A Lakewood, Washington police officer has been arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol while behind the wheel of his police vehicle. The officer has been in law enforcement for the last 20 years and 14 of those years have been spent with the Lakewood Police Department. In late September, Gig Harbor police responded to an accident involving only one car and driver. Upon further investigation, the driver appeared to be intoxicated and it was discovered that he was an off-duty officer for the Lakewood PD. The crashed vehicle was his unmarked police vehicle, owned by the city of Lakewood. The officer was arrested for DUI and released later that night. He has been placed on administrative leave, but criminal charges have yet to be filed. The Washington State Patrol is now investigating the incident.
Police Officer DUI Arrests
The Henry A. Wallace Police Crime Database was created by Dr. Philip M. Stinson, a professor in the criminal justice program at the Bowling Green State University. “The police crime database includes summary information on 9,088 criminal arrest cases from the years 2005-2013 involving 7,518 individual non federal sworn law enforcement officers, each of whom were charged with one or more crimes.” The arrested officers were employed by 3,140 different municipal, state, and special law enforcement agencies in 1,402 counties in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Between 2005 and 2013 there were 7,518 officers arrested in 9,088 different criminal cases. Of those, 1,382 were police officers who were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, much like the Lakewood officer mentioned above. Nearly 20% of law enforcement officers arrested during the eight-year window were arrested for driving under the influence.
Washington State Police Officer DUI Arrests
Officers are people too. They are neither infallible, nor impervious to the law. Officers in Washington, and more specifically in King County, are no exception. The police crime database allows users to search by location. In the state of Washington, there were 98 officers arrested between 2005 and 2013. Nearly 40% of Washington's police officers arrested were officers located in King County. Of the 98 officers arrested in the state, 23 police officers were charged with driving under the influence. Eight of those officers arrested were working for a King County law enforcement agency.
Arrested for a DUI in Washington State
In Washington State, any “person is guilty of driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, marijuana, or any drug if the person drives a vehicle within this state:
- And the person has, within two hours after driving, an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher as shown by analysis of the person's breath or blood; or
- The person has, within two hours after driving, a THC concentration of 5.00 or higher as shown by analysis of the person's blood; or
- While the person is under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor, marijuana, or any drug; or
- While the person is under the combined influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor, marijuana, and any drug.”
Most DUI charges under this law are a gross misdemeanor, but there are several circumstances in which the penalty can be substantially higher. Every outcome depends on the circumstances of each case and on the quality of your legal representation. A DUI arrest does not have to mean a conviction. If you or a loved one has been arrested for a DUI in the Seattle area, you need an experienced defense attorney Steve Karimi. Contact the Law Offices of Steve Karimi today.