Yes. In the vast majority of DUI arrests, it is a bad idea to refuse the BAC. Washington is an implied consent state so, by driving on our roads, you agree to avail yourself to such tests when requested by law enforcement.
The problem is that not all states are implied consent states so people who move to Washington or are relocated due to military service refuse the test based on advice from their home state. The prosecutor does not care and will still add the special allegation of refusal.
This does not mean you should give up hope. An experienced DUI attorney can review the reports for factual and legal arguments that might refute the special allegation.
I Heard All BAC Results Are Getting Thrown Out
That issue has essentially passed. Do not get bad advice from old articles or friends who are not DUI lawyers. If there is an issue with your BAC test, your DUI attorney will certainly be reviewing that issue.
However, “all tests are thrown out” is a myth that continues to be spread and is leading to worse outcomes for misinformed defendants. Furthermore, a prosecutor in Washington state does not need a BAC to prosecute you for DUI. Additionally, the fact that you refused the BAC can be argued to the jury as a sign of guilt. (i.e. Why would a sober person refuse the BAC?)
Unfortunately, these misinformed individuals call us months after they were arraigned because they were certain the case would be dismissed. If you listen to inexperienced people (i.e. anyone who has not handled hundreds of DUI cases), you are making a big mistake!
If you proceed under this inaccurate assumption, you are wasting valuable time to mitigate the damage of the charge. By the time people call us to “clean up” the case, the prosecutor has often drawn a line in the sand as far as negotiations. That is not good!
I Refused So They Took My Blood
We also get many calls about the “legality” of a blood draw after the person refused the BAC. Often, the accused feels as though there is a defense because they did not consent or they believe there was no warrant for the blood draw.
Unfortunately, that is a losing argument in about 99% of cases. It is quite easy for an officer to get a warrant for a blood draw. And, if there was any type of accident, a blood draw is customary as part of the investigation.
What To Expect
If you refused the BAC (not the roadside tests), you will have an extra challenge in your case. For that reason alone, you need to have an experienced and local DUI attorney. Some counties are tougher about this and will not budge on the allegation while others might consider it as part of a negotiation.
Even within one prosecutor’s office, the outcomes can vary. An experienced local defense attorney who has been practicing in a jurisdiction for a decade or more will know how your situation is likely to play out based on which prosecutor is handling your case. Unfortunately, personalities and experience (or lack of) within the prosecutor’s office can have an impact on the process.
While the discrepancy in outcomes may not seem fair, it is important that our clients be aware of all relevant issues and that we protect their rights and options as much as possible. From the moment an accused person becomes our client, we are analyzing every option for a dismissal or ways in which we can mitigate the damage of a criminal charge. Good people make mistakes and one bad decision should not destroy your future.
If you or a loved one is facing a criminal charge, reach out to one of our attorneys to see how we can help. We are here 7 days a week. (360) 792-1000