you have impliedly consented to take the BAC if you are lawfully arrested for a DUI. While you can refuse, either through words or your actions, you can expect additional consequences for your refusal, including a driver’s license suspension.
  7. You have the right to speak to an attorney. Talking to an attorney over the phone at the station is in your best interest. The Officer must give you privacy to speak with a lawyer. You lose nothing in talking with a lawyer, and speaking with someone that knows the issues can help you with the remainder of the arrest.
  8. You have the right to remain silent. You truly do have the right to remain silent when you are arrested. However, simply not talking does not invoke this right. You need to politely tell the police that you want to contact an attorney.
  9. You can challenge the validity of the initial traffic stop. The police cannot stop you while you are driving for any reason they want. They must have witnessed you commit an offense or have reasonable suspicion that you are drunk driving. Additionally, based on the case of Washington v. Prado, brief incursions while driving are not grounds enough to conduct a traffic stop as long as they do not pose a danger to other vehicles. More specifically, briefly crossing over into another lane of traffic and correcting yourself is not enough for a traffic stop.
  10. You can challenge the admissibility of evidence based on a language barrier. Based on the case, Washington v. Prok, you have the right to be told your Constitutional rights, specifically your right to a lawyer, in a language you can easily understand. If you do not speak English well, the police have the responsibility to clearly communicate to you your right to an attorney and the right to have one assigned to you if you cannot afford one.

Contact a Washington DUI Defense Lawyer Today

If you have been charged with a DUI in Washington, contact The Law Offices of Morgan Fletcher Benfield PLLC at (253) 518-3643 as soon as possible. There are many ways to defend against drunk driving charges. We will protect your rights and help you build a strong defense in order to obtain the best possible results in your case.