Posts tagged DUI in Washington State

Can I Get A DUI While Riding A Bicycle?

It’s a well-known fact that here in Washington State you can get a DUI while driving a motorized vehicle or operating a motorized boat if you are under the influence of alcohol, but can you also be charged with a DUI if your riding your bicycle while intoxicated?

The answer is NO, you can not be charged with a DUI in Washington State if you are riding your bike while drunk.  However, every state has their own laws pertaining to DUI bike riding.  For example, if you were under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs on a public road in California, you could be charged with a misdemeanor and face a $250.00 fine (separate from a motorized DUI charge).  Contrasting California’s DUI bike laws, are states such as South Dakota who encourage individuals to ride their bike if they are intoxicated rather than getting behind the wheel of a motorized vehicle.

Here in Washington State, a law enforcement officer cannot arrest an individual for riding their bicycle while under the influence.  The officer does have the authority to stop the bicyclist and ask them if they would voluntarily like to be transported somewhere or if they would like to have another competent individual escort them home.  If the bicyclist refuses help, the officer must let them proceed without any further action.  Lastly, the officer may impound the bike if they feel the bicyclist is a threat to public safety and there is no alternative to impounding the bike.  Luckily for the bicyclist, once they are no longer intoxicated they can reclaim their bike without paying an impound fee.

So Seattle and Washington State bikers, enjoy the summer winds, stop and indulge in some happy hour, and hit the roads again without the fear of being charged with biking DUI.  Bike safely and know your legal rights!

Here is RCW 46.61.790, Intoxicated bicyclists. (Derived from apps.leg.wa.gov)

(1) A law enforcement officer may offer to transport a bicycle rider who appears to be under the influence of alcohol or any drug and who is walking or moving along or within the right-of-way of a public roadway, unless the bicycle rider is to be taken into protective custody under RCW 70.96A.120. The law enforcement officer offering to transport an intoxicated bicycle rider under this section shall:

(a) Transport the intoxicated bicycle rider to a safe place; or

(b) Release the intoxicated bicycle rider to a competent person.

(2) The law enforcement officer shall not provide the assistance offered if the bicycle rider refuses to accept it. No suit or action may be commenced or prosecuted against the law enforcement officer, law enforcement agency, the state of Washington, or any political subdivision of the state for any act resulting from the refusal of the bicycle rider to accept this assistance.

(3) The law enforcement officer may impound the bicycle operated by an intoxicated bicycle rider if the officer determines that impoundment is necessary to reduce a threat to public safety, and there are no reasonable alternatives to impoundment. The bicyclist will be given a written notice of when and where the impounded bicycle may be reclaimed. The bicycle may be reclaimed by the bicycle rider when the bicycle rider no longer appears to be intoxicated, or by an individual who can establish ownership of the bicycle. The bicycle must be returned without payment of a fee. If the bicycle is not reclaimed within thirty days, it will be subject to sale or disposal consistent with agency procedures.

 

Written by Senior DUI Defense Attorney David O

Co-Written by SAO

 

Prescription Drug DUI for Actor Chris Kattan

Monday mornings can be lame, knowing the entire work week lies ahead.  This past monday morning was especially bad for actor Chris Kattan…15 hour red-eye flight home, crashing his car into a DOT vehicle on the freeway, failing DUI field tests, and then being arrested for DUI.  Bad monday!

California highway patrol officers reported they received a call from a source that saw Kattan’s Mercedes swerving across lanes on highway 101.  Moments later, Kattan crashed into a Department of Transportation vehicle that was coned in on the side of the freeway.  Luckily Kattan didn’t hit any of the DOT crewmen working on the freeway and nobody was inside the parked vehicle.

Chris Kattan, well-known for his skits on Saturday Night Live, admitted to law enforcement that he had taken prescription drugs and it had affected his driving, alcohol was not involved!  The Highway Patrol still required Kattan to perform the DUI (driving under the influence) field sobriety tests, of which he failed.  Kattan was quite surprised saying I thought I “passed all the tests.”   Kattan was arrested and charged with DUI of drugs.  Washington State and the State California have the same outlook on DUIs; a charge of DUI of drugs is considered the same offense as DUI of alcohol, penalties remain the same.

Being arrested and charged with a crime can cause a whirl wind of emotions; fear, frustration, humiliation, anger, etc.  Kattan was obviously wrapped up in emotion when he recently tweeted to media, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it at all.”

Bad monday… good luck with the rest of your week, Chris Kattan, be sure to contact a knowledgeable, experienced DUI attorney, it will take a lot of weight off your shoulders.  Here in Washington State, contact Senior Criminal Defense Attorney, David O, if you have received a drug or alcohol related DUI charge or have been in a DUI related accident, 206-459-6392.

 

Written by S.O

Forced Blood Draws If Suspected Of DUI?

Here in Washington State, an individual that is under suspicion of DUI (driving under the influence) has the right to refuse the field sobriety tests and portable breath test administered by law enforcement because these tests are voluntary.  An individual suspected of DUI also has the right to refuse to take the breathalyzer test at the station, however, they may face a one year driver’s license suspension by the DOL (department of licensing) because of the refusal.  Once an individual has refused the breathalyzer test, the burden of proving that individual is DUI is upon the arresting officer, thus the officer may call a judge to obtain a search warrant to obtain a blood draw sample from that individual.  Next that individual will be taken to a hospital where a nurse will take a sample of their blood to determine their BAC (blood alcohol content) levels.

Not all States follow this same procedure when handling persons suspected of DUI that have refused the breathalyzer test.  Georgia has their own legal methods of drawing blood samples from refusal individuals that are called “Forced Blood Draws” or “Forcible Blood Draws.”

Once a Georgia officer has obtained a search warrant from a judge for a blood draw, the “forcible” part of the blood draw comes into play when multiple police officers hustle a DUI suspect into a small room at the station, strap them onto a cot or table with multiple tethers, put them into a head lock, and wait for a nurse to draw their blood.  All individuals are treated in the same manner, strapped down and put into a head lock, even if they are completely calm and compliant.

This type of blood draw by restraints has become very controversial.  Many citizens have expressed this is a violation of our constitutional rights, it is animalistic, an unnecessary intrusive experience, and just plain terrifying.  A few of the comments posted after the news brief, DUI suspects face forced blood draws in some Ga. counties, found on www.myfoxatlanta.com read, “this is wrong. its all about control. no rights.” and “This is very wrong and the justice system is failing in a big way.”  Other people are saying this forceful procedure is completely justified if a DUI suspect isn’t being compliant by taking the breathalyzer test.

Police officers are justifying the procedure by saying these (restraints and headlocks) are necessary precautionary measures to ensure no one gets hurt.  They also claim these forced blood draws have increased their DUI conviction rate.

Just a reminder of our Fourth Amendment:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Written by S.O

 

David O Defense
2211 Elliott Avenue, Suite 200 Seattle, WA 98121
Tel: 206.459.6392
Fax: 888.615.0237
Email: david@davidodefense.com