Washington State DUI Arrest - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Here are some answers to the many questions I'm asked about DUI Laws and
procedures in Washington State. The categories of Frequently Asked Questions are as follows:
Washington State Drunk Driving Arrest - FAQs:
- I wasn't drunk, why was I charged with a DUI?
- I refused to take the road side tests, was that ok?
- I refused to blow into the PBT, was that ok?
- I refused the breath test at the station, was that ok?
- The officer never read me my rights, is that legal?
- How would I have contacted an attorney the night I was arrested?
- Why didn't I receive a ticket or a notice to appear in court the night I
- My license was punched the night of my arrest, is it valid?
I wasn't drunk, why was I charged with a DUI?
In Washington State, you do not need to be "drunk"; the
prosecutor only needs to prove that you were "affected by
alcohol". The State will use the officer's testimony regarding his/her
observations about your driving and physical observations to try to convict
I refused to take the road side tests, was that ok?
Road side tests are voluntary and you do NOT need to perform these
maneuvers. The prosecutor will use these tests against you. As a trained
SFST instructor, I would not take the tests if given the opportunity.
I refused to blow into the PBT, was that ok?
While an officer may try to convince you that refusing the portable
breath test device will result in the lose of your driver's license; this is
incorrect. You will NOT lose your driver's license if you refuse the
portable breath test in Washington State.
I refused the breath test at the station, was that ok?
That depends. The prosecutor will use the test against you if:
- You blew
over the legal limit
- You blew under the legal limit
- You refused to give a
sample of your breath
As you can see - the prosecution will use EVERYTHING
against you in court. However, if you refuse, you must remember that the
Department of Licensing will attempt to take your driver's license for at
least one year, and the State/City will attempt to take your driver's
license for at least two years. The decision really requires that you talk
to me before you give a sample or refuse a sample while at the station. ASK
the officer to talk to ME when you arrive at the police station.
The officer never read me my rights, is that legal?
That depends. An officer is required to advise you of your Miranda rights
before he/she interrogates you. The officer need not advise you of your
rights if you are not being interrogated. On the other hand, if you are not
free to go and the officer asks you questions, he/she should advise you of
You should always ask an officer when he/she first addresses you,
"Am I under arrest?"
How would I have contacted an attorney the night I was arrested?
Ask the officer for an attorney. Most officers will place you in contact
with an on call attorney, or give you a phone book. Some officers will be
helpful. You can keep my number in your wallet (425) 422-5818. I am
available for a consultation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Why didn't I receive a ticket or a notice to appear in court the night I
Some officers will not give you a citation for DUI the night you are
arrested. They will forward the report to the prosecutor, who will review
the information and will charge you. In some jurisdictions, the government
may wait 6 months or more before you are summoned into court.
The important thing to note is if your driver's license was punched, you
now have a civil action pending against you.
My license was punched the night of my arrest, is it valid?
If you had a valid driver's license before your arrest, the punch in your
license tells us that the Department of Licensing has commenced a civil
action against you. Your license is now valid for 60 days following your
Contact me ASAP at (425) 422-5818 to discuss your civil action. I will
advise you exactly when to send in the form that the officer gave you when
he/she punched your driver's license.
[more WA DUI FAQs
Please call me for your free consultation to discuss any of these
questions and how they may apply in your case, or if you have additional
questions that I haven't covered.
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