So What Is Happening With DUI Arrests Since The Keller Decision?

Well, it does not seem to be an abundance of dismissed cases. If you are facing a DUI or Physical Control charge, this might not be the information you were looking for. 

Multiple Prongs To The DUI Statute

Since the DUI statute in Washington allows for conviction based on “affected by” rather than requiring a breathalyzer or blood sample result, it is not that difficult for a prosecutor to convict a defendant if there is evidence of bad driving, signs of impairment, smell of alcohol, or an accident. 

Your Choice Is A Bit More Of A Gamble

If your breathalyzer was “tossed,” it might be worth going to trial but, if you are convicted, expect the prosecutor to push for much harsher penalties than if you plead. This kind of decision should be made with the advice of a very experienced LOCAL criminal defense attorney. Lawyers in other parts of the state will not know the “culture” of a prosecutor’s office and the likelihood consequences could be more severe.

Remember, even though breathalyzer results are not being considered in many cases throughout the state of Washington, our state still is an Implied Consent state—meaning you consent to a breathalyzer if you exercise the privilege of driving on Washington roadways. For this reason, having a breath test thrown out is VERY different than refusing to submit to the test. 

If you decide not to submit to the breath test only because you think it’s pointless, think again! If you say no to the test, a “refusal” will be entered in the officer’s report. A refusal carries much more severe penalties and allows the prosecutor to argue your refusal at trial. 

The “Refusal” Issue

Furthermore, not submitting to the breathalyzer doesn’t really help you. The officer will eventually get a blood draw, you will be tagged with a “refusal,” the prosecutor can easily convict you under the “affected by” prong of the statute, and the refusal makes it much more likely that the prosecutor will not only add the additional “refusal” mandatory penalties but will also refuse to negotiate with the defense attorney for a better resolution. 

Even though the breath test could be thrown out, the act of cooperation not only keeps options open to you, limits penalties, and means you won’t face the 6-12 month wait for the toxicology lab results. 

The Very Very Long Wait For Blood Results

People who refused the breathalyzer are now facing 6-12 months of waiting for the tox lab result, have a pending refusal consequence, and are often missing the DOL hearing notice. Since people move during the 12 month wait for the blood result, the notice for the civil DOL hearing is never seen and the individual ends up suspended and later arrested for driving on a suspended license—a SECOND CRIMINAL CHARGE. 

The Criminal Charge Might Be “On Hold” But Your Civil Case Might Not

Remember, when you get arrested for DUI, there are two things happening—a civil (DOL) and a criminal punishment proposed. Whether you are aware of these two tracks and their unique notices and timelines, you can still face very stiff penalties regardless. You are deemed to know and, as such, you can face criminal suspension and jail as well as civil suspension of your license through DOL. 

We Can Monitor the Situation

The best way to monitor all the potential consequences and timelines is to hire a private criminal defense attorney in the area where you were arrested to monitor the case. A public defender won’t help because they are only assigned AFTER your Arraignment. If you never got notice of your Arraignment court date, that clearly doesn’t help and now you have a warrant for your arrest.

Dismissed At Arraignment but Not Really Over

If you were arrested in Kitsap County and wondering why your case was dismissed prior to Arraignment, contact our office. In many cases, the prosecutor does not want to blow through speedy trial timelines since your blood test won’t be returned in time. However, it is also very likely, you will be receiving a Summons in 6-12 months when you will have to deal with the case. If you do not receive the Summons and Fail to Appear (FTA), you will likely have a Warrant for your arrest and your license will be suspended by DOL as part of the civil track. 

Don’t let that happen to you. We monitor cases until they are charged or declined. You can go on with your life while we keep track of any collateral consequences that might be occurring in the meantime.