DUI Patrol During the Holidays?

SQ Attorneys

The holidays have arrived and DUI patrol is out in full force. Facing a charge of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) can be scary. For many people, a drunk driving stop is their first interaction with the criminal justice system. Due to increased drunk driving on and around the holidays, it is becoming more common for police departments to focus on DUI enforcement around the Country during this time of the year. This is for a good reason: Drunk drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher cause 38% of fatalities around the holiday season.

A DUI can be costly for you, as well. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that a DWI conviction costs over $10,000 in fines and legal fees for first-time offenders.

DUI checkpoints are illegal in Washington state but in many other states, a sign giving you a warning that a roadblock is up ahead, a line of cars, and the flashing lights of several police cars. At these checkpoints, police can: 1) Stop you and ask you questions (remember that you have the right to remain silent); 2) Request your license and insurance documentation; 3) Look for signs of alcohol or drug use; 4) Ask you to perform a field sobriety test and 5) Ask you to submit to a breathalyzer or drug swabs.

Remember to answer or refuse to answer questions politely so that the situation does not escalate. It can be nerve-wracking, but understanding how to handle yourself when pulled over by police can help.

It is legal to turn around before you stop at a DUI checkpoint so long as you don’t break any traffic laws doing so (i.e., making an illegal u-turn). Driving recklessly or committing a violation will be a sure way to attract law enforcement’s attention.

Under state law, you consent to certain tests for driver impairment when you register for a driver’s license. This is called “implied consent.” In most states, this refers to an evidentiary breath, blood, or urine test. If you refuse a Breathalyzer test, or a urine or blood test, you may lose your license.

Any reading above the legal limit is, per se, illegal, meaning a motorist can get a DUI even if they don’t feel drunk or drive poorly.

You do have the right to refuse to test. In most states, refusing to take a roadside BAC breath test or a field sobriety test will not subject you to implied consent penalties. However, if the police officer reasonably suspects you are under the influence, you may still be arrested on suspicion of driving drunk. Even if you ultimately do not face charges, but you refuse to submit to evidentiary testing, you could still lose your license or face stiffer penalties.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a criminal charge, immediately contact a Seattle DUI Attorney. A Criminal lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle DUI Lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their criminal charge, and many times even get them dismissed. So it should go without saying that someone cited for a misdemeanor or felony should hire a qualified Seattle DUI Lawyer as soon as possible. Criminal charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with a crime in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle Criminal Lawyer. SQ Attorneys can be reached at (425) 359-3791 and/or (206) 441-0900.

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