Can my Spokane DUI charges be dropped?
The traffic stop
A police officer doesn’t necessarily need to have probable cause to make a traffic stop. He or she need only have a reasonable articulable belief that a traffic violation has been committed. That’s a lower standard than probable cause, but if there was no reason for the stop, a judge might dismiss the case. If there was video footage of a purported traffic violation that contradicts the arresting officer’s version of events, that footage can be used against the officer in a motion to quash your arrest and suppress evidence illegally seized.
Challenge breath testing
Calibration and maintenance issues in connection with breath testing machines can be an issue in a DUI defense. Law enforcement agencies are required to follow specific procedures before and during blood alcohol breath testing. The science involved in any blood alcohol breath testing can also be brought to issue. Reliability of the breath sample is the key. All quality assurance procedures must be followed.
Just like with breath testing, you can refuse blood testing to determine your blood alcohol content too. That’s when a diligent police officer might ask a judge for a search warrant for purposes of drawing your blood for analysis. Once that warrant is issued, you have no legal options other than to submit to testing. Take notice that if a medical emergency exists, no search warrant is required. Without a medical emergency or consent for blood testing, evidence of your blood alcohol level could be suppressed. That might result in dismissal of the DUI charge against you.
No fields and no blow
Field sobriety tests are a common way of establishing probable cause to make a DUI arrest. There’s no law in the State of Washington that requires you to submit to those tests though. It’s likely that any such tests that you might consent to will be video recorded. By submitting to field sobriety tests and breath testing, you might be giving the prosecution evidence to help convict you with. Not every police officer is going to go to the trouble of obtaining a search warrant for a blood draw. Without that warrant and blood draw, there might not be sufficient evidence to convict you with.
Don’t forget the suspension
Keep in mind that even if your DUI case is dropped, or you are found not guilty of the DUI in a trial, you still face a driver’s license suspension for a minimum of 90 days. In the context of a suspension, time is of the essence. The law allows you a hearing on that license suspension, but you must properly request a hearing on it from the Washington Department of Licensing within 20 days of the date of your arrest. The fee for the hearing must accompany your request.