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Charles H. Williams,
Attorney and Counselor
at Law, P.S.
707 South Snoqualmie
Suite 4A
Seattle, WA 98108

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Two Seattle residents arrested for DUI after hit-and-run

"What happens if I refuse to take the breath test when a police officer pulls me over for drunk driving? Can I challenge the blood alcohol test results of my test?" Individuals who face drunk driving charges often ask these kinds of questions. Recently, two individuals may be asking these questions after they were arrested for suspicion of drunk driving.

Police say that two off-duty Seattle police officers were arrested for suspicions of drunk driving, and the officers may face criminal charges for a possible hit-and-run and drunk driving. According to police, a witness reported a car collided with another vehicle near an intersection. The witness reported that the woman driving the car stopped it and switched seats with the man in the passenger seat. Police say when they arrived at the scene, they recognized the two as off-duty Seattle police officers. According to police, the woman registered blood alcohol content levels well above the state's legal limit of 0.08 percent. A BAC test was also given to the man, who also registered above the state's legal limit.

When defendants facing DUI charges refuse to take a breath test, the refusal may be used as evidence against them in a criminal case. It may be used as circumstantial evidence that the defendants were aware of their guilt at the time of the test. However, there are other reasons defendants refuse breath tests. Evidence of the defendant's refusal to take a breath test may be suppressed if it can be shown that the refusal was a result of one of the following:

• The police officer failed to address the driver's confusion.

• The officer gave misleading information or advice.

• The officer improperly registered an unfinished test as a refusal.

• The defendant could not finish the breath test as a result of a medical condition.

Defendants facing drunk driving charges should be aware of the possible defenses that may apply to their case. A variety of factors may allow a defendant to challenge the results of their test. Every defendant deserves a fair trial and is assumed innocent unless proven guilty.

Source: The Seattle Times, "Two off-duty Seattle cops arrested in DUI case," Steve Miletich, Dec. 18, 2012

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