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I Blew Under .08 Why am I Charged with DUI?

I Blew Under .08 Why am I Charged with DUI?

what?It’s an all to common story, “I blew into the breathalyzer machine as instructed by law enforcement and my BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) result was under the legal limit of .08, and I was arrested for DUI.  I blew under the legal limit of .08, and now I am charged with DUI. What!?”

It’s unfair but true. In Washington State you can still be charged with DUI (Driving Under the Influence) while having a DUI breath test result under the legal limit of .08.

The Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 46.61.502 defines a driver as being guilty of DUI if the person drives a vehicle within this state “while under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor..” Affected by intoxicating liquor!? What does this mean? It means the law enforcement officer that is investigating a person for driving drunk may use their discretion to decide if that person’s driving was affected by alcohol at any BAC level and if they decide their driving was affected then they may arrest that person for DUI.  The reasoning behind this is; every person reacts differently to alcohol and less amounts may “affect” a person’s ability to drive even while having a test result under the DUI limits.

Unfortunately, a person charged with DUI with a breath test under the legal limit will still face the same penalties of a person with a breath test ranging from .08 to .15 with all other factors being similar. Thus, a DUI charge with a breath test under the legal limit should be taken just as seriously as a DUI case with a breath test above the legal limit.

In my personal and professional opinion I don’t believe any driver should be charged with DUI if that person blew under the legal limit, unless something extraordinary happened; such as a car accident etc. It’s very misleading when Washington State advertises that drinking and driving is illegal if your BAC is .08 or above.  The State should be more responsible and honest about drunk driving and change their advertising.  The State should properly inform everyone that they could be charged with DUI at any BAC level if they drove after consuming any alcohol and their driving was affected.

I have represented several people charged with DUI while blowing under the legal limit. Fortunately for those clients we were able to resolve all those cases very well!

What You Do ~ When Stopped for DUI

What You Do ~ When Stopped for DUI

when stopped for DUIHave you ever been pulled over by law enforcement or been questioned by a police officer?  For some of us, it can be very intimidating and gut wrenching, we may forget the simplest things and our thoughts may become jumbled.  And just imagine being pulled over knowing you may have consumed some alcohol before getting behind the wheel, talk about stressful!  Here is what you do when stopped for DUI… and I’m going to keep it simple and straight forward so you can remember.

  1. Respect
  2. Ask
  3. No Talking
  4. No DUI Tests

Four things to remember; 1. Respect, 2. Ask, 3. No Talking, and 4. No DUI Tests.  Not too difficult to remember and if you follow these tips you will have a much better chance resolving your DUI case favorably or getting your DUI charge dismissed.

Let’s expand on what you do when stopped for DUI

  1. Respect – Show respect to the law enforcement officer.  Being respectful and polite will make the investigation go much quicker and smoother.  On the flip side, if you are disrespectful and uncooperative to the officer, the situation will only get worse and you may even rack up additional criminal charges such as; obstruction of justice.  Be respectful.
  2. Ask – Immediately ask the law enforcement officer to call your DUI attorney, it is your legal right.  If you do not have a DUI attorney, ask the officer to call a public defender.  Once you are on the phone with a DUI attorney, that attorney will be able to give you proper instruction and advice on what to do next.  Also, if English is not your first language and you are having difficulty understanding what the law enforcement officer is saying, ask for an interpreter.  To recap, immediately ask for a DUI attorney and ask for an interpreter if needed.
  3. No Talking – Do not try to talk your way out of the DUI investigation, it never works!  In fact, talking most often leads to self-incrimination.  For example if the officer asks if you had anything to drink that evening, most will often answer with saying they had something; one drink, two beers, one glass of wine, etc. and now they have admitted to the officer they did drink before driving, this does not help a DUI case.  If that person respectfully declined to answer that question than they would be in a much better situation for their DUI case because they never admitted to drinking alcohol.  Keep talking to the very minimum, only state your name, ask for your attorney and interpreter, and respectfully decline all other questions.  It is your legal right to remain silent, you will not get in trouble for not answering the officer’s questions.
  4. No DUI Tests – Do not take the DUI field sobriety tests or blow into the portable breathalyzer.  Both of these tests are voluntary, and you should respectfully decline taking these tests.  The DUI field sobriety tests are very difficult and a completely sober person would have trouble passing these tests.  Any mistake made while taking the field sobriety tests will be used against you and will make your DUI case more challenging.  Blowing into the portable breathalyzer can be incriminating evidence used against you.  Don’t take the DUI tests.

When stopped for DUI and your starting to feel anxious, just remember; Respect, Ask, No Talking, & No DUI Tests.  Give me a call if you need a reputable DUI attorney, David O, 206-459-6392.


Going to Court Drunk for your DUI Charge – NEVER a Good Idea –

Use common sense when going to court!  It’s never a good idea to show up to court drunk or while under the influence of drugs, especially when you are required to be in court for a DUI or any type of alcohol or drug related charge.  Unfortunately, some individuals are so stressed, they make the horrible mistake of attending court drunk or high, hoping the alcohol or drugs will calm their nerves while they are in front of the judge.

Just recently, in Grand Island, New York, a 44-year-old man drunkenly stood before a judge where he was convicted of a DUI charge that he acquired on Dec. 29th by crashing his car into the Niagara River and was later rescued by firefighters.

Apparently, after being found guilty of the DUI charge, the intoxicated man was allowed to leave the court but had been warned by the court not to drive.

Failing to follow orders not to drive drunk, the man walked out of court, got into his car and proceeded to leave the parking lot.  Shortly there after, deputies pulled the man over and arrested him for drunk driving.  The man was hauled into jail and was charged with felony DUI.

NEVER a good idea to show up to court drunk!

judge and policeThe man was very lucky to even have the opportunity to go home, because here in Washington State, most judges would have immediately thrown him into jail for violating his  “Standard Conditions of Release.”

Washington State judges require anyone charged with DUI to adhere to the Standard Conditions of Release while their DUI case is ongoing.  The Standard Conditions of Release generally include the following conditions:

  • No consumption of alcohol or non-prescribed drugs (including marijuana).
  • Do not drive without a valid license and insurance.
  • Abide by the law (no new criminal law violations).
  • No refusal of breath, blood or urine test upon reasonable request of law enforcement.
  • Attend all court hearings.
  • Notify the court of any address changes.

Here at David O Defense we understand that court can be very stressful, however drinking alcohol or smoking some marijuana to calm nerves will only make an individual’s situation worse. The judge will most likely throw that person into jail where they will likely stay until they post a large bail amount or until their DUI case resolves.

Just remember: It’s NEVER a good idea to show up to court under the influence of drugs and or alcohol!