In Washington, drunk driving is taken seriously as drunk drivers are considered the foremost cause of traffic related injuries and deaths. A defendant who is facing a drunk driving charge may experience severe consequences and may have difficulty finding future employment once convicted. Recently, many Washington residents may face serious consequences after being charged with drunk driving.
Nearly 800 people in Seattle and other King County cities have been arrested for drunk driving due to a police enforcement campaign for DUI. More than 3,400 people were arrested statewide during the campaign, which lasted over a month. The annual campaign is called "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over." The funding for the extra police enforcement was provided through a Washington Traffic Safety Commission grant.
In Washington, to convict a defendant of drunk driving, the government must prove that the defendant was driving a vehicle in the court's jurisdiction and within an area that the public can access. In addition, the government must also prove that the defendant was under the influence of alcohol or a drug. A person is considered per se under the influence of alcohol if his or her breath or blood alcohol test provides that the defendant's blood alcohol concentration is equal to or above the state's legal limit, which is 0.08.
A government prosecutor may present evidence to prove that a defendant is guilty of drunk driving. Examples of evidence a prosecutor may present is a witness's observation of the defendant's behavior, driving and appearance as well as and an implicating statement from the defendant to a witness.
In Seattle, a drunk driving conviction could not only mean hefty fines and jail or prison time for the defendant, it could also affect a defendant's job opportunities. Therefore, the defendant should be aware of how to protect his or her rights and use the most effective DUI defense that may reduce the penalties. It is important to remember that every defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
Source: The Seattle Times, "DUI campaign results in 795 arrests in King County," John de Leon, Jan. 4, 2013