The Washington State Patrol released data on the number of party-goers arrested for driving under the influence over St. Patrick's Day weekend. Pierce and Thurston counties claimed 35 total arrests including five collisions, and King County saw 59 arrests. Arrest data is still pending release from Snohomish and Whatcom counties. In Washington, the legal limit is .08 percent.
DUI defense attorney Steve Karimi explains when a police officer can pull you over, the commonly used sobriety tests and why the results of these tests are often inaccurate.
When Can A Police Officer Pull Me Over?
A driver is pulled over when a police officer has reasonable suspicion to believe that the driver has consumed too much alcohol. Swerving, tailgating, erratic braking, abrupt turning, and failure to maintain a consistent speed are among the signs that alert police to a potential DUI.
What Are Field Sobriety Tests?
Police give field sobriety tests after they pull over a driver suspected to be impaired. To evaluate a driver's ability to follow instructions and to observe physical signs of alcohol impairment, a police officer will administer one or more roadside tests. A driver is required to balance on one foot for 30 seconds or walk in a straight line while touching heel to toe with each step. The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test, when a driver is asked to follow a pen with their eyes, is used to observe involuntary eye twitches which can be a sign of alcohol consumption.
What Are Chemical Sobriety Tests?
Chemical sobriety tests use a driver's blood, breath, or urine, to measure the level of alcohol in their system. The breathalyzer test, which requires a driver to blow into a tube, is the most common of the chemical tests and is administered roadside after a driver is pulled over. Blood and urine samples are gathered at a police state or medical center.
What If I Fail a Sobriety Test?
You may fail a sobriety test even without alcohol in your system. These tests can be unfair, administered improperly, and fail to account for factors that cause inaccurate results.
Sobriety tests are challenging to pass even while sober. Unclear or incomplete instructions given by police officers set you up for failure. Balancing on one leg, walking in a straight line and straining eye movements may be physically impossible for individuals with certain health conditions. Performing a test under the critical eye of a police officer is stressful and can lead to nervous twitches, anxiety, and the inability to concentrate or following directions. Passing traffic, inclement weather conditions, uneven road surfaces, and faulty breathalyzer equipment are also factors that contribute to failed tests.
An experienced DUI attorney can help you understand if your sobriety test was administered improperly.
Contact Seattle DUI Defense Lawyer Steve Karimi
Attorney Steve Karimi defends the rights of clients unfairly facing DUI charges. If you've been charged with a DUI in Washington, contact The Law Offices of Steve Karimi in Seattle for a free consultation by calling 206-621-8777.