DUI Arrests In Washington State

Roger Priest is a highly-rated criminal defense attorney in Vancouver WA with extensive courtroom experience in Washington’s complex criminal laws

Were You Arrested For Drunk Driving In Clark County Washington?

Deciding to make a DUI arrest is a legally significant decision for a police officer in two major ways. First, an officer’s arrest must be supported by probable cause. In essence, this means that an officer’s DUI arrest must be supported by a certain amount of evidence. If the officer doesn’t have enough evidence when he makes the arrest, the court will likely dismiss the case. Second, police must read Miranda warnings to a suspect after arrest before they can start asking the suspect questions. There are many subtleties to these rules, but these are the basics.

Any DUI Arrest Involves Critical Details That Can Make or Break Your Case

People have a constitutional right not be arrested unreasonably. For a DUI arrest to be proper, a judge must agree that there was enough evidence that a reasonable officer would believe, more likely than not, that the suspect committed a crime. This standard is called probable cause. A criminal defense lawyer can sometimes challenge whether probable cause existed to make an arrest. If a judge agrees that the officer did not have probable cause to arrest, all evidence gathered as a result of the arrest is inadmissible at trial. This can include evidence found from a search of the suspect, confessions, and much more. Successfully challenging probable cause for a DUI arrest will result in dismissal of the criminal charges in most cases. This is so because the amount of evidence necessary for probable cause is much lower than the amount of evidence necessary to convict (proof beyond a reasonable doubt). If police don’t have enough evidence to convince a judge that a suspect committed a crime more likely than not, chances are low that they can convince a jury that the same suspect committed a crime beyond all reasonable doubt.

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.

(360) 281-7314

Were You Read Your Miranda Warnings? Time To Call Us

The more common issue following arrest is the requirement of Miranda warnings. Police must read you Miranda warnings after arrest but before asking any questions. While many people have heard the Miranda warnings on television or film, few people grasp the important rights the warnings are designed to outline. To effectively understand the Miranda warning rights, it helps to know a little about the case that led to their requirement, Miranda v. Arizona.

Miranda v. Arizona

In 1963, Ernesto Miranda was arrested on circumstantial evidence that he had kidnapped and raped a young woman. After two hours of interrogation, Miranda signed a confession. He was never told that had a right an attorney, nor that he had a right to remain silent. The Supreme Court of the United States, on appeal, decided that police interrogations while under arrest are coercive by nature. Because police interrogations are so naturally coercive, the Supreme Court held that criminal defendants cannot truly be said to waive their rights to remain silent or speak with an attorney unless specifically informed of those rights and asked if they will, in fact, waive that right.

The Supreme Court further decided that if a criminal suspect:

“…indicates in any manner, at any time prior to or during questioning, that he wishes to remain silent, the interrogation must cease . . . . If the individual states that he wants an attorney, the interrogation must cease until an attorney is present. At that time, the individual must have an opportunity to confer with the attorney and to have him present during any subsequent questioning.”

Miranda’s conviction was overturned and he was awarded a new trial where his written confession to the police was excluded from evidence. Interestingly, Miranda was again convicted because he also confessed to his roommate who testified against him at trial. Ironically, Miranda was later stabbed to death in a bar fight. The only suspect in the case invoked his right to remain silent after receiving Miranda warnings. No charges were ever brought against him for lack of evidence.

Understanding Your Rights Under Miranda

Cops usually read you the Miranda warnings quickly from a printed card. Rarely will a cop give you more information than he has to by law. Furthermore, police are professionally trained to maintain a cold demeanor towards you to dissuade you from asking follow-up questions. In fact, cops often give the impression, through their demeanor, that “it would be a bad idea ” to refuse to answer their questions. To be fair, cops are not in the business of being your buddy. They aren’t there to give you advice and they certainly aren’t paid to help you avoid a conviction. They get job security by making sure that you get convicted of the crime they arrest you for. So, don’t expect the police to make it easy on you. The police want to read you the Miranda card and quickly get on with the interrogation. You can expect the typical Miranda warnings to go something like this:

The “All Business Cop” Miranda Warnings

a picture of a "no funny stuff" police officer

The “No Funny Stuff” Miranda Warnings

You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can, and will, be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you. Do you understand these rights? With those rights in mind, will you answer questions?



The “Buddy Cop” Miranda Warnings

Now imagine an entirely different type of cop. One who isn’t concerned with getting you convicted, but one who is most concerned with preserving your civil liberties. The Buddy Cop might take time to explain your Miranda rights in a manner that sells you on the virtues of exercising your constitutional rights. In a fantasy world like this, the Miranda warnings might go something like this:

A smiling police officer giving you a thumbs up!

The “Buddy Cop” Miranda Warnings

I am going to try to get you to confess to me that committed a crime so I can testify against you later in court. You don’t have to answer any questions or even talk to me. If you simply say “I don’t want to answer any questions”, I’ll immediately stop asking you questions. If you want to talk to an attorney before deciding, I’ll leave you alone until you have that opportunity. If you simply say “I want an attorney”, I’ll immediately stop asking you questions. You can’t get into trouble for not answering my questions, so there is really no downside to keeping quiet.

Respectfully Request Your Right To A Lawyer During A DUI Arrest

Don’t hold your breath waiting to meet cop number two. Nevertheless, both statements are correct under the law. The sooner you realize that the second statement is the better way to think about your rights, the better you’ll be. Hopefully, you are never in a position to need to exercise your rights under Miranda. However, as a professional criminal defense attorney, I can tell you that there is almost no reason to answer police questions, whether you are guilty or not. I see hundreds of cases a year, and almost no one exercises their right to remain silent. And even fewer exercise their right to an attorney until it is too late. Once you understand that your constitutional rights are sacred, you might not be so quick to give them up just because a police officer asks you to.

What Our Clients Say About Us

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Roger handled my case promptly and painlessly. We are from out of state and had spoken with quite a few attorneys in the area before we made the trip. Roger was middle of the road cost-wise (which was truly fair)and was clearly competent, handling the case in one trip over as oppose to the two or even three trip process many of the others were communicating would be the case. I would hire again without a second thought. Thanks again Roger.

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Excellent responsiveness, considerate and honest. Roger got the job done results were in my favor. Couldn’t be happier, Highly recommend!!

Karin Saltz 5 star testimonial
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Roger Priest provided truly exceptional service for a family member of mine. He was an extraordinary value for the level of knowledge and proffessionalism he provided. My loved one got the deal of a lifetime thanks to him. If any of my friends or family are ever in a less than fortunate spot and need legal advice Roger will always be my #1 reccomendation.

Taylor Vance 5 star testimonial
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Roger Priest is professional, intelligent and experienced, you can tell by the way he holds himself in court. Out of the 21 lawyers I interviewed and compared on an excel spreadsheet. I put my trust in Roger and he didn\'t let me down.

Aaron M 5 star testimonial
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Roger Priest was my Criminal Attorney for a DUI case I had in 2018. Through out the whole process he was in contact and always was reassuring! He gave his honest opinion on rather or not if my case would be worth going to trial, which is hard to come by! Today I left the courtroom a free man to come home to my family with a lot of tension lifted off my shoulders because of how he was articulate and presented my defense. I am very lucky to have him in my corner and to be spared. I will take this experience as a wake up call because these opportunities don\\\'t come too often! Mr. Priest definitely deserves a 5 star rating for his devotion and overall performance.

JB 5 star testimonial
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Roger Priest was referred to me by another lawyer (who could not take my case). Out of the 3 lawyers I reached out to Mr. Priest was willing to hear my case and not just try and convince me to take the easy route and plead out. He was informative, honest, and very tactical (in his approach with my case). Mr. Priest not only kept me updated with his plans and what to except he involved me in every aspect I could be in. He was very approachable and kind. I won my case, I wouldn’t have if I had gone with another lawyer. I am very satisfied with having had Roger Priest defend me. I hope to never have to use his services again but definitely would rehire him again (I wish I could hire him as my divorce attorney).

Alicia S. 5 star testimonial
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I recently consulted Roger for my first and only legal matter. He explained at length the legal ramifications that i was facing and he listened closely to all my questions and concerns. He was very attentive and empathic towards my situation and did not rush through things. I would highly recommend Roger to anyone I know seeking legal representation.

Itzel Keefer 5 star testimonial

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