On a recent Thursday morning, a Washington State trooper busted a drunk driver who had more than six times the legal limit of alcohol in his system.
Just before 10:30 a.m., Washington State Patrol dispatchers received a call from a citizen advising that a silver Volvo was being driven erratically on northbound Interstate 5 near Shoreline, about 20 minutes north of Seattle. A trooper was dispatched and found the vehicle about 20 minutes later. It had been pulled into a grassy area just off the shoulder of the interstate. The car was still running and the driver was passed out with his foot on the brake.
When the trooper could not rouse the 31-year-old driver, he called the fire department for assistance. The driver was taken to a local hospital for observation. A blood test showed the driver had a blood alcohol concentration of .480 which is six times the legal limit of .080. The man remained at the hospital, likely suffering from alcohol poisoning.
“Alcohol poisoning is a serious — and sometimes deadly — consequence of drinking large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time,” according to the Mayo Clinic online. “Drinking too much too quickly can affect your breathing, heart rate, body temperature and gag reflex and potentially lead to a coma and death.”
The level of alcohol in the driver's blood combined with the results of a search of the Volvo, which turned up open containers of alcohol, resulted in the driver's arrest.
Washington State Patrol officials also said the driver had three previous convictions for driving under the influence in another state. When a driver from another state is cited for DUI in Washington, the information is forwarded to officials in the driver's home state where additional action may be taken by that court system.
A conviction for a first DUI in Washington can result in jail time ranging from a couple days to as long as a year behind bars, and a fine ranging from $500 to $5,000. It also will result in suspension of your driver's license, which in turn affects your livelihood if you are required to drive for work.
Some convicted drunk drivers are eligible for Ignition Interlock Driver Licenses. The driver pays for the device to be installed in his or her vehicle and must provide a clean breath sample each time before the vehicle will start.
Everyone makes mistakes. Regardless of the circumstances, anyone charged with driving under the influence deserves the best defense. If you have been arrested and face criminal charges, call the Seattle law office of Steve Karimi at (206) 621-8777 or contact him online.