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Elements of a DUI

Elements of a DUI

Remember, you are innocent until proven guilty. The prosecution has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If you have a skilled DUI attorney, it will become increasingly difficult for prosecutors to reach this standard of proof.

If you are charged with a DUI, you will face two separate proceedings: one with the Department of Licensing and one with the criminal courts. You have only 20 days to request a DOL hearing to avoid a license suspension. If you do not act quickly, you run the risk of having your license suspended.

The criminal courts portion of your DUI case will proceed when your arraignment date is set. At your arraignment, enter a plea of not guilty.

DUIs are complex. They involve highly technical issues, constitutional issues and, almost always, factual issues.

The prosecution has to prove all elements, but a skilled DUI attorney only has to disprove one for the charges to end in dismissal.

David Speikers is highly experienced in these cases and has an impressive record of success in finding ways to disprove elements in the prosecution’s case.

The Statute

In Washington, a person is guilty of driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug if the person drives a vehicle within the state:

  • And within two hours of driving, the person has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher, as shown by an analysis of said person’s breath or blood (there are specific statutes that dictate the proper procedure to obtain these results); or
  • While the person is under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor or any drug; or
  • Under the influence of any combination of drugs and intoxicating liquor.

Even if you have been entitled to use drugs legally (e.g., a doctor’s prescription), you can still be charged with driving under the influence. This is not a recognizable defense to a charge of driving under the influence.

Violations of this statute constitute a gross misdemeanor, punishable up to 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Driving Under the Influence of Drugs

The same proof of impairment with alcohol is required for driving under the influence of drugs.

Drugs do not have to be illegal, as in the case of prescription drugs. The prosecution must simply prove that the driver was impaired at the time of driving. However, in these cases, the prosecution does not have a blood alcohol content number to back up their case.

The prosecution will rely on purely circumstantial evidence such as swerving, the police officer’s observations and DUI field sobriety tests. This type of evidence can be extremely unreliable.

A DUI lawyer will give you the best chance at eliminating your charges by destroying the integrity of these conditional observations.

Learn more about David Speikers, or call 425-222-0555 for a free consultation and case review.


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