In Washington, drunk driving is called Driving Under the Influence. Without extenuating circumstances, driving under the influence is a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to 364 days in jail. There are multiple ways to be a drunk driver in the State of Washington.
Over the legal limit
First, a person is a drunk driver any time they have a blood alcohol level of .08 or more per 210 liters of breath. In Washington, the person’s blood alcohol must be a .08 or higher within two hours of driving. If it is, the law presumes that a person is a drunk driver.
While Washington sets a two-hour time limit, a driver can present evidence that they drank after they drove. They can argue that their alcohol levels were lower when they drove than they were at the time of the test. Defendants wanting to raise this issue have to give the state’s attorney notice of the defense before the trial. It’s important to work with a skilled and experienced attorney such as http://www.leyba-defense.com/criminal-defense/ to make sure that you give proper notice if you plan to use this defense.
Washington also has a legal limit for THC. If a person’s THC level is 5.00 or more nanograms per milliliter of whole blood within two hours of driving, they are over the legal limit and a drunk driver. There isn’t a breath test to measure THC levels, so if law enforcement suspects you of drunk driving, they’ll likely ask you to take a blood test. Law makers say that there’s a relationship between THC levels and impaired driving, so they created 5.00 as a legal limit for THC.
Under the influence
In addition to being over the legal limit, a person can be a drunk driver any time that they operate a vehicle while they’re under the influence of alcohol or a drug. It doesn’t matter what the person’s alcohol or drug levels are if the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time they operate the vehicle. This includes prescription drugs too. It’s not a defense that the person has a valid prescription to use the drugs.
Defenses to alcohol testing
When law enforcement performs chemical testing as part of a drunk driving investigation, they have to follow certain protocol. That means that they have to collect the evidence in approved ways. For breath testing, they must test the instrument before use to ensure that it reads 0.00 without alcohol. They must ensure that a sample solution gives a test within a certain acceptable range.
When an officer goes to test a driver, they have to make sure that the driver doesn’t vomit, eat or drink in the fifteen minutes before the test. The driver must not have any substances in their mouth when they test. Generally, law enforcement offers two tests, and the tests must come within ten percent of each other in order to be considered valid. If law enforcement fails to follow proper testing protocol, the result can be suppression of the breath evidence and possibly dismissal of the entire case.