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Man faces drunk driving charges in Washington

A 54-year-old man with a history of DUI offenses in Washington has pleaded innocent to new charges that allege he did not stop for police until arriving home. Police filed drunk driving charges against the man in connection with the Feb. 20 incident. He will face these charges in court on Apr. 20.

According to police records, officers say they saw the man weaving in traffic on a local roadway in Richland and crossing over the middle line. A check of the license plate apparently revealed the driver's license of the vehicle's registered owner was suspended at the time, so the officers activated their lights and siren. Apparently, the man drove all the way to his residence before stopping for police, and even then was allegedly slow to obey police commands. 

The officers went on to allege that they believed the man was intoxicated, based upon observing him swaying, the smell of alcohol on his breath and red eyes. They say they took blood tests that have been sent off for a toxicology analysis, but the report did not mention how these samples were obtained or the process they went through to obtain them. Due to the man's earlier convictions, a guilty verdict in this case could see him face serious jail time. 

Drunk driving charges can have a profound effect on a person's life, including the revocation of a license to drive. Washington prosecutors will have to prove the man's intoxicated state, possibly using the blood tests as evidence. However, the defense is entitled to carefully scrutinize the arrest process to identify issues to cite in subsequent court challenges. If the police violated the man's rights in any way, evidence from the blood test could be deemed inadmissible in court. 

Source: tri-cityherald.com, "Suspected drunk driver doesn't stop for Richland police, heads home", Kristin M. Kraemer, Feb. 27, 2015

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