A few commonly asked questions that arise when a person is facing a driving under the influence charge in Washington State are: (1) “If I only had one drink, can I be guilty of DUI?; (2) If my breath test result was below the legal limit (.08), can I be guilty of DUI?; or (3) If there is no breath or blood test result in my case, can I be guilty of DUI? The answer to all three questions may actually be “yes”. The crime of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs in Washington State is generally defined in two ways: (1) having a blood alcohol content of .08 or greater within two hours of driving, or (2) driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
In order for a person to be guilty under the first definition, the person’s blood alcohol content must be determined to be .08 or greater within 2 hours of driving, as determined by a state approved breath test machine; if it can be proven that a person’s blood alcohol content at the time of the incident was .08 or greater, he or she will be convicted of driving under the influence, regardless of the amount of alcohol consumed by the person.
In contrast, the second definition of DUI does not refer to any particular blood alcohol content result; it focuses instead on the behavior of the person. In other words, it focuses on the “totality of the circumstances”. If the person’s driving is impaired by the consumption of alcohol and/or drugs, he or she can be found guilty of driving under the influence. This is often accomplished by a law enforcement officer testifying about the impaired driving that lead him to pull the person over and the person’s ability (or lack thereof) to perform field sobriety tests, and the overall demeanor of the individual throughout the entire DUI processing while on scene and at the police station. There are so many variables that may affect or otherwise impair an individual that they cannot be adequately or effectively outlined in this blog. Lest it be said, a susceptible person may exhibit impaired driving after one or two drinks and therefore be convicted of driving under the influence in the State of Washington.
Because of the significant implications a DUI arrest and/or conviction can have on a person, it is imperative that a person charged with DUI in Washington State retain a qualified Seattle DUI attorney or a qualified Bellevue DUI lawyer in order to best minimize potential legal consequences and protect their rights and interests. The Seattle DUI attorneys that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly qualified Seattle DUI lawyers that are dedicated to providing top notch, aggressive representation for those charged with DUI in and around Western Washington. The team creates success by working with law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney’s office to ensure that all facts and circumstances related to the DUI allegations are considered in creating the fairest, most equitable and just resolution possible.