When Does Self-Defense Become Assault? A Guide To Criminal Defense For Assault In Washington State

In the eyes of the law, people have a legal right to defend themselves if they feel their lives are in danger.

In the legal world, self-defense has been designed to protect people who are attacked by someone else, unprovoked. The victim in this scenario is even allowed to use deadly force in order to protect themselves if the threat they are facing is deadly.

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Protection from Domestic Violence: The Attorney’s Role

Domestic Violence in vancouver waVictims of domestic violence have been subjected to harrowing events over extended periods of time. The most important way to help break the cycle of violence is by building multi-layer support structures to allow those effected to begin a new, better phase in their lives. Hiring an experienced attorney is an important part of your support team.

Domestic Violence and the Law

Although domestic violence is almost universally covered in state and federal law, it is extremely complex and working within the system almost without exceptions, brings out the worst in the people involved. There are many issues regarding the proper timing and maintenance of court orders so that you and your loved ones are protected to the fullest extent possible. Having experienced professionals helping you keep track of your legal obligations can help you better utilize your other support resources throughout your journey.

Role Your Attorney Plays in Protecting You from Domestic Violence

Although it is possible for you to get an emergency court order to protect you from the your current situation, there are several legal instruments and procedures that an attorney can assist greatly with that you probably can’t do yourself. Even if it is possible to do some things yourself, it is important for you to realize that you almost certainly won’t be able to do everything you need to without help. Part of getting better is knowing when you need help and having the courage to ask for it. Things your attorney can do include:

  1. File a protection or no-contact order
  2. Get a divorce
  3. File a lawsuit against the violent party
  4. Help with custody proceedings
  5. The Importance of Emotional and Health Support

Domestic violence leaves both physical and emotional pain that will eventually need to be addressed to build your new life. Working with qualified health professionals such as licensed therapists who offer both group and individual therapy sessions is absolutely critical for dealing with the mental and emotional fallout from the trauma you have suffered. And, unfortunately, working with health professionals to repair the physical injuries is often necessary. Without adequate support here, legal support, no matter how comprehensive, likely won’t be enough to maximize the chances of success.

By getting support from health and legal professionals along with the force of our legal system, victims can get past the nightmares of the past and look forward to a bright new future. Give us a call today if you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence and needs the protection of the courts.

What Should I Tell My Family or Boss About My Arrest?

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What Should I Tell My Family or Boss About My Arrest?

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By: Vancouver criminal defense attorney Roger Priest

After being arrested, one of the concerns that might weigh most heavily on your mind may be what to tell your family or employer.  The answer depends on multiple factors: the circumstances of the arrest, how it might impact your job or family life, or the consequences you’re facing as a result of the arrest.

Telling Your Family About An Arrest

As much as you may dread it, you should probably tell your family about your arrest. They’ll be disappointed and angry, but if they find out through the media or other people, it can make a bad situation much worse.

In delivering the news, it’s probably best to be straightforward. Explain the circumstances of your arrest, the next steps of the criminal justice process, and the best case and worst-case scenarios, if you know them. If you’ve hired a lawyer, let them know. Help them to feel reassured by speaking in a calm voice, expressing regret for what happened, and letting them know you’re trying to minimize any adverse impact on the family.

You probably shouldn’t share too many details about the actions that led to your arrest, especially any potentially self-incriminating information. Your lawyers should tell you which details should remain between you and them. If you don’t know what you shouldn’t talk about, ask your lawyer.

Telling Your Your Employer About An Arrest

 Before you tell your employer about your arrest, it’s a good idea to speak with your lawyer. In some cases, it may not be necessary to share such information right away. An arrest is not the same as a conviction or pleading guilty, and it may come to nothing.

However, there may be certain circumstances where you should inform your employer as soon as possible. If the state, the industry, or company policy requires disclosure of an arrest, then you must report it immediately.[1] In these circumstances, failing to disclose could cost your job–even if the arrest itself would not have, had you been honest.

You should also disclose the arrest if it affects your ability to perform your duties. For example, if you are a truck driver whose license was suspended because of a DUI arrest, you should let your employer know.

When it comes to employment, your best bet is to plan an approach to disclosure with your attorney. A good lawyer can help you protect your rights and job to the extent possible.

[1] https://woman.thenest.com/notify-employer-arrested-19505.html

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If You Have Been Charged With A DUI In Clark County or Vancouver WA, Time Is Of The Essence!

Call Our Office To Speak With Attorney Roger Priest Immediately.

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Arrested for DUI? Here are the 3 Most Common Defenses

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Arrested for DUI in Vancouver WA? 

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Common DUI Defenses

Being arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Washington state is a very serious charge that can have severe repercussions in your life for years down the road.

A court may suspend or revoke your drivers’ license, require you to pay stiff fines, or even sentence you to serve jail time. Your ability to keep and retain work becomes threatened with a criminal record and a revoked license, not to mention the thousands in court-related fees, DMV classes and the social stigma of having an arrest record.

You might be able to fight these charges if you can offer one or more of the following defenses.

The 3 Most Common DUI Defenses in Vancouver 

  1. The police didn’t have probable cause

Police officers must have “probable cause” to stop your vehicle or arrest you for driving under the influence. In other words, they must have good reason to believe that you have broken the law. In your defense, you’d argue that the police had no legitimate reason to stop or detain you in the first place. For example, you might be able to show that you weren’t driving erratically, your vehicle met all state requirements, etc.

You may also have a valid defense if there’s reason to believe that the police stopped you because of your race, religion, gender identification or national origin. Such markers of your identity are not an allowable legal basis for stopping you.

  1. The police didn’t read your Miranda rights

Anyone who’s watched a television crime show has probably heard a police officer warn a suspect: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be held against you in a court of law…” These words, which also inform a suspect of their right to an attorney, are called a “Miranda warning” or reading your “Miranda rights.”

If the police arrest you on suspicion of a DUI and ask you incriminating questions, then they are required to give the Miranda warning. If they fail to do this, then your lawyer will likely ask the court to suppress any incriminating statements you made. The suppression of certain can sometimes lead to a plea deal or even dismissal of the case.

  1. You were not “under the influence” or intoxicated

 There might be a legitimate reason that explains your seemingly intoxicated behavior or even an elevated alcohol blood level. For example, you might have been driving erratically because you just pulled at 14-hour shift at work or were distracted by something inside the car. Certain foods and diets can also give a false positive for intoxication. Poppy seeds[1] can give a false positive on a urine test, while strict followers of the Keto diet[2] might get a false positive on a breathalyzer test.

Call our Vancouver WA DUI attorney now

Attorney Roger Priest is a Vancouver WA DUI attorney with deep experience arguing cases in the Clark County judicial system. If you are looking for a a criminal defense attorney who will will leave no stone un-turned in protecting your rights while in the court system, call Rodger Priest today.

[1] https://www.upi.com/Top_News/2005/10/18/Poppy-seed-defense-works-on-DUI-charge/46921129669715/

[2] https://www.menshealth.com/health/a26063314/ketosis-breathalyzer-alcohol-false-positive-low-carb/

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If You Have Been Charged With A DUI In Clark County or Vancouver WA, Time Is Of The Essence!

Call Our Office To Speak With Attorney Roger Priest Immediately.

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Can I Get a DUI on My Bicycle in Washington?

Van-Wa-bicicle-dui
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Can I Get a DUI on My Bicycle in Washington?

[/av_textblock] [av_hr class=’default’ height=’50’ shadow=’no-shadow’ position=’center’ custom_border=’av-border-thin’ custom_width=’50px’ custom_border_color=” custom_margin_top=’30px’ custom_margin_bottom=’30px’ icon_select=’yes’ custom_icon_color=” icon=’ue808′ av-desktop-hide=” av-medium-hide=” av-small-hide=” av-mini-hide=” av_uid=’av-9jnv3c’] [av_textblock size=” font_color=” color=” av-medium-font-size=” av-small-font-size=” av-mini-font-size=” av_uid=’av-jrwece4q’ admin_preview_bg=”] Van-Wa-bicicle-duiMany states have DUI laws that are broad enough to apply to bicycle riders. Oregon, for instance, makes no legal distinction between a DUI committed while driving a monster truck and while riding your bicycle. This may seem silly, as one is far more dangerous than the other. If you feel this way, then you share something in common with the Washington Supreme Court.

The Washington DUI law specifically prohibits driving a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A vehicle is defined by Washington law as any device capable of being moved upon a public highway. . . “including bicycles”. So, a quick review of the statutes would make it seem that you can, in fact, get a DUI for riding your bicycle.

This issue came up in the case of The City of Montesano v. Daniel Wells in 1995. Mr. Wells was convicted for riding his bicycle drunk and he appealed the conviction. The Washington Court of Appeals considered the statutes (and related statutes) and ultimately decided that the Washington legislature did not intend to extend the DUI laws to include bicyclists. Specifically, the court addressed the seemingly interchangeable usage of the terms “vehicle” and “motor vehicle” in the various DUI statutes(which there are several). The court decided that even though the term “vehicle” used in the DUI statute, the various related DUI statutes that specifically use the term “motor vehicle” instead suggested that the legislature’s interchangeable usage of both “vehicle” and “motor vehicle” in the statutes was a product of “inattentive drafting” and applying the DUI statute to bicycling would lead to an absurd result.

This is a refreshing decision, considering that many states draw no distinction between motor vehicle DUIs and bicycle DUIs. Since a DUI carries harsh penalties for your driver’s license, including license suspension, ignition interlock device requirements, and SR-22 insurance requirements, it seems only natural that a DUI should only be imposed for driving a motor vehicle.

Going one step further, Washington has even implemented statutory protocols for law enforcement to offer safe rides for intoxicated bicycle riders. These statutory provisions arrange for how to secure and safely arrange for transport, impound and return of bicycles in such cases.

While a bicyclist cannot get a DUI, this doesn’t mean that you cannot get in legal trouble for drunk bicycling. Depending on the circumstances, you could still be charged for a variety of crimes if your bicycling while impaired runs afoul of other state laws. A couple of examples include:

1)Disorderly Conduct. It is a crime to obstruct vehicular or pedestrian traffic without lawful authority. If you are riding your bicycle in the roadway while either intoxicated or sober, you cannot unreasonably obstruct traffic. Therefore, if you drunkenly swerve into the roadway and cause an unsafe traffic situation, law enforcement might charge you with disorderly conduct. Disorderly Conduct is a simple misdemeanor charge.

2)Reckless Endangerment. It is a gross misdemeanor to recklessly engage in conduct that creates a substantial risk of death or serious physical injury to another person. If you ride your bicycle while intoxicated and do so recklessly, you might be in more serious trouble if doing so causes a wreck or otherwise causes a seriously dangerous situation for vehicular traffic on the roadways.

3)Reckless Driving. Like DUI, Reckless Driving ostensibly relates to “vehicles” and not just “motor vehicles”. WhileReckless Driving charges lodged against bicyclists might be susceptible to challenges similar to those in The City of Montesano v. Wells, there is no established case law that prohibits the prosecution from prosecuting a bicycle Reckless Driving case. If prosecuted, it would be incumbent on you to defend against the charge and hope to succeed in defending against the charge based on the case law analysis that worked in the Wells case.

In either regard, it only makes sense to not ride a bicycle while you are too impaired to safely ride. Choosing to ride your bicycle while impaired puts you at some risk of facing a criminal charge if you do so in an unsafe manner. So, always be careful.

 

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If You Have Been Charged With A DUI In Clark County or Vancouver WA, Time Is Of The Essence!

Call Our Office To Speak With Attorney Roger Priest Immediately.

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Will a Washington DUI Suspend My License?

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Will a Washington DUI Suspend My License?

By Vancouver WA DUI Defense Attorney Roger Priest

[/av_textblock] [av_hr class=’default’ height=’50’ shadow=’no-shadow’ position=’center’ custom_border=’av-border-thin’ custom_width=’50px’ custom_border_color=” custom_margin_top=’30px’ custom_margin_bottom=’30px’ icon_select=’yes’ custom_icon_color=” icon=’ue808′ av-desktop-hide=” av-medium-hide=” av-small-hide=” av-mini-hide=” av_uid=’av-9jnv3c’] [av_textblock size=” font_color=” color=” av-medium-font-size=” av-small-font-size=” av-mini-font-size=” av_uid=’av-jrwece4q’ admin_preview_bg=”] A Washington DUI can lead to a license suspension in various ways.  They law is complicated, so it is easy to feel lost when understanding the possible consequences.  However, if you can remember that being charged with a Washington DUI can cause a license suspension in two different ways, it can help to understand how it all works.  The two types of suspensions are administrative and criminal.

Administrative Suspension

If you are even charged with a DUI, this will likely begin an administrative action to suspend your license that can happen automatically if you take no action.  Upon arrest, the police are supposed to give you the following form explaining the administrative suspension and how to challenge it.

You only have seven days to request a hearing to challenge the suspension.  If you do not challenge the suspension, your license will be suspended thirty days after your arrest.  The term of the suspension will be either ninety days if you blow over a 0.08% at the police station or one year if you refuse the test.  If you request and win the hearing, your license will not be suspended administrative.  However, this is just the first hurdle you must navigate to avoid a license suspension, because the criminal case can also trigger a license suspension.

Criminal DUI Suspension

If you are ultimately convicted of a DUI in your criminal case, your license will also be suspended.  A DUI conviction carries a ninety day suspension.  A DUI conviction with a breath test over a 0.15% carries a one year suspension.  And a DUI conviction with a breath test refusal carries a two year license suspension.  If you are suspended both administratively and as a result of the criminal conviction, you will only ever face a suspension with a total length of the longer of the two suspensions.  Therefore, if you are suspended both administratively and criminally for ninety days, you will serve one ninety suspension only.

Furthermore, if you are able to negotiate your DUI down to a Reckless Driving, you will face a thirty day license suspension for that conviction.

In order to have no license suspension whatsoever, you must win both the administrative hearing and avoid a conviction that triggers a license suspension as part of the sentence.

What If I Cannot Afford to Not Be Able to Drive?

While no one wants to face a DUI license suspension, Washington law does have a favorable option for most drivers facing a suspension.  Washington offers an ignition interlock license to all Washington drivers facing a DUI license suspension.  The ignition interlock license permits you to drive with no time or place restrictions, so long as you follow the rules of the license.  The license requires you first install a functioning ignition lock device in your vehicle.  You will only be permitted to drive a vehicle with an ignition interlock device installed.  Secondly, you must obtain and maintain SR-22 insurance throughout the term of suspension.

Once you have both of these, you can simply fill out the Ignition Interlock License application and submit it to the Washington Department of Licensing.

There are more nuances and issues that can arise around the license suspension process, so it can pay to work with an experienced DUI attorney to address your particular case and needs.  Call VanWa Legal PLLC today to schedule a free consultation if you’d like to learn more.
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If You Have Been Charged With A DUI In Clark County or Vancouver WA, Time Is Of The Essence!

Call Our Office To Speak With Attorney Roger Priest Immediately.

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How Heartburn, Acid Reflux and GERD Can Affect a DUI Case

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How Heartburn, Acid Reflux and GERD Can Affect a DUI Case

By Vancouver WA DUI Defense Attorney Roger Priest

[/av_textblock] [av_hr class=’default’ height=’50’ shadow=’no-shadow’ position=’center’ custom_border=’av-border-thin’ custom_width=’50px’ custom_border_color=” custom_margin_top=’30px’ custom_margin_bottom=’30px’ icon_select=’yes’ custom_icon_color=” icon=’ue808′ av-desktop-hide=” av-medium-hide=” av-small-hide=” av-mini-hide=” av_uid=’av-9jnv3c’] [av_textblock size=” font_color=” color=” av-medium-font-size=” av-small-font-size=” av-mini-font-size=” av_uid=’av-jrwece4q’ admin_preview_bg=”] Do you suffer from heartburn, acid reflux, or GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease)?  Then you suffer from a health condition that can make you more susceptible to being falsely accused of a DUI.  Alcohol related DUI cases in Washington are investigated and prosecuted based mostly on breath testing.  If you are arrested for a DUI, you will be required by Washington law to provide a breath test which will be used as evidence against you in court.  If that breath test results in a reading that your blood alcohol concentration is above 0.08%, you are at a substantial risk of being convicted of a DUI.

The 0.08% Legal Limit for DUI

But, how do we know that a reading of 0.08% means guilty?  The law presumes that a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% is “impairment”.  However, a breath test reading of 0.08% does not itself mean your blood alcohol concentration is 0.08%.  The only way to truly know your blood alcohol content is to draw and test your blood directly.  Breath testing is a method of approximating your blood alcohol concentration through indirect means.

Understanding how breath testing works is crucial to understanding why it is susceptible to errors with certain medical conditions like acid reflux and GERD.  When you breath, the blood vessels (capillaries) in your lungs swap air and blood.  This is how oxygen from the air you breath gets into your body so that you don’t suffocate.  This is also how waste gases like carbon dioxide are processed out of your body and expelled as breath.

Then you drink alcohol, it absorbs through your stomach lining and gets into your blood.  As it moves through your body alcohol will move from your lung capillaries into the lungs and be expelled as part of your breath.  This is why you often smell alcohol on someone’s breath when they’ve had a lot to drink.  The breath testing machine tests your breath for the amount of alcohol it contains.  The higher your breath alcohol content, the higher your blood alcohol content.  Or is it?

How Acid Reflux and GERD Can Fool the Breath Testing Machine

Breath testing devices are calibrated by the manufacturers to correlate breath alcohol concentration amounts to an equivalent blood alcohol concentration.  However, they are tested and designed based off of normal healthy persons with normal physiology.

When you suffer from acid reflux or GERD, the contents of your stomach get mixed with the content of your lungs when you breathe out.  The closing at the bottom of your esophagus opens when it is not supposed to, allowing the contents of your stomach to seep back up into your esophagus and mouth.

When you have alcohol sitting in your stomach that is coming back up into your esophagus and mouth it can mix with you lung breath and show a breath alcohol concentration that is much higher than your actual blood alcohol concentration.  Therefore, having one or two drinks can make it seem like you had four or five.

Breath testing devices have special tools called “slope detectors” that are designed to identify alcohol that is in your mouth as opposed to coming from your lungs.  If it senses mouth alcohol, it is supposed to invalidate the sample.  However, research has shown that slope detectors are not particularly good at identifying mouth alcohol and can easily fail to recognize it.  As such, breath testing devices are not all that accurate, especially when facing unique medical conditions, like acid reflux and GERD.

Call In Vancouver WA For Legal Help Today

If you have been charged with a DUI and suffer from acid reflux or GERD, you may be able to beat the charge.  At VanWa Legal PLLC, we offer a free consultation on every DUI case, so call today to learn more.
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If You Have Been Charged With A DUI In Clark County or Vancouver WA, Time Is Of The Essence!

Call Our Office To Speak With Attorney Roger Priest Immediately.

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Things to Remember in a Washington DUI Investigation

Things-to-remember-in-a-washington-dui-investigation
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Things to Remember in a Washington DUI Investigation

By Vancouver WA DUI Defense Attorney Roger Priest

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Hi, my name is Roger Priest and I’m a local DUI attorney in Vancouver, Washington with Vanwa Legal PLLC. Today, I want to talk to you about a question I often get from clients. Which is, What are my rights? What are my obligations if I’m pulled over by the police for a DUI?

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Basically, What do I have to do and what don’t I have to do?  It’s just a good question because it can be scary to deal with the police but the first right that you should always consider is your right to be quiet. Ultimately cops it is their job to ask you questions and to try to build a case against you to get you convicted. And it is your constitutional right to tell them that you wish to invoke your right to the fifth amendment which is your right to remain silent.

So, how do you do that? Well, first and foremost you have to understand that answering their questions truthfully is going to hurt your case, every time. And some people often tell me well, I just wanted to do what the cops told me to do because you know, they’re in a position of authority. But it’s important you understand that that will hurt your case. So, don’t do it!

What does that mean though? You certainly shouldn’t lie to the police, if you lie to them it will hurt your credibility in your case and it could also potentially lead to additional criminal charges.

So, what do you do? Just say, “I want to remain silent.” that tells them succinctly that you are invoking your right to remain silent and they will stop asking you questions. It will not get you into any trouble and it can only help your case.

How about field sobriety tests? Let’s talk about those next. They are voluntary but you must understand that if you refuse them, that can be used against you. Typically, an argument might be made at trial that you refuse the field sobriety tests and so, therefore, that means that you knew you were drunk or you knew you were guilty.

Well, if you do the field sobriety tests, understand that that will make your defense attorney’s job harder. It will make the case less defensible.

It’s easier sometimes to explain why you refuse to do field sobriety tests than it would be to simply try to explain why you failed the field sobriety tests.

And you don’t be afraid to explain yourself if the law enforcement officer asks you to do field sobriety tests, it is a-okay to tell them that you have a medical reason that would prevent you from doing it or inclement weather, you’re not going to do it out in the rain which is very common here, if you’re afraid of being hit by cars on the side of the interstate you can cite that as a reason why you’re not willing to do it and you can also throw me under the bus and say that you’ve talked to an attorney and you’ve been advised that the field sobriety tests are stacked against you.

So, another thing that people consider, you will be asked oftentimes to provide a breath sample roadside in a portable breath testing device. You need to understand that that breath testing device is not admissible at trial.

So, there is no good reason to do it. It can’t be used against you if you don’t provide a sample but if you do provide a sample it can later be used to justify an arrest. The officer and a probable cause hearing can argue that it gave him reason to arrest you and that can hurt your case.

Again, doing it will make it harder for your attorney to defend your case and you always want to be careful with sneaky language by the officer. They’ll often say, “I just want to make sure you’re okay to drive” or you know, “If you don’t blow on this I’ll have to make my arrest decision based off of just the information I know”. And that can make it feel scary like you’re going to get arrested if you don’t do it but understand that if you provide a breath sample even if it’s below the legal limit you may very well be getting arrested anyway. So you would be better served not to provide them this evidence. Especially considering it can’t be used against you and you won’t get any trouble declining.

The most important this is asking to talk to an attorney. You, after being arrested have the right to call an attorney and oftentimes they will provide a list of attorneys that you can call. You can also call a specific attorney if you have someone in mind like me. There are literally zero downsides to asking to speak to an attorney. First and first and foremost, you’ll learn what your rights and obligations are, what you do and don’t have to do and you can ask tough legal questions that you don’t know the answers to.

Additionally, delay can be your friend. As your blood-alcohol concentration falls during the time that you’re talking to an attorney. That could ultimately lead to a more defensible case or a more negotiable case. And additionally, by invoking your right if the law enforcement makes any mistakes and not providing you one. That will also prison defenses that you can rely on later.

With regard to the breath test at the station, this second breath test not the roadside but at the station. You do have the right to refuse that test but it can lead to more punishment. What does that mean?

Well, the pros and the cons are; it is easier to win at trial if you refuse a breath test than if you blow over the legal limit. So, there are some benefits sometimes to refusing however, a refusal can cause you to serve more jail if you’re convicted and it will lead to a longer license suspension in most cases. So, there are some definite trade-off there.

Blood testing, this is important in drug DUIs but sometimes an alcohol DUIs as well. First and foremost, you should never volunteer your blood. Oftentimes law enforcement will ask you to agree to a blood test as part of their investigation. That gets them an out of having to seek a warrant.

If they ask to draw your blood, make them get a warrant. First and foremost the delay will be to your benefit in the time that takes them to do the paperwork and if you agree, you will not be able to later complain that the blood draw was taken incorrectly because you have effectively agreed to it.

Now, if they ask for a breath test. Instead, you can ask for a blood draw in addition to the breath test. By law, you have the right to additional testing. If you are released after the breath test, you have the obligation to get it on your own but oftentimes if you’re going to be booked into jail for a second or third lifetime DUI they have an obligation to help you obtain a blood test and if they don’t, that can cause serious problems for their case later. So, it’s always a good idea to ask for a blood test especially considering that a blood test is more accurate than a breath test.

I hope that was helpful and if you have any more specific questions, please feel free to give me a call. We offer a free consultation on every DUI case.

Thanks and have a wonderful day!
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If you have questions about your particular Marijuana DUI or other DUI charge, don’t hesitate to call VanWa Legal PLLC to schedule a free consultation.  We are happy to help.

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If You Have Been Charged With A DUI In Clark County or Vancouver WA, Time Is Of The Essence!

Call Our Office To Speak With Attorney Roger Priest Immediately.

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