Can the Police Charge Me with DUI Even If They Did Not See Me Driving the Vehicle?
The police could charge someone with DUI even if they did not see the person driving a vehicle. This is because of Washington State’s physical control statute, which states that a person only needs to be in physical control of a vehicle while under the influence to receive a DUI; they do not need to be driving the vehicle. For example, a person who is under the influence of alcohol and sitting in the driver, passenger, or back seat of a car could be considered to be in physical control of the vehicle, and could receive a DUI charge as a result. There have even been cases in which a person was charged with DUI without being in a vehicle. To establish physical control, the prosecutor would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person was in physical control of a vehicle and that they had a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or a THC concentration of five nanograms within two hours of being in physical control of the vehicle.
In Washington State, there is no clear definition of what actual physical control means, and as such, it is a case-by-case determination. Details such as whether the vehicle was running and where the keys were in relation to the defendant are important aspects of these cases. A defendant may use other details unique to these cases in their defense, such as whether the vehicle was safely off the roadway, and whether it can be established by a preponderance of the evidence that they consumed a sufficient amount of alcohol after being in actual physical control of the vehicle. For example, a person who is approached by law enforcement after a suspected case of DUI could claim that they were sober when they drove, and they began drinking once they arrived home.
Do I Have the Right to A Lawyer Before Taking A Sobriety or A Breathalyzer Test?
Traditionally, when you perform field sobriety tests or the portable breath test roadside, there is no right to an attorney. However, a person does have the right to consult with an attorney before the official breath test that will be carried out at the police station. If a person requests counsel with an attorney, they will usually be allotted 10 to 20 minutes for a phone conversation in private. If a person does not ask for an attorney, then their right to consult with one will be presumed to be waived.
If the Arresting Officer Was Outside His Jurisdiction, Does That Make My DUI Arrest Invalid?
Under RCW 10.93.070, a police officer may enforce the traffic or criminal laws throughout the state of Washington in some circumstances. One of the most common circumstances in which this is allowed is when there is a mutual aid agreement in place. These agreements exist between officers in different jurisdictions, and grant officers the authority to act outside of their jurisdiction. Another common circumstance in which this is allowed is when an officer responds to an emergency involving an immediate threat to human life and property, such as a person driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Do I Have to Answer A Police Officer’s Questions, Such as How Much I Have Had to Drink?
A person has a constitutional right to refuse to make incriminating statements, which means they have the right to refuse to answer an officer’s questions except for providing their name, date of birth, and address. In most cases, the wisest decision would be to remain silent. If a person knows they are impaired, they should ask to speak with a lawyer before answering any questions. Once someone requests a lawyer, the police officer should stop asking questions. If someone has only had one beer and they do not think they are over the legal limit, it may benefit them to admit that, because that could explain why they might have the odor of alcohol emanating from their breath. It’s important to never lie to law enforcement to maintain one’s credibility.
For more information on DUI Charges When Not Driving A Vehicle, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (253) 201-2001 today.
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