In Seattle and elsewhere, drunken driving is severely punished. For many people, being charged with DUI can mean being subjected to serious penalties, including jail time, the suspension of an individual's driver's license and even difficulty finding future employment. A Washington State woman may have to endure these challenges after police say her drunk driving led to a recent car accident.
Washington State police claim that the 33-year-old woman was drunk and driving at an excessive rate of speed on the wet interstate. She allegedly lost control of her vehicle and crashed into another car. According to police, the woman now accused of DUI was injured and had to be taken to a local hospital. The other driver, a 33-year-old man, was not injured.
A local news report didn't indicate that a field sobriety test was administered. However, with this kind of physical test, there is more room for an inaccurate assessment than police and prosecutors would like us to think. It is common for motorists to be shaken up and disoriented after a car accident, and police have been known to mistake this disorientation for intoxication.
Additionally, breath test machines, if not calibrated properly, can yield inaccurate readings. To make sure that the arresting officer didn't improperly calibrate the breathalyzer, it is important for DUI defendants to consult with an attorney with experience in analyzing breathalyzer results.
Depending on the circumstances of a particular case, it may be possible to challenge the legality of a traffic stop or the accuracy of a field sobriety or breath test. Alternatives may include a reduction or even a dismissal of the charge.
Source: The Columbian, "I-205 accident blamed on drunken driving," Craig Brown, Oct. 13, 2012