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Types Of DUI

DUI of Alcohol

Simply drinking and driving alone is NOT a crime. What is key – and what the prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt – is that your Blood Alcohol Level (BAC) was at or above the legal limit within 2 hours of driving, or that your ability to drive was affected by the alcohol you consumed.

The prosecutor will try to prove their case against you by presenting evidence of your driving, how you behaved during your contact with police, your ability to perform field sobriety tests (or refusal to do so), and possibly, the results of a test of your breath or blood.

And the prosecutor is required to prove every element of this charge beyond a reasonable doubt.

We will ask the tough questions in this case and scrutinize every avenue of defense in your case, including but not limited to:

  1. Was the stop lawful?
  2. Was the investigation legal?
  3. Did the police coerce you into doing the field tests? The portable breath test? The evidentiary breath test (at the station)?
  4. Is the breath or blood test valid?

If you agreed to give the officer a breath sample, we will look into whether you were properly read your Miranda rights. We will research the breath machine used in your case to determine whether it had been calibrated, and was in proper working order. We will pursue avenues of attack that have often earned us proven results — including reductions, dismissals, and not guilty verdicts at trial.

DUI of Marijuana

In 2012, Washington voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, which also led to Washington lawmakers scrambling to pass laws that established legal limits of the amount of THC in the body while driving. Washington decided that a person could not drive a car with a THC level of 5 nanograms or more of active THC per milliliter of whole blood in her system; if over, she was guilty of DUI.

What makes marijuana DUIs unique is that, unlike alcohol-related DUIs, the more marijuana one consumes does not mean the more intoxicated one is. Many factors go into your blood test result, including your tolerance level, the strength of the marijuana, the varying THC concentration levels, and your metabolism, to name several. And because of all of these factors, different people feel effects of the same levels of marijuana in completely different ways.

We often see officers relying on their same old tricks to try to conclude that you are impaired on marijuana—for example, how your eyes are behaving, as well as your ability to perform field sobriety tests. These field tests are standardized in alcohol-related DUIs, but there is little if any scientific evidence that proves that these same tests are useful in marijuana cases.

We will attack the techniques used by the officers, the blood tests’ results, and undermine the opinions of experts who rely on junk science to try to convict you.

DUI of Drugs

Whether it’s prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, or illicit substances, we are prepared to fight your DUI:

Prescription (and other “Legal”) Drugs

Did you know that you can be charged with Driving Under the Influence even if you have a valid prescription authorizing your use of the medication? Even when you are prescribed medicine from a medical provider, you could be subject to this charge if an officer believes you’re affected by the pharmaceuticals you have consumed.

The attorneys at Puget Law Group have handled dozens of DUI of Prescription Drug cases, as well as those involving DUI of over the counter medications Benadryl, ZZQuill, and anti-histamine medicines. In such cases, we consult with primary care providers, medical experts and the State’s own “expert” toxicologists in preparing our defense of those charged with prescription based DUI. Our attorneys are keenly familiar with the “Drug Recognition Experts” – police officers with additional training to detect classification of impairing drugs – and know how to cross examine the government’s so-called “expert” drug cops on the stand, and how to keep them honest.

Illicit Substances

Interestingly, the law does not treat under the influence of illicit substances any differently than an alcohol- or marijuana-related DUI, which means you are subject to the same mandatory minimum sentences that you would be if you had consumed the legal limit of alcohol.

Unlike alcohol and marijuana DUI’s, none of these drugs, legal or otherwise, have a legal “per se” limit. The lack of legal limit creates a problem for the prosecutors and opportunities for us to poke holes that they can prove someone is affected by drugs if there is no legal limit. Our firm regularly subjects the forensic scientists responsible for your blood analysis to questioning and prepares lines of defenses that address tolerance levels, medication history, biological factors, all of which support the analysts’ inability to actually conclude impairment from the dosage levels in the blood.

DUI and reckless driving charges reduced to traffic ticket

Alvin was arrested for DUI and Reckless Driving after an officer claimed he drove recklessly at excessive speeds in an attempt to avoid seizure and exhibited signs of impairment following Field Sobriety Tests.  After pointing out several evidentiary issues in the officer’s report, Dan negotiated with the prosecutor to reduce the DUI to Negligent Driving and dismiss the Reckless Driving charge. He further persuaded the prosecutor to allow Alvin to enter a “pre-trial diversion” on the reduced charge for one year, after which the charge was amended to a traffic infraction.

If you have a pending DUI charge, call our Tacoma DUI lawyers now.