More than 200 drivers were booked during the recent Independence Day weekend on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Between July 1 and 5, Washington State Patrol troopers arrested 211 motorists on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI). During the same time period last year, troopers arrested 234 motorists for suspected DUI.
According to The Seattle Times, “the decrease comes amid a recent overall increase in the number of fatal accidents in which narcotics were a factor.”
In 2014, the troopers recorded 178 fatal collisions involving drug-positive drivers. In 2015 the number increased to 203.
Driving under the influence refers to operating a vehicle while affected by alcohol, drugs or both. This applies to both legal and illegal drugs, including prescription medication and over-the-counter drugs.
A driver may be charged with DUI if the results of a breath or blood test show the amount of alcohol in the driver's blood to be:
- .08 or higher for adults age 21 and older,
- .04 or higher for commercial vehicle drivers,
- .02 or higher for minors younger than 21.
A driver also can be charged with DUI if he or she is found to be driving a vehicle while affected by alcohol, any drug, or a combination of alcohol and drugs, regardless of the concentration of alcohol in their breath or blood samples. In 2012, the definition of a drug was expanded to include any chemical inhaled or ingested for its intoxicating or hallucinatory effects.
Alcohol is involved in about 40 percent of the traffic collisions in which someone is killed, according to the Washington State Department of Licensing
Alcohol and drug-related offenses appear on a motorist's driving record for life. A first conviction can result in a sentence of up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $5,000, and a license suspended for up to two years.
Prior convictions of alcohol violations can result in additional penalties, including 150 days of home detention and license suspension or revocation of up to four years. Other possible penalties include:
• Required proof of insurance
• License reapplication, testing and fees,
• Seizure and loss of the defendant's vehicle, and
• Use of an ignition interlock device for 10 or more years, installed at the driver's expense.
Additional penalties apply if the driver has a passenger in the vehicle who is younger than 16.
An arrest for driving under the influence can have long-lasting and costly consequences. No matter the circumstances, every motorist who finds themselves facing charges of DUI has the right to representation by a qualified attorney. If you have been arrested, call the Seattle law office of Steve Karimi at (206) 621-8777 or contact him online.