Law Offices of David G. Arganian, Seattle, WA

10 Tips to Minimize Risk of Conviction of DUI

    • When questioned for DUI before arrest, you are not in custody for purposes of Miranda warnings. If you politely refuse to answer any of the cop's questions concerning the DUI investigation, either before or after arrest, then there won't be any statements that can be used against you in court.

    • Field Sobriety Tests are completely voluntary. If you perform them, you may be arrested anyway. It may be better not to give the cop evidence that will be used against you in court. You can politely refuse to do the field sobriety exercises. Although your refusal to do the tests can be used against you in court, there are many different reasons why a person may decide not to perform these exercises (illness, old age, fatigue, etc.) that your attorney can explain to the jury. The police can find some little nit-picking thing you did wrong.

    • If you are older than 21, refuse to take a portable breath test at the scene. This on scene breath test is completely voluntary and you have the absolute right to refuse this type of breath test with no consequences to your driving privileges (if you refuse a breath test at the police station, however, your license will probably be suspended.

    • If the cop tells you that you will go to jail after you are processed, demand to be taken to a hospital for an independent blood draw. The police may not hinder your attempts to obtain such evidence.

    • If you learn that you will be released, do not tell the cop, but make arrangements to be taken to a hospital for an independent blood test (don't drive yourself!).

    • Contact a friend or relative from jail as soon as possible so they can hear you speak and note your state of sobriety.

    • Always be polite and respectful to the police officers. Your demeanor is important in determining whether you are intoxicated.

    • Some jurisdictions video the arrest, breath testing and/or booking process. Always be on your best behavior.

    • Make a detailed list of all the events before being stopped up to and including being released from custody.

    • Igntition interlock restrictions are required on the license of certain persons convicted of DUI or who have a deferred prosecution under RCW 10.05. This restriction prevents you from driving unless that vehicle has an ignition interlock machine. (RCW 46.20.720). The ignition interlock measures your alchohol level before starting and while driving an automobile. The interlock is about the size of a phone and it installs underneath the dash to the ignition wiring of the car. The interlock is a computerized, miniature breath test machine, which records your alcohol content every time you try to start the car. If the alcohol reading is above the prescribed limit (typically 0.2%) the car will not start. Your driver's license is marked "G" on the face of the licsense to show the restriction. The interlock can be rented for about $60 per month, plus installation of $100 or more.

    • In some cases, it is possible to arrange for deferred prosecution. Deferred prosecution is a legal compromise between a person accused of DUI and the State. The accused agrees to submit to treatment for alcoholism or drug addition. The State agrees not to prosecute for a period of two years. If, at the end of the two year period the defendant has completed the treatment and has not re-offended, the case is dropped. However, if the person drops out of treatment or otherwise breaks the conditions of the deferred prosecution, then a trial will be held without a jury and the defendant will be found guilty.

      Deferred prosecution is not for everybody. It has advantages and drawbacks. As your lawyer gets to know you and your case, he/she can help you decide whether it is a good option for you.

      It is a myth that deferred prosecution is a "get out of jail free card," or a quick fix. It is not. It is a chance to turn a life around. That is why it exists.

      In King County District Court, pursuant to LCrRLJ 8.2, Motions for Deferred Prosecution, Defendants requesting a Title 46 Deferred Prosecution for an alcohol or drug related offense, shall submit a (1) Petition For Deferred Prosecution, (2) a Statement of Defendant's Rights at Deferred Prosecution Hearing, and (3) Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order Granting Deferred Prosecution in the form approved by the Court.

    • Retain an experienced DUI defense attorney to represent you. Only an experienced DUI defense attorney is able to spot the favorable issues and present them to a prosecutor, judge or jury.

Remember, the best way to avoid a DUI conviction is to not drink and drive. Purchasing a portable breath test machine can also be of benefit. Unfortunately, the way our laws are going even if you've had a small amount of alcohol and you are not impaired, as long as you smell like alcohol your chances of being arrested are very high. However, being arrested for DUI does not automatically result in a conviction or loss of your driver's license.

The above tips are designed to provide accurate and authoritative information. It is not designed to render legal opinions.

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