Washington State DUI-Drug Laws are strict. It is a crime in Washington State to drive under the influence of ANY drug: legal, illegal, prescription, and over-the counter, if the person’s driving is affected by the drug to any appreciable degree.
How is a DUI-Drug case prosecuted? Usually there must be impaired driving, or an accident, involving a driver suspected of having consumed drugs before driving. The driver may be asked to submit to blood testing if the officer suspects drug intoxication. A law enforcement Drug Recognition Evaluator (DRE) may be called upon to administer tests sobriety tests to gather evidence of drug intoxication. At a DUI-Drug trial, the officer may testify about his or her observations of impaired driving (or accident investigation), of signs of drug intoxication observed in the driver, of a DRE evaluation, and of any admissions the driver made to having consumed any drug, in addition to the result of any blood testing performed.
How is a Drugged-DUI case defended? A knowledgeable DUI-drug trial lawyer may move to have evidence excluded (meaning it cannot be used at trial by the prosecutor). The judge may exclude evidence for a number of reasons, such as if the rules of evidence require exclusion, or if there was a violation of a constitutional or statutory right in obtaining the evidence. If the evidence is allowed by the judge, a talented DUI-Drug trial lawyer will know how to minimize the impact of the evidence, by showing it lacks reliability, is not trustworthy, or is of questionable evidentiary value.
What are the penalties if convicted of a Drug-DUI? The penalties for a DUI-drug conviction are the same as those for an alcohol DUI, except that there is no enhanced penalty based on a high quantity of the substance in the driver’s blood as there is for an alcohol DUI. There is a mandatory minimum and maximum jail term, a fine plus costs and assessments, an ignition interlock (for convictions after 1/1/2011 even though the device detects alcohol, not drugs) a license suspension or revocation, a chemical dependency assessment and treatment if diagnosed with chemical dependency. The severity of the penalty depends upon the number of prior offenses (DUI, Physical Control, or lesser charge originally charged as a DUI or Physical Control) committed within 7 years.
Refusal of blood testing. A person may also be convicted of a drug-DUI with an allegation that he or she refused blood testing. In this event, the mandatory minimum penalties are harsher than if the person submitted to the blood test.
Our Washington Drug-DUI lawyers know these cases inside and out. We have extensive training on blood testing methods and shortcomings. Ms. Callahan teaches other lawyers how to defend these difficult cases, and has written chapters on blood testing, DRE evaluations and defending drug-DUI cases in her book, the Washington DUI Practice Manual. The sooner you put us to work for you, the better you will feel, so why not call now?