If you have been charged with a DUI in Seattle, you are likely scared and confused of the possible outcome of your case. It may be that you have failed the blood test going well over the allowed limit. Because of that, you may be considering simply pleading guilty and suffering the consequences.
On face value, your decision might make a lot of sense. Looking at the case straight on it appears to be cut and dry. You likely believe that if your blood test is over the limit you will be found guilty anyway, correct? Not necessarily. In many incidences, a successful DUI attorney might be able to prove that the test is inadmissible. If successful, the inadmissible test will not be used against you.
In fact, a skilled Seattle DUI attorney might be able to help you in a variety of ways to find any test or evidence against you inadmissible. These could include:
• Insufficient Grounds for Pulling You Over – When you were pulled over, the officer might not have had sufficient grounds to stop your vehicle. If your attorney can prove that to the prosecutor or judge, any evidence that was collected by the officer after the stop including the field sobriety test could be excluded.
• Insufficient Grounds for the Test – Even if the officer is found to have sufficient grounds for pulling you over, they might not have grounds to give you the test. If your attorney can prove this in court, the field test and any other subsequent chemical test taken at the police station will be inadmissible.
• An Invalidated Test – Many times officers are not provided with adequate training to perform the standardized field sobriety test, or the testing equipment does not meet the acceptable standards. If your attorney is able to invalidate the field sobriety test you took before your arrest, then most likely any subsequent chemical test taken at the police station might also be inadmissible.
• “DashCam” Video Evidence – More than likely the police vehicle DashCam video was recording during your test. If the officer administering the test concluded that your efforts failed, the DashCam video might prove that you in fact passed. If so, any subsequent chemical test taken at the police station could likely be inadmissible.
• No Probable Cause – If the officer chose not to administer the field sobriety test but elected to arrest you for DUI based on other evidence including your appearance of being impaired they may not have had probable cause. Other information including footage from the DashCam video recorder might show insufficient probable cause, which might find any subsequent chemical test inadmissible.
• Improper Testing – Sometimes the test equipment used to perform a chemical analysis on your blood is not properly calibrated or maintained. This can produce unreliable evidence, which could be inadmissible.
Skilled Seattle DUI attorneys have years of experience in proving how evidence by the prosecutor’s office is inadmissible for a variety of reasons. An experienced lawyer can thoroughly evaluate and investigate every aspect of your case. Their efforts can help to determine if they can make a good argument in making any or all of the evidence against you inadmissible in a court of law.
A Case Study
A Seattle DUI attorney noted that a client of his had been stopped, tested and arrested for driving under the influence late one night. In fact, the officer had arrived at the scene of an accident where a vehicle hit a tree and the driver sitting in the car ended up in the middle of the road. Even though the airbag had deployed, the driver said he was okay, and exited the vehicle. It was then that the officer noted that he appeared to have been drinking.
The officer asked the driver if he had been drinking, to which he replied he had one drink before getting behind the wheel. The officer then said he wanted to conduct a field sobriety test to which the driver refused. The officer then began to coerce the driver, and offered legal advice concerning his rights of what would happen in his case when arrested for DUI. His coercing efforts finally persuaded the driver to reluctantly give in to take the test.
After the experienced Seattle DUI lawyer had reviewed the evidence in the case including the officer’s vehicle DashCam, the recorded evidence proved damaging to the prosecutor’s case. The recorded evidence clearly showed that the officer had provided legal advice, even though he was not a licensed attorney in the state of Washington.
The officer’s coercing techniques made the field sobriety test inadmissible as evidence in court. In fact, the officer had never taken into account that the airbag had deployed and this might have been why the driver was unable to perform the field sobriety test. After the prosecutor’s office reviewed the actions of the arresting officer as recorded at the scene of the accident, all charges were dismissed.
Hiring a Skilled Attorney
There are many circumstances in your DUI case where evidence might have been obtained improperly, or the police mishandled the arrest. It may be that there were insufficient grounds for the stop and any subsequent testing. It might be that the officer arresting you for DUI had no baseline to judge your performance when taking the test in the field.
In fact, the officer might not have taken in consideration that your poor performance during your sobriety test was a result of a variety of factors in the field that could include:
• Inclement weather
• Slippery terrain or uneven surfaces
• A darkened test area
• Glaring police lights
• Unsuitable dress shoes, high heels or boots
• Being injured, scared and/or nervous
Even individuals that have not had any alcohol to drink might find it struggling to perform the field sobriety test under any one of these conditions. There might have been any other reason other than being intoxicated that could have caused you to fail the test.
Washington state law concerning driving under the influence is continually evolving. Because of that, it takes a skilled DUI defense lawyer to determine if a mistake has been made in stopping, testing and arresting you for the alleged charge of driving drunk. In addition, a hunch or an assumption is not enough for an officer to arrest you for a DUI.