Although drunk driving accidents and fatalities have decreased over the last decade, they still account for 31 percent of the nationwide auto accident fatalities. In Spokane, local numbers are consistent with what is seen on a national basis. A drunk driver behind the wheel who is impaired by drinking, drugs, or both, is a recipe for an accident and possible injury and death.
It has been reported that starting July 1st, there will be an increased emphasis on drunk driving in the Spokane area. An additional six troopers and a sergeant will start work on July 1st and their primary goal will be to catch drunk drivers.
Receiving a DUI is a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. In addition to possible jail and fine, an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle, SR22 Insurance, alcohol treatment, and probation are all components of receiving a DUI.
An officer must have a reason to pull you over as DUI checkpoints are illegal in Washington State. There are a multitude of reasons and causes that can lead to a stop. An officer can almost always find something for a pull you over for if they really want to. It is important to make sure all the mechanical things work on your car. Lights, turn signals, brake lights, seatbelts, etc. Make sure you are following all rules of the road in regards to speed, signaling, passing, stops, etc. Most of the DUI stops are for someone breaking one of these simple rules. If you have been drinking, you should be using extra caution while driving to keep yourself and others safe. However, this does not always seem to be the case which leads to accidents, stops, and DUI arrests. Murphy's Law has a way of sneaking in when you least want it to.
If you are pulled over and have been drinking we recommend the following guidelines. Give the officer your license, insurance card, and registration when asked. Do not answer any questions, and if asked if you've been drinking just say I would rather not answer any questions. If an officer suspects you have been drinking they will continue with their investigation.
Things to Do:
1. Give your license, insurance, and registration. Keep in an easy area to access.
2. Get out of the car when asked.
3. Be courteous and polite and don't argue.
4. If you are arrested and taken to the station it is generally best to take the Breathalyzer test. If you don't you risk an automatic 1-2 year license suspension.
5. Ask to speak with an attorney.
Things NOT to Do:
1. Don't answer any questions that may incriminate you and indicate you have been drinking.
2. Don't take the field sobriety tests. These are voluntary and can be refused. These tests are very subjective and difficult for a sober person to complete without failing.
3. Don't take the portable breath test at the scene which is also voluntary.
The police use the field sobriety tests and portable breath test to help build probable cause to suspect whether you have been drinking or impaired, so you don't want to assist them to build a case against you. If your demeanor is good, and impairment is not obvious, you have a better chance of being let go.
If you are arrested for a DUI or other criminal traffic charge call Russell West at 509-993-0748 for a free consultation and questions regarding your case. Russell West will work diligently to ensure the the best outcomes possible.