Cinco de Mayo has become a major alcohol-fueled celebration every year in Seattle. While the origin of the holiday is the celebration of the Mexican army's victory against the French at the Battle of Puebla, the date has somehow become synonymous with drinking and reverie in the United States. Unfortunately, the weekend has also become linked to alcohol-related traffic fatalities. A holiday-weekend crackdown in Snohomish and King Counties was designed to limit those fatalities.
The claim that Cinco de Mayo celebrations can lead to more fatalities isn't conjecture; the King County Public Health Department conducted a study in 2017 that showed fatal accidents increased in years that Cinco de Mayo fell on a weekend. In 2012, eight of the eleven traffic fatalities during Cinco de Mayo were alcohol-related.
Enter the Target Zero Task Force. This group of King County and Snohomish County law officers announced in early May that both counties would step up DUI enforcement efforts during the holiday. According to the news release, “additional troopers, officers, and deputies will be patrolling King County in an effort to remove impaired drivers and prevent tragedies that can potentially be the outcome of impaired driving.”
According to the Target Zero Task Force, the expanded effort centered on heavy patrols with officers targeting intoxicated drivers. The Washington State Police even constructed a Mobile Impaired Driving Unit. This unit was deployed in King County to allow those arrested to be processed in the field. This operation saved time on processing prisoners at a county jail, giving troopers more time to patrol.
By all accounts, the efforts of the task force were a success. By all indications, there were no fatal car accidents during the holiday weekend in either King or Snohomish Counties. King County deputies arrested 43 drivers on suspicion. And while there have been reports on the number of arrests made by Washington State Police, Snohomish County deputies arrested nine drivers on suspicion of DUI. Two of those drivers had been previously arrested for DUI before, according to court records.
While the efforts of the Target Zero Task Force are noble, they highlight how anxious officers can be to make a DUI arrest. Because of this, it's not uncommon for innocent people to be swept up in an operation like this and charged. In Washington State, a prosecutor must prove that a defendant had:
- An alcohol concentration greater than .08
- A THC concentration higher than .05, or
- Shown to be impaired by drugs or intoxicating liquor.
An experienced DUI defense attorney can examine the evidence and prepare the best possible defense that the State has failed to prove any of the three options listed above.
A DUI charge brings with it serious consequences, including fines, the loss of driving privileges, and incarceration. If you have been charged with DUI in the Seattle, Washington area, you deserve an aggressive defense attorney that has the experience to prepare the best possible defense. The Law Offices of Steve Karimi are happy to discuss your case with you. Contact us to schedule your free consultation.