DUI Conviction Tossed Over Language Barrier

Everyone who is stopped and arrested for DUI in Washington has the right to make a knowing and intelligent decision to take (or not) a breath and/or blood test. Before deciding to take (or not) a breath and/or blood test an individual is notified of his rights pursuant to RCW 46.20.308. The information contained in the “implied consent warnings” must be conveyed in a manner easily understood by the subject facing the prospect of giving a breath/ blood sample. This principle was recently upheld by the Washington State Supreme Court.

In January Washington’s Supreme Court threw out a man’s conviction for drunken driving, saying the state never proved that he was advised in Spanish about his right to an independent blood test.

Jose Matilde Morales was arrested for DUI after he allegedly caused a motor vehicle accident in Lewis County in 2004. While Mr. Morales was being treated at a hospital, a state trooper asked an interpreter to read him his rights in Spanish, including his right to an independent blood test. At Mr. Morales’ trial the interpreter was never called to testify, and the state never proved that Mr. Morales actually received and understood the warning. Morales was convicted of hit-and-run, DUI and reckless driving.

Mr. Morales challenged his DUI and reckless driving convictions, saying the state-administered blood test should not have been allowed into evidence. The Supreme Court agreed in an 8-1 decision. Justice Charles Wiggins wrote for the majority that the right to an independent blood test is an important part of a defendant’s ability to defend himself at trial. By not proving that Mr. Morales was read his implied consent rights in a manner that he understood, he was unjustly denied his ability to adequately defend himself against the criminal charges brought against him.

Only a savvy DUI attorney would understand the importance of such an important, case changing issue. With the increase in government filings of DUI and other criminal complaints, it is critical to retain a reputable and qualified Seattle DUI lawyer when arrested for DUI in Washington State. The right Seattle DUI attorney will be worth his/her weight in gold when protecting your rights, freedom and future. The Seattle DUI attorneys that make up the litigation team of SQ Attorneys are dedicated to defending those accused of drunk driving. They have the experience, knowledge and resources to successfully defend your case. Unlike other law firms that practice in many areas of the law, SQ Attorneys is focused on criminal defense representation with an emphasis on DUI defense in Western Washington.

If you or a loved one is faced with a DUI charge in Western Washington, you deserve the assistance of a reputable and qualified Seattle DUI attorney who will relentlessly defend your case. You deserve a Seattle DUI lawyer who has an intimate understanding of Washington DUI laws and the legal issues that could win your case. You deserve a Seattle DUI attorney who is not afraid to stand up against the prosecution and aggressively fight for your rights and interests. SQ Attorneys is the right Western Washington DUI law firm for the job. Call for a free initial consultation – (206) 441.0900 (Seattle); (425) 998-8384 (Eastside) – it will be the best decision you make all day.

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