What is Evidence in a DUI Case?
In order for you to be convicted of a DUI offense in Washington, a jury must be convinced of your guilt. Prosecutors will rarely rely on the arresting officer's testimony alone and depend on evidence to show to the jury that you were intoxicated and guilty of breaking the law. It is important for anyone facing DUI charges to understand the types of evidence involved in their case. There are many factors that can be used as evidence against you. If you are concerned about what evidence the State may have against you, contact an experienced Seattle attorney right away to find out more about DUI evidence.
Types of DUI Evidence
Some of the strongest evidence against suspects of DUI in Washington is the results of their sobriety tests. There are two types of sobriety test that police will typically ask a DUI suspect to perform in order to determine whether or not they are impaired. These tests include field sobriety tests and chemical sobriety tests. In the state of Washington anyone accused of DUI can legally decline taking a field sobriety test without penalty. Chemical sobriety tests, however, are part of Implied Consent which means that, as a condition of being issued a driver's license, all drivers give their Implied Consent to take a chemical sobriety test when asked. If the driver refuses, they're violating Implied Consent and will be charged for that violation.
Because chemical sobriety tests are an important piece of evidence for the State to use against DUI suspects, anyone who refuses the test may have say stronger chance of fighting their charges because there is no way to prove that they were legally intoxicated. This does not mean, however, the charges will be dropped or that people accused of DUI should refuse to take these tests. Violation of implied consent will negatively affect your license and lead to a minimum of 1 year of suspension. Even without the results of a sobriety test, a case can still be made against you based on arresting officer's testimony and other evidence gathered at the crime scene. Police officers are trained to look for visual cues of impairment in a driver such as red eyes, slurred speech, the odor of drugs or alcohol on the suspect's breath and other telltale signs that a substance has been consumed. The presence of an open container or drugs in the vehicle at the time of arrest, for example, can be evident that the substance was consumed. If an accident occurred, it could be used as proof that the driver was impaired.
Challenging DUI Evidence
The two types of sobriety tests are usually the strongest evidence the prosecution has against DUI offenders. The first type of tests is field sobriety tests which are physical tasks that the suspect must perform in order to demonstrate whether or not they are physically impaired. The second is chemical sobriety tests, such a blood, breath, or urine tests. These tests measure the amount of drugs or alcohol in the suspect's system. In Washington, the legal limit of alcohol concentration for an adult over 21 is .08%. The legal THC concentration is .05. If a sobriety test determines that you are over this limit, you will face per se DUI charges and 90 days of license suspension based solely on these results.
The good news for anyone facing DUI charges is that all sobriety tests have flaws. Your DUI defense attorney can challenge these results in court and demonstrate for the jury how these tests can sometimes be inaccurate. Field sobriety tests, for example, require a suspect to walk a straight line or stand on one leg without using their arms to steady themselves. This can be difficult for a sober person to perform in the comfort of their own home. Anyone who is under pressure, fearing their arrest or by the side of a busy road may, understandably, have trouble performing these tasks even if they have not had a drink. Additionally, people with health conditions such as diabetes may have difficulty steadying themselves in any situation. Even chemical sobriety tests can be challenged. If these tests were not performed properly or the samples were not handled correctly, this could lead to inconclusive results. Your attorney can demonstrate to the court how something like the amount of food in a person's system could affect a breathalyzer test and how other factors can commonly lead to skewed results.
Seattle DUI Evidence Lawyer
Attorney Steve Karimi is a knowledgeable DUI lawyer who understands the legal process and the best ways to build a defense. He is a former Washington State prosecutor and knows what types of evidence are the strongest as well as how to challenge them. For the best defense to your Seattle DUI case, call The Law Offices of Steve Karimi today.