Woman Arrested on Suspicion of DUI Actually Had a Stroke, Reports Show

Washington DUI Attorney Mark W. Garka Says Not All DUI Arrests Are Legitimate

Not all arrests for driving under the influence are legitimate or provable beyond a reasonable doubt. In fact, certain medical conditions can mimic the symptoms of drug or alcohol intoxication, as evidenced by the December 2017 arrest of a 64-year-old woman from Edmonds who had not been drinking. Although arresting officers said the driver, Mrs. C. Carlson, appeared disoriented, with bloodshot eyes, and failed a field sobriety test, she was not, in fact, intoxicated. Instead, after considerable twists and turns in her extraordinary story, the Kitsap County prosecutor dismissed her DUI charge in July 2018 based on the fact that no alcohol had been detected in her blood administered after her arrest, and her symptoms of disorientation were attributed to a stroke diagnosed in the weeks following her arrest.

Mrs. Carlson was released from the Port Orchard Jail the morning following her arrest, but she then proceeded to wander the surrounding streets in a mental fog, without a coat, her cellphone, or medications for four days. She eventually wound up in a Bremerton homeless shelter and was only taken to a doctor after she suffered a seizure. While at the hospital, she was eventually diagnosed as having had a stroke at some point in the days leading up to her DUI arrest. A year after her unfortunate arrest, Mrs. Carlson is still recovering and piecing together the details of the time she lost because of the stroke-induced amnesia. She has since regained her ability to speak, her balance has returned, and she hasn’t had another seizure. To date, she continues to live independently at her Edmonds home.

This is not the only instance of a driver being arrested on suspicion of drunk driving resulting in the prosecutor dropping the charges. As a former prosecutor myself, I know how these attorneys think and how they go about assembling a case against a DUI suspect. Evidence of a blood alcohol level above 0.08% is usually absolutely necessary to clinch a conviction, and yet Mrs. Carlson had no alcohol detected in her blood. Because of this, the events following her arrest were particularly unusual and showed poor insight by the arresting officers.

Not all DUI cases are straightforward. Although few can claim such a remarkable story as Mrs. Carlson’s, it is possible to be found innocent of drunk driving if the prosecution cannot prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. If you or your loved one has been arrested for drunk driving, don’t delay seeking legal representation from a DUI attorney with trial experience.

Do not hesitate: Contact me, Attorney Mark Garka, at (888) 252-1961 for a free consultation in Snohomoish County.

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