In Washington State, drunk driving charges frequently hinge on the amount of alcohol that is detected in the driver’s system. Currently, if a driver is tested and registers 0.08% for their blood alcohol content, they will be arrested for driving under the influence.
The penalties for a DUI conviction can be harsh with a driver’s license suspension, fines and jail time. Now, lawmakers in the state are debating whether to reduce the BAC level for a DUI arrest. It is important to know the current and possible future laws for DUI as this can be crucial for crafting an effective defense.
Fatality statistics spur attempt to lower the BAC limit
According to the 2021 fatality numbers, Washington saw 540 auto accidents in which more than 600 people lost their lives. State police believe many were due to some form of impairment, even if the driver was legally below the limit to be arrested and charged with DUI.
The concept behind reducing the BAC is simple. It would lead to the arrest of people who, under the current laws, do not have enough alcohol in their system to warrant arrest but do have enough to potentially inhibit their ability to drive safely. More people who are stopped and investigated and would otherwise not be arrested would be charged. Drivers need to be cognizant of this change as discussions take place. Lawmakers are set to begin debating it in January.
For now, drivers who are convicted of DUI for the first time can be jailed for almost a year and be fined up to $5,000. The judge will have a mandatory minimum that must be imposed. Anecdotal evidence and statistics from law enforcement suggests that DUIs are prevalent. The lowered BAC levels would let them make more arrests with a spike in people concerned about the possible consequences they will face after a DUI.
Knowing the law and having legal assistance is key to a strong defense
Under the current DUI laws and any changes that might be made, it is always wise to understand how to fight the allegations. Often, these cases begin with a traffic stop. This must be done under certain protocol that law enforcement must follow.
The testing procedures also have rules. There might be issues with the evidence that can result in reducing or dropping the charges. For help from the start, it is imperative to consult with professionals who understand all areas of criminal defense to try and achieve a positive outcome.