Drinking on a boat

Boating Under the Influence in Washington State

Operating any type of vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is considered a crime. This includes operating a boat while intoxicated.

In the State of Washington, Boating Under the Influence (BUI) is a gross misdemeanor. However, unlike other gross misdemeanors, a BUI conviction won’t result in a driver’s license suspensions.

If someone has been arrested for operating a boat after drinking or while under the influence, it helps to know what to expect and to know what their rights are.

Gross Misdemeanor Charge

Under RCW 79A.060.010(29), a vessel’s operator cannot have a breath or blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or greater. It is likewise illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a THC concentration of 5.00 or higher or while under the influence of marijuana or other intoxicants. Anyone who breaks the law is subject to arrest and prosecution.

An individual stopped in Washington State for a suspected BUI will face gross misdemeanor charges. The State imposes a minimum penalty for gross misdemeanor charges of zero to 364 days in jail, as well as a penalty up to $5,000.

During the stop, unlike a normal DUI, the boat driver is not under any obligation to submit to a breathalyzer test. In addition, unlike a normal DUI, there is no mandatory driver’s license suspension that accompanies a BUI.

If the individual facing a potential BUI charge has no prior criminal history, it is likely that the charges can be reduced to a negligent boating charge. This is a much less severe offense as opposed to a gross misdemeanor.

BUI as a Prior Offense

Under the Washington State DUI sentencing laws, anyone who has a BUI conviction or reckless boating conviction on their record and is later convicted of a BUI will have that previous offense treated as a prior DUI.

The prior offense can also be used to enhance a later DUI offense. The penalties for that later DUI will be increased significantly with this prior offense on the individual’s record.

State and Federal Offenses

One key factor to keep in mind with a BUI arrest is that the charge can be both state and federal. Boats that are on the open water are under the jurisdiction of both Washington State and federal law. What this means is that arrests can be made by local police, state police, as well as federal Coast Guard.

The law covers all “vessels,” which is a fairly broad term and includes every description of watercraft, including seaplanes. However, it does not include flotation devices, inner tubes, sailboards and smaller rafts used by swimmers.

BUI Versus DUI

Unlike a DUI, the BUI conviction does not carry mandatory consequences with respect to the person’s operator’s license. Because of this, someone cannot lose his or her license after being arrested for and later convicted of a BUI.

If someone has a Captain’s License, a BUI conviction can end up being grounds for denial of a re-application for the Captain’s License down the road. 

A BUI will also not result in the individual having to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in their vehicle. Likewise, there is no ignition interlock license (IIL) requirement. The judge has some discretion to make whatever rulings he or she wishes, which means the judge can order an IID, but no statutory requirement exists.

If the driver of the boat is arrested for a BUI and refuses either the breath or blood test, no automatic consequence exists that would harm that person’s driver’s license on an administrative level.

However, despite the fact that the mandatory consequences that go along with a DUI offense are not there for a BUI, this does not mean that a BUI is not a serious crime. It is still a gross misdemeanor and is still a crime.

Therefore, if you are arrested for a BUI, it is important that a criminal defense attorney be contacted. It is important that the individual arrested know what his or her rights are, as well as what the consequences are for the particular crime. 

A defense attorney can not only explain these important points but can also work with the individual on a possible defense to fight the crime or at least reduce the charge to a lesser one.

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If you’ve been detained or arrested, the experienced defense attorneys at Durflinger Oliver & Associates can help. Call today to schedule your free consultation, 855-712-7371. Ask about our military discount and convenient payment plans.

Posted in DUI

5 Myths About DUIs

Common DUI Myths

A lot is at risk following a DUI arrest. The arrested person may lose his or her driver’s license, face fines, and could even go to jail.

Someone facing a DUI charge will likely have a lot of questions. Most people have no idea what to expect and rely on the advice of friends and family. Some of these friends and relatives may have faced similar charges or may simply know someone who knows someone who once was arrested for a DUI.

As a result, there are a lot of misconceptions out there. The following explore a few of the more common DUI myths.

Myth 1: Breathalyzer or Blood Alcohol Tests Cannot be Fought

After being pulled over for a DUI, it is likely the driver will have to submit to a breathalyzer test or blood alcohol test.

If the results show that the driver is over the legal limit, many people believe that they cannot fight these results. As a result, they mistakenly resign themselves to the idea that their legal matter is doomed from the start. That is actually not the case.

If the tests were not administered properly, the court can kick out the test results. Likewise, if the person’s rights were violated during the test, the defense can ask that the court suppress the evidence. If the judge agrees then the prosecution cannot use the evidence.

In addition, a good defense attorney can find other weaknesses in the prosecution’s case to go against that evidence to either get the charges reduced or to have the case dismissed.

Myth 2: Field Sobriety Tests Are Mandatory

Another common myth is that an individual must comply when asked to perform a field sobriety test. Under Washington State law, these tests are voluntary. Therefore, if the police officer asks the driver to exit his or her vehicle to perform a Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST), the driver can simply refuse.

Although, the police officer is under a legal obligation to inform the driver that the SFST is voluntary, they way that they say it is usually confusing. Some officers actually lie to drivers to have them believe it is required, when, in fact, it is not.

Keep in mind, the voluntary aspect applies to the FSTs and answering questions. You have to take the breath test given at the police station or jail or you will lose your license for at least one year.

Myth 3: DUI Only Involves Alcohol

Another misconception is that someone can only be guilty of a DUI if he or she was under the influence of alcohol. However, RCW 46.61.502 states that a DUI means the person was driving under the influence of “intoxicating liquor, marijuana or drug.”

In addition, the person does not need to have a blood alcohol concentration of over the 0.08 legal limit or 5.00 THC limit to be convicted of a DUI. The person also does not need to be above the legal limit necessarily to be arrested.

So long as the person was affected by or under the influence of alcohol, marijuana or another drug, that could be sufficient evidence to demonstrate that he or she is guilty of a DUI. “Buzzed” driving qualifies as a DUI as much as drunk driving.

Myth 4: Being the Designated Driver Means You Are Safe

Say someone is out to dinner or for drinks with friends. After a couple of hours, the person who had the least amount of drinks is chosen as the “designated driver” to take everyone home.

However, also say that same person was pulled over and arrested for a DUI. If he or she was chosen as the “designated driver,” that does not mean that he or she was the sober driver.

There is a distinct difference between the two categories. Being called the designated driver is a good idea if that person has not had anything to drink that night. No one should be a designated driver if they’ve had anything at all to drink.

Myth 5: A Clean Record Means the Driver Is in the Clear

Many times, a person who has been arrested for a DUI for the first time may believe he or she will not receive harsh penalties for the DUI offense. After all, if they have never been in trouble before, the judge will go easy on them, right?

The problem is the state has issued “mandatory minimum” punishments for a DUI offense. These punishments are required regardless of whether the defendant has a good record.

The only way to avoid receiving these punishments is to not be found guilty of the crime. Otherwise, very little discretion is given to the judge for issuing these punishments.

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Posted in DUI
Worried Man

What Administrative Penalties Could You Have to Pay After a DUI Arrest?

After someone has been arrested for a driving under the influence (DUI) charge, that person may assume that he or she will only be hit with penalties coming from the criminal justice system. While he or she may be facing some criminal charges, administrative penalties will also follow any DUI arrest.

What Administrative Penalties Are Assessed?

After the DUI arrest, the police officer is required to notify the DOL of any test results that were 0.08 or higher for drivers who are 21-years-old or older. If the driver is underaged, the officer is required to notify the DOL if the results are 0.02 or higher. If the driver is operating a commercial vehicle, the officer is required to notify the DOL if the breath test result was 0.04 or higher.

The Department of Licensing (DOL) assesses penalties that are separate from the actual DUI criminal case. The only chance the defendant will have to fight these penalties is through an administrative hearing.

At the time of the stop and/or arrest, the police officer will likely provide the form need to make this appeal. If one was not received, it can be requested from the DOL.

A license can be suspended anywhere from 90 days to two years, depending on the circumstances of the case. These administrative penalties apply even if the person is eventually found not guilty of a DUI.

The DOL will automatically suspend or revoke the person’s license unless a hearing is requested to contest the suspension within 20 days of the arrest.

A hearing fee does come along with a hearing. And if the hearing officer decides in the driver’s favor but the court still finds him or her guilty of a DUI, the license will be suspended as a result of the criminal conviction.

90-Day Driver’s License Suspension

If the individual was arrested with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher, and the person had no prior administrative suspensions, his or her license will be suspended for 90 days.

The DOL will not issue that person’s license back to him or her unless the car the arrested individual drives is equipped with an ignition interlock device.

The driver must also file a “proof of financial responsibility,” also known as SR-22 insurance with the DOL before the ignition interlock license will be issued. The driver should expect to hold the SR-22 insurance for three years following the license reinstatement.

One-Year Driver’s License Suspension

If the driver had no prior DUI administrative suspensions, his or her driver’s license will be suspended for a period of one year. The driver may be eligible to apply for installation of an ignition interlock device and an ignition interlock license.

The driver must also file a “proof of financial responsibility” or SR-22 insurance with the DOL, and this SR-22 insurance will be required for three years after the driver’s license was reinstated.

Two-Year Driver’s License Suspension

If this is the second administrative suspension within a seven-year period, the person’s license will be revoked for two years. The driver will be eligible for an ignition interlock license, but this will not be issued until the car the person drives is equipped with a proper ignition interlock device.

The driver must also file proof of financial responsibility or SR-22 insurance before the license will be issued. The SR-22 license is required for three years following reinstatement. But for the driver’s license to be fully reinstated, he or she will need to retake the driver’s test and pay a reinstatement fee.

SR-22 Insurance

For all of the above penalties, SR-22 insurance is mentioned. SR-22 insurance is known as “high risk” insurance. It is a statutory requirement for drivers who pose a high risk to the safety of others in the community. Premiums that come with SR-22 insurance tend to be much higher than standard insurance.

Even if the driver is acquitted of the DUI charge, he or she may still suffer an administrative license suspension, and the SR-22 insurance may still be required.

Probationary License

After an individual has completed his or her DUI-related license suspension or revocation period, a certain “probationary” license period may be required before fully driver’s privileges are reinstated.

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Drunk Driver

What is SR22 Insurance?

Following an arrest for a driving under the influence (DUI) charge, the individual facing the charges will then have to face a number of administrative penalties and charges, as well.

One of these is obtaining an SR-22 in order to have his or her driving privileges reinstated. The concept is not really understood, however, so here are a few basic tips on what is involved and what should be understood before proceeding towards getting an SR-22.

What Is an SR-22?

Washington requires the SR-22 endorsement be placed on the driver’s car insurance policy for the driver to meet the state’s requirements. Essentially, the SR-22 form designates the driver as “high risk.”

An SR-22 is also referred to as SR-22 Insurance or Certificate of Financial Responsibility (CFR). While the SR-22 is referred to as insurance, it is not a type of car insurance. Rather, it is verification that the individual is maintaining car insurance liability coverage.

The SR-22 is a state-mandated form that is filed by the individual’s insurance carrier through the Washington Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

When is an SR-22 Needed?

An SR-22 will be required when a driver who was in an accident or has been convicted of a traffic violation cannot show financial responsibility. If a person is caught driving without car insurance and is subsequently arrested, he or she may need an SR-22.

He or she may also need an SR-22 for any of the following:

  • A driving under the influence (DUI) offense or any other serious moving violation;
  • When the accident was the fault of the driver;
  • A repeat offense or too many tickets within a short period of time; or
  • Driving on a revoked or suspended license.

Types of SR-22 Endorsements

Three different types of SR-22 endorsements are available.

  1. The owner’s certificate is one form that is proof that all cars owned by the driver are covered by the insurance.
  2. Another form, the operator’s certificate, is proof of financial responsibility for situations when the driver does not own a car.
  3. The last type is the owner-operator certificate, which is proof of financial responsibility for all vehicles that are either owned by the driver or not owned by the driver but still used by him or her.

Washington SR-22 insurance requires the driver to carry the following limits on liability:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury/person;
  • $50,000 for bodily injury/ accident; and
  • $10,000 for property damage.

Cost of an SR-22

The costs of an SR-22 varies by the state, but car insurance companies will normally charge an initial fee of $15 to $25 for the filing of the SR-22 form.

If the driver needs an SR-22, he or she will need to first purchase a car insurance policy. The amount of the policy depends on a number of factors. Since car insurance carriers will view the driver needing the SR-22 as a risk, the rates will likely be high in lieu of that information.

The increase in rate can be just a few hundred dollars for an individual’s personal auto policy to thousands of dollars if the policy is commercial auto.

How Long Does Someone Need an SR-22?

After the policy is prepared and the processing fee paid, a copy of the SR-22 insurance will be sent to the DOL by the insurance company. The State of Washington requires drivers to carry the SR-22 for three years (36 consecutive months).

The driver will be responsible for renewing the policy at least 15 days before it expires. Otherwise, the car insurance company is legally required to notify the DMV and the driver’s license will be suspended.

Washington State will reinstate the driver’s license after the policy is eventually renewed. To avoid this issue, it is always recommended that the individual renew his or her policy at least 45 days before it expires.

Can an SR-22 Be Avoided?

Many drivers wish to avoid having to file an SR-22. In some situations, the State of Washington allows drivers the possibility to deposit $60,000 to the Washington State Treasurer’s office to avoid the SR-22 insurance.

Another alternative is for the driver to get a surety bond from a surety company that is licensed in the State of Washington to put forward the money to avoid this requirement. Speak with an attorney experienced in DUI law to discuss the possible options available.

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If you’ve been detained or arrested, the experienced defense attorneys at Durflinger Oliver & Associates can help. Call today to schedule your free consultation, 855-712-7371. Ask about our military discount and convenient payment plans

Posted in DUI
Man Considering Driving Drunk

Penalties for a First Time DUI Offense

No one wants to be pulled over for a driving under the influence (DUI) offense. But when it happens, it can be stressful and intimidating, especially if this is the person’s first offense. It helps to know what to expect when facing a first time DUI offense in the State of Washington.

What Is a DUI?

As stated before, a DUI means driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In Washington, it is against the law to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle while either under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Someone can be convicted of a DUI for driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle while one or more of the following applies:

  • If the person is impaired by alcohol or drugs to the point where his or her “ability to drive a motorized vehicle is affected to an applicable degree,” which is known as DUI “affected by” or an “impairment” DUI;
  • If the person has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher, which is known as a “per se” DUI; or
  • If the person has a concentration of five nanograms or more of THC per milliliter in his or her blood, which is known as a “per se” marijuana DUI. THC is the primary psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana.

If the individual refuses chemical testing, whether blood or breath, he or she will be found to be violating Washington State’s implied consent laws, and he or she may face a greater penalty. This is known as a DUI Refusal.

A DUI offense where the person has a BAC of .15 or higher also faces harsher consequences. Both of these factors are said to aggravate the circumstances of the DUI.

First-Time DUI Administrative Penalties

An individual facing a DUI offense will deal with penalties from the criminal justice system, as well as administrative penalties. These administrative penalties are those issued by the Washington State Department of Licensing. Some of these penalties are automatically triggered by the arrest itself. This means they happen regardless of whether the person is ever convicted of a DUI criminally. For a first-time DUI offense, the administrative penalties include:

  • Per Se Marijuana and Per Se Alcohol: Drivers who qualify for per se marijuana or alcohol offenses, meaning they have a BAC of higher than 0.08 or a THC concentration of at least five nanograms per milliliter of blood, will normally have a 90-day license suspension period.
  • Refusal to Take Chemical Test: If the driver refuses to take a chemical test, he or she will normally face a one-year administrative license suspension or revocation period.

If the driver is actually convicted of a DUI, the driver will likely be required to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on his or her car for a period of at least one year.

If the driver who is facing a first-time DUI had a passenger under the age of 16 years old in the car at the time of the offense, he or she will be required to have the IID installed for at least 18 months.

First-Time Criminal DUI Penalties

In addition to the administrative penalties, the defendant may also be facing criminal charges for the DUI. If convicted of a DUI, the penalties include:

  • When a driver is convicted of a per se marijuana offense, a per se alcohol offense with a BAC under 0.15 or a DUI impairment first-offense, the individual is said to be guilty of a “gross misdemeanor.” This means the person will face a penalty of one to 364 days in jail, or a period of at least 15 days of electronic home monitoring, or 90 days participation in a sobriety program. Criminal fines also can range from $550 to $5,000 in fines and fees, on top of the administrative driver’s license suspension.
  • If the driver refused to take the chemical test or tested at a BAC of 0.15 or higher, and that person is convicted of a first-time DUI, the person is also said to be guilty of a gross misdemeanor. The penalties can include two to 364 days in jail, or a period of 30 days of electronic home monitoring, 120 days in a 24/7 sobriety program, and fines and fees ranging from $700 to $5,000, on top of a driver’s license suspension of one year.

Depending on the facts of the case, it is possible the judge may order the offender to also participate and complete an educational or substance abuse treatment program.

If a minor under the age of 16 was also present at the time of the offense, the judge may impose additional jail time or increase the fines and fees imposed.

Will Jail Time Actually Happen?

Any time jail time is mentioned, stress will likely ensue. However, if jail time is a part of the sentence, how much will actually be served, if any at all?

Many times, the statute may say that a minimum sentence will be served, but some factors, such as credits for good behavior and jail-alternative programs may off-set that time that is actually served.

The defense attorney can work with the defendant to see how jail time can be reduced or even avoided, if at all possible.

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If you’ve been detained or arrested, the experienced defense attorneys at Durflinger Oliver & Associates can help. Call today to schedule your free consultation, 855-712-7371. Ask about our military discount and convenient payment plans.

Posted in DUI
Driver arrested for DUI

What Happens After You Get a DUI?

After being pulled over for suspicion of a DUI, the person suspected of the DUI can reach a state of panic and wonder: “What is going to happen to me?” Unless a person is a regular in the criminal justice system, he or she is not likely to know what to expect when it comes to the criminal process.

Following the Arrest

After the person has been arrested, following being read their constitutional rights, the suspect will be brought to the police station where he or she will undergo a breath test. Sometimes, if the person is not capable of providing a breath test, he or she may receive a blood test.

It is possible the individual will be kept overnight and released upon certain circumstances or conditions. Sometimes, the person may be booked into jail. Alternatively, the person may be booked and released but told to return for an arraignment.

Post-Arrest Investigation

Following the arrest, if the person gave a breath test, he or she will be given a ticket showing the results. If the suspect took a blood test, it may take a couple weeks to a couple of months before those results will be processed and sent to the individual by the Washington State Toxicology Lab.

The arresting officer will be collecting additional evidence to support the case after the arrest. Criminal charges can happen immediately or within a few days following the arrest, sometimes even months.

If the officer’s report shows that enough evidence is there to charge the suspect with an official DUI charge, a complaint is filed with the court. Then the court will send the suspect a summons to appear in court, which is essentially a notice of the court date.


The first hearing following an arrest is called the arraignment. If the suspect is in police custody following the arrest, he or she will be brought before a judge or magistrate within 24 hours of his or her arrest and being brought into police custody. If the person is released after the arrest, a summons with the arraignment will be given at a later date.

During the arraignment hearing, the court gives the conditions of the suspect’s release. These conditions normally include following the law, a prohibition of alcohol or non-prescription drug consumption and a promise to appear at all future dates before the court.

Depending on the offense, the judge may also order the suspect to install an ignition interlock device on any car he or she drives, or to be restricted to electronic home monitoring. The judge may also determine bail.

Many factors play into setting these conditions, including the BAC level of the results, whether that person has a prior history of DUI, or whether anyone was hurt or killed in an accident connected to the DUI. The arraignment is also when the defendant will enter the official plea of not guilty or guilty, after he or she indicates whether the nature of the charges is understood.

Pre-Trial Conference

Sometime after the arraignment, a pre-trial conference will be set. This court date is for negotiations between the prosecution and defense.

Attorneys will work out any questions regarding evidence, witness availability or schedule conflicts. But most importantly, during these pre-trial conferences, attorneys will try to work out an agreement or settlement. Plea deals or offers are normally discussed at this time.

However, if negotiations are not successful, the judge will set the date for trial during the pre-trial hearing.


If no plea agreement is reached, a hearing or trial will be held. Normally, the arresting officer is required to attend and will testify.

The defendant’s attorney will have the chance to cross-examine the officer and any other prosecution witnesses. The defense attorney will also have the chance to present the case against the DUI charges. The defense will have a chance to fight the evidence submitted, trying to poke holes in the results of any blood alcohol results.

After all evidence is presented, both sides will be able to give a final closing legal argument to support their position.

The defendant will have the option of choosing between a trial by jury or a bench trial, which means the judge is the individual making the decision. The defense attorney will be able to advise what is best depending on the circumstances. Many times, it is best to do a bench trial rather than have six jurors make the decision. Ultimately it depends on the case’s specific facts.

At the end of the trial, the jury or the judge will make the decision on whether the defendant is guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol.


If the defendant is convicted of the DUI charge, or even if he or she accepts a plea for a reduced charge, the next step is sentencing by the judge. The defendant will have the constitutional right to address the court if he or she believes, after advice from the defense attorney, that it will positively affect the Judge’s decision on sentencing.

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Posted in DUI
Officer pulling over man for DUI

What to Do When Pulled Over for a DUI?

No one wants to be in that situation. Driving along after having a few too many drinks, and you see it: the red and blue lights coming up from behind in the rearview mirror. For most drivers in that situation, panic immediately hits in. But panicking is actually the worst thing a driver in this situation can do.

The following tips should be kept in mind if the unthinkable happens and the driver is pulled over for a DUI.

Why Did the Officer Pull the Driver Over?

First, it should not be assumed that the driver was pulled over for driving under the influence (DUI). The officer may actually have pulled the driver over for something completely unrelated, such as failing to stop at a stop sign, failing to use a turn signal or committing any other traffic violation.

The police officer’s job at that point is to then investigate the traffic violation and also observe anything that would give rise to suspicion for a DUI, such as the driver having poor coordination, the person slurring his or her speech, the smell of alcohol, etc.

Properly Pulling Over

The officer will observe how the driver handles pulling over. As soon as the driver sees the lights and hears the police sirens, he or she needs to pull over to the right side of the road as safely as possible. If the driver is not in the far-right line and needs to get to that lane, use turn signals to indicate when changing lanes as well as when the driver plans to pull to the side of the road.

Slow the car down at a safe speed and be sure to pull over as far to the right as possible to allow the officer to be able to approach the car safely. Turn on the car’s hazard lights to indicate stopping.

Follow the Officer’s Instructions

After pulling over, turn the car off, and keep the hands on the steering wheel. If it is dark outside, be sure to turn on the car’s interior light so the officer can clearly see inside the car.

It can be tempting to start looking for the driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance, but do not do this until the officer asks. Sudden movements can give the officer reason to believe the driver could be armed. If the officer asks for this information, tell him or her where you are reaching to get the items and do so carefully.

Only get out of the car if the officer instructs the driver to do so.

Be Polite and Cooperative

Whether the police officer arrests the driver for a DUI is not within that person’s control. However, it is proven that the more polite the driver is, the less likely it is he or she will be arrested. Do not argue with the police officer and politely refuse to answer his or her questions.

Keep in mind that everything that is said to the officer at this point will be used against the driver. Therefore, it is important that the driver not speak answer any questions. The driver is only required to give the officer his or her name, driver’s license and registration. Anything above that is completely voluntary and generally self-destructive.

It is important that the driver not lie to the officer when asked a question. If a question is asked and the driver believes the answer could incriminate him or her, politely decline to answer until the driver speaks to an attorney first. Silence or asking to speak to an attorney is not an admission to guilt, but making statements that are not truthful can end up harming the person’s case more later down the line.

Field Sobriety Testing is Voluntary

Many drivers are not aware of this fact, but they can say no to field sobriety tests. Under Washington law, submitting to a field sobriety test is completely voluntary.

A driver who is pulled over can decline to take field sobriety tests, but he or she should be prepared to be arrested at that point if he or she does decline to take them. On the other hand, if the officer is asking the driver to do FSTs, they officer is probably going to make a DUI arrest regardless of how the driver performs.

Understanding Implied Consent

Under Washington State’s rule of implied consent, the driver has already consented to taking a breath or blood test by getting behind the wheel. Therefore, refusing to take a breath or blood test could result in severe consequences.

It is generally recommended that the driver take the breath test on the machine located at the police station.

If the driver refuses to take this test, he or she could end up losing his or her driver’s license for at least a year. If the driver blows at a level above the state minimum, it is recommended that a DUI attorney be hired who can help dispute the results of this test or can at least minimize the consequences of them.

Requesting an Independent Test

The driver also has the right to request an independent test of his or her blood-alcohol concentration, which often is a blood draw taken at the hospital.

Blood tests tend to have more accurate results, and if the driver believes the blood test will show that he or she is below the 0.08 minimum, the DUI attorney can help use this to dispute a police breath test result above a 0.08.

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If you’ve been detained or arrested, the experienced defense attorneys at Durflinger Oliver & Associates can help. Call today to schedule your free consultation, 855-712-7371. Ask about our military discount and convenient payment plans.

Posted in DUI
Man with Substance Abuse Issues at Bar

Deferred Prosecution in Washington DUI Cases

One of the main worries of individuals who are facing a driving under the influence (DUI) charge is the effect the charge will have on that driver’s long-term record.

These worries can happen if this is the driver’s first DUI charge, but even more so if the driver is suffering from the disease of alcoholism. Many times, in fact, if the person who was arrested for the DUI is an alcoholic, the normal criminal charges are not considered “enough” in terms of treating the actual disease and ensuring that no future violations happen.

This is where the concept of “deferred prosecution” comes into play.

What Is Deferred Prosecution?

Deferred prosecution is a legal option available for defendants who believe that alcohol abuse or a related disease is the cause for the criminal violation. Deferred prosecution involves an agreement the defendant enters into with the court whereby he or she agrees to complete a drug and alcohol treatment program, along with other strict requirements, to avoid a DUI conviction.

The option of deferred prosecution is only available for individuals who believe that alcoholism, drug addiction or a mental health illness has caused the behavior that led to the initial arrest.

If a defendant seeks this option, he or she is placed under oath and must allege that the criminal conduct for which he or she is being charged is “the result of or caused by substance use disorders or mental problems for which the person is in need of treatment and unless treated the probability of future recurrence is great.” RCW 10.05.020.

The defendant must also agree to pay the cost of diagnosis and treatment if he or she is financially able to afford these costs.

Conditions Associated with Deferred Prosecution

Deferred prosecution is not something to be entered into lightly. It is a program that requires strict compliance with a number of conditions, including the following:

  • The defendant shall not operate a motor vehicle on public highways without both a valid driver’s license and proof of liability insurance, the amount of which will be established by the court;
  • The court shall also order the installation of an ignition interlock device on any vehicle driven by the defendant;
  • The court may also order that the defendant make restitution and pay costs associated with the criminal charges;
  • Normally, the court will order that the defendant attend drug and/or alcohol abuse treatment, attend self-help support groups for alcoholism or drugs, as well as random drug screening to ensure that the defendant is no longer using.

Deferred prosecution programs normally last for two-years. The court may terminate the program upon violation of any of the conditions of the deferred prosecution order. Deferred prosecution is a once in a lifetime type of program, meaning that it cannot be offered a second time. If the defendant fails to meet any of the conditions of the order, he or she will face the original DUI charges.

The case will be dismissed no sooner than three years after successful completion of the treatment program but no less than five years after the defendant entered the deferred prosecution with the court.

This dismissal will keep the DUI from appearing on the defendant’s criminal record as a conviction. Many courts will require that the individual continue to attend at least two self-help meetings weekly for the full five-year duration, but not all require this.

Why Is Deferred Prosecution Important?

If someone is truly suffering from the disease of alcoholism, the odds of that person relapsing at least more than once is high, especially if the person is never treated. Alcoholism is a disease that is never considered “cured,” but the person who considers themselves cured of the disease is actually in recovery.

For these individuals, simply going to jail is not always a helpful option when, in fact, treatment would work much better in terms of fixing the original cause for why the offense happened.

However, the consequences of not successfully completing the program should be discussed at length with the defendant’s criminal attorney before any agreement is made to enter into a deferred prosecution. If the defendant truly believes that he or she can be successful in the program and not face further consequences down the road should the program not be successful, it could be a viable option to at least be considered.

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If you’ve been detained or arrested, the experienced defense attorneys at Durflinger Oliver & Associates can help. Call today to schedule your free consultation, 855-712-7371. Ask about our military discount and convenient payment plans.

Posted in DUI
Drunk Driving Arrest

Common Defenses for DUIs in the State of Washington

Many individuals who have been arrested for a driving under the influence (DUI) in Washington fear that they have no other options.

However, several defenses do exist to help someone facing a DUI charge. These defenses can reduce the charges or even could throw them out altogether.

Below are some of the more common defenses for a DUI offense.

Accumulating Evidence

As soon as someone is pulled over for a possible DUI, law enforcement will begin to accumulate both physical and visual evidence to support the case. This evidence can include the defendant’s behavior and physical appearance, as well as testimony from witnesses and police reports.

In addition, the evidence normally includes at least one or more of the following: field sobriety test results, breath test results or blood test results.

While this evidence can help prove the case, this evidence can help dispute the case, as well.

Lack of Reasonable Suspicion to Stop

One of the first questions a defense attorney will ask is why the police would want to stop the defendant. Generally, a police officer has a pretty low burden of proof when making the decision to pull someone over.

However, certain challenges can be brought to question why the officer pulled the person over. Certain behavior can raise a red flag for intoxicated driving such as speeding, having a headlight or tail light out, not using headlights at night, driving too fast or too slowly or swerving.

However, if the defendant happened to do something that was not illegal but was still pulled over and then failed a field sobriety test, it is possible for the attorney to question the circumstances surrounding being pulled over.

Unlawful Detention

Another question comes up when the officer did not have a legitimate reason for detaining the driver instead of citing him or her for an offense and letting the driver leave. If the violation was something that required a simple citation and nothing more, the detention and keeping the driver there can be challenged. This challenge could be exceptionally strong if the officer did not observe any behavior or indication of the driver being intoxicated.

Many courts have considered it a violation if the initial officer asks for a DUI officer to come and forces the person to stay there for an unreasonable amount of time, especially if no reason exists for suspicion that the driver was intoxicated.

Lack of Probable Cause for Arrest

Another challenge can be brought if the officer did not have probable cause for the arrest. A defense attorney may review the Field Sobriety Test (FST), if one was given, as well as any other factors or behaviors that were observed at the time of the arrest.

If the officer is not able to articulate a reason for the arrest or the facts he or she used to make the arrest were not significant enough to satisfy the probable cause burden, this defense could end up being successful.

Lack of Admissibility of the Breath Test

Washington law enforcement utilize the BAC Datamaster or Datamaster CDM machines and the new Draeger Alcotest 9510 to test a driver’s breath.

If the officer did not follow protocol when administering the test, or if the driver had anything in his or her mouth such as fingers, vomit, water, etc., the test results could be contaminated. Further, if the driver requested to speak with an attorney before taking a breath test, or if the officer denied the driver access, the results could also be ruled inadmissible.

No Warrant to Draw Blood

If the evidence relies heavily on a blood draw done of the defendant, an additional defense can be the admissibility of the blood draw.

A warrant is needed in most situations for a blood draw to be admissible, unless the defendant gave informed consent for the draw. A defense counsel will want to review the warrant itself, ensure that the driver was given a copy of the warrant and a receipt of the blood draw taking place.

Additionally, the defense attorney will want to see if a proper chain of custody occurred with respect to the blood draw, as well as whether proper protocol was followed by the medical personnel who took the defendant’s blood.

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Posted in DUI
Woman Blowing Into Breathalyzer

What to Know About Ignition Interlock Devices in Washington

An ignition interlock device allows the driver to continue to use his or her car but also ensures that the driver is not operating the vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.

These devices allow the driver to continue driving during any Washington license suspension period.

This can be especially helpful for individuals who need to drive during this period of time for their job.

What Is an Ignition Interlock Device?

An Ignition Interlock Device (IID) is an instrument that a driver has to blow into before the vehicle can start. The device measures the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC). It must be at a level below .025 for the car to start.

An IID must be installed by someone certified by the Washington State Patrol, and once installed, the installer will need to submit proof of installation to the state. A list of approved installers can be found at: www.wsp.wa.gov/driver/duiimpaired-driving/ignition-interlock/.

The driver needs to submit proof of the ignition interlock device and proof of SR-22 insurance. Once all of this has been submitted and the Washington DOL has approved the ignition interlock license (IIL) application, the driver can operate the vehicle at any time so long as the car is equipped with an IID

Who Is Required to Install an IID?

Defendants who have been convicted for an alcohol or drug-related DUI or Physical Control of a Motor Vehicle are required to install an IID. Previously, an IID was not mandatory, but it has now been made a mandatory requirement. The same would go for some convictions involving reckless driving or negligent driving. Courts additionally have discretion to order IIDs to be installed, depending on the crime involved.

An IID will be required to be installed in any vehicle the defendant drives. If the defendant has to drive an employer-owned vehicle during the work day, he or she can submit an Employer Declaration for Ignition Interlock Exemption to avoid getting the IID installed in the car. However, if the employer’s vehicle is only assigned to the defendant for commuting to and from work, the IID will still need to be installed on the car.

How Long Does the IID Need to Be Installed?

How long an IID needs to be installed depends on the offense committed.

If the conviction is for reckless driving, the IID normally needs to be installed for at least six months. If the conviction was for negligent driving, the IID also needs to be installed for a period of at least six months. If the defendant was convicted of a DUI offense or physical control over a motor vehicle, the length of time the IID needs to be installed depends on how many prior offenses have been committed.

If it is the defendant’s first offense, the IID must be installed for at least one year. For the second offense, the term can be at least five years. For any subsequent offenses, the defendant must have the device installed for at least ten years.

Certificate of Compliance

Once the defendant has completed the required IID time period, a certificate of compliance will be submitted to the court. The certificate will normally come directly from the IID vendor. However, if the driver violates any of the provisions of the IID, the compliance period will restart.

Violating the IID requirement is essentially considered a probation violation, which could mean jail time for the defendant. Most courts will also consider a violation as a completely separate offense, resulting in an additional criminal charge.

How Much Does an IID Cost?

The defendant will be responsible for paying for all costs associated with an IID, including the cost of installing, leasing and removing the device, costs of maintaining proof of financial responsibility or the insurance certificate, the non-refundable ignition interlock license application, and the monthly IID Revolving Account fee that is created to help drivers who have low income and cannot afford to pay the costs of the device.

If the driver cannot pay for the costs of the IID, this inability to afford the device can put him or her in a difficult position, especially if the driver needs to get to and from work.

Washington does offer assistance for low-income drivers during this time period. It requires an application from the defendant, and if the application is approved, the program will reimburse the provider $80 per month for services including installation, the monthly lease fee, the cost of removing the device, and the costs associated with transferring the device to another vehicle, if needed.

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If you’ve been detained or arrested, the experienced defense attorneys at Durflinger Oliver & Associates can help. Call today to schedule your free consultation, 855-712-7371. Ask about our military discount and convenient payment plans.

Posted in DUI

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