First, do not panic. Just because a police officer arrested you on suspicion of drunk driving does not mean that you will face charges or end up with a conviction on your record. Before you talk to anyone or take any other action regarding your arrest, be sure to understand your legal rights.
Law enforcement officials are required to follow certain laws and procedures when they deal with the public; otherwise, you could have the charges against you dismissed or reduced. For this reason, you should not hesitate to challenge your arrest.
What kinds of mistakes could a police officer make?
An investigation into your arrest could reveal that officers violated your rights or a mistake occurred. The following aspects of your encounter with police require review:
1. The traffic stop: Without probable cause, an officer may not stop you.
2. Portable and standard breath tests: These machines require routine maintenance and calibration in order to achieve reliable results. Further, inadequate training of the officer could also cause unreliable results to occur.
3. Field sobriety tests: Without proper administration of these tests, they could prove inaccurate. Any number of factors could cause you to fail these tests, which makes them problematic at best.
4. Blood alcohol concentration issues: In some cases, your blood alcohol level could rise between the time you get behind the wheel and the administration of a breath test if the alcohol you drank did not fully absorb into your system after your last drink.
5. Improper actions by police: Some officers bend the rules in order to get an arrest. Others will violate your civil rights either knowingly or unknowingly.
6. Driver questions: If you switched places with the driver, believing you were sober, that fact might keep you from a DUI charge even though other charges could result.
In addition, laboratory technicians who test any blood drawn from you could also make a mistake, or the equipment used could need calibration or maintenance as well. Any of these issues could result in the invalidation of your arrest, which affects any charges.
What if some other factor caused you to drive impaired?
In some cases, the circumstances surrounding the events that took place put you behind the wheel.
1. Mistake of fact: You did not think you were impaired, such as when taking a prescription medication.
2. Involuntary intoxication: You ingested alcohol without knowing it. For example, someone put alcohol into your drink without your knowledge.
3. Necessity: Some emergency or other dire situation required you to drive. You made the choice to drive believing that the circumstances warranted the risk of a DUI.
4. Duress: Someone threatened you and forced you to drive.
5. Entrapment: A law enforcement official somehow "tricked" you into driving when you would otherwise not do so.
Any of these factors might excuse your drunk driving, but you need to provide substantial proof of the circumstances. Attempting to challenge your arrest on your own could fail. Seeking the advice and assistance of a Washington DUI attorney could increase your chances of avoiding a conviction.