If a police officer pulled you over one night, you may have suspected that you had a taillight out or maybe drove a little over the speed limit without realizing it. When the officer approached your vehicle, you likely remained calm and did your best to treat the ordeal with a respectful manner. Though it may have caught you off guard when the officer asked if you had been drinking, you may have promptly responded with a resounding “no.”
Unfortunately, your answer did not fully dampen the officer’s suspicions. He or she may have continued asking questions, and you may have felt more and more uncomfortable. When asked to step out of the vehicle, you complied, but because you know your rights and the law, you did not choose to participate in field sobriety tests. However, the officer may have then requested a breath test, and you knew you could not refuse under Washington state law.
The test led to arrest
Though you did not have anything alcoholic to drink or only a drink or two if you did, the breath test showed some results that shocked you. You knew that your blood alcohol concentration level could not have been at or above the legal limit, yet somehow, the testing machine showed that it was. These roadside breath test machines are notoriously unreliable, but unfortunately, they can provide officers with probable cause to take drivers into custody.
If this happened to you, you may have found yourself in the back of a police car and taken to jail. Though officers released you, you still face a criminal charge for DUI and the ordeal of having to defend against charges.
What can you do?
After your release from custody, it is important to write down everything you can remember from the day of your arrest. Some details to try to recall include the following:
- Did you have anything to drink before the traffic stop?
- If you were drinking, what did you drink and how much?
- How much time passed between when you stopped drinking and the traffic stop?
- Where did the traffic stop take place?
- Did the officer provide you with reasons for the stop, such as speeding, swerving or other causes for reasonable suspicion?
- How did the officer treat you during the traffic stop?
- Did the officer read you your Miranda rights?
- How much time passed between when you stopped drinking and taking the breath test?
This information could play a significant role in your criminal defense. Even if something seems insignificant to you, a legal professional may be able to use a detail in your favor. As a result, you may want to contact an experienced defense attorney to discuss your situation.