DUI Breath Test Refusal Attorney in Vancouver, WA

Roger Priest is a DUI criminal defense attorney in Vancouver, WA, with extensive courtroom experience in Washington state’s complex criminal laws

In Washington State, DUIs can come in all shapes and sizes. DUIs can follow a failed breath test, a voluntary blood draw, a search warrant blood draw, prescription medication use, and more. One of the most common (and sometimes defensible) DUI charges is the DUI refusal case.

Under Washington’s Implied Consent law, all drivers impliedly consent to provide a breath test if they are arrested for a DUI. That doesn’t necessarily mean that if you are arrested for DUI that you “have to” provide a breath test. But it does mean that you can face legal consequences for refusing to provide a breath test. In fact, a refusal can lead to a longer license suspension, longer jail sentence, and higher fines. Washington law views your license not as a right, but as a privilege that can be revoked if you don’t follow through with your legal obligations under the Implied Consent laws.

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Breath Test Refusal

Have a DUI refusal case attorney on your side at court

At VanWa Legal PLLC, we’ve represented 100s of DUI cases and practically live in the courtroom. We have affordable and flexible trial fees and can provide you the defense you need at trial.

(360) 281-7314

About DUI Refusal Cases

The potentially unintended benefit of refusing a DUI, however, is that it might make your case more defensible if you choose to go to trial.  Although a jury may very well convict you for a DUI without the benefit of a breath test that shows you’re over the legal limit, they may also feel less confident that you were actually “under the influence” without valid scientific evidence showing that you were. Prosecutors under Washington law can argue at a DUI trial that you refused a breath test because you were impaired and you knew that you would blow over.  However, there can be other reasons that a person might refuse a breath test that a jury might find equally compelling.  Some successful past examples include:

  • You didn’t understand that you were legally required to provide a breath test
  • Law enforcement treated you unfairly during the arrest so you stopped cooperating with them
  • You were advised by an attorney not to provide a breath test
  • You didn’t refuse but law enforcement misrepresented that you did
  • You already participated in a portable breath test before your arrest and didn’t understand why you’d need to do it again

There are potentially several other possible reasons that a person might “refuse” a breath test other than because they knew they were guilty.  At trial, you are free to explain your side of the story to correct the narrative you refused because you’re guilty.  This can be especially effective if your story makes sense and there is little other evidence of impairment other than the officer’s “professional opinion”.  If you otherwise look fine on video, a jury might not be convinced that your refusal of the breath test demonstrates your guilt.

The Penalty for a DUI Refusal

As mentioned above, a DUI with a breath test refusal enhancement can result in stiffer penalties, including:

  • More jail
  • Higher fine
  • Longer license suspension
  • Higher probationary supervision

However, it can possibly make the prosecutor’s job harder at trial to prove you’re guilty of a DUI.  This can be especially true if the police simply stop investigating you for DUI after you refuse to provide a breath sample.  Police have the authority to also seek a search warrant for your blood.  A search warrant is a court order to draw and test your blood for alcohol or drugs.  Police can seek and often obtain a search warrant regardless of whether you want to cooperate with their investigation or not.  If they choose not to seek a search warrant and simply rely on your refusal of the breath test as adequate evidence of your guilt, some juries may acquit you since the police did a lazy job of investigating the case.

If you’re facing a charge of a DUI refusal but want your day in court, it pays to have a DUI attorney on your side with experience defending against DUI refusal cases.  At VanWa Legal PLLC, we’ve represented hundreds and hundreds of DUI cases and live in the courtroom.  We have affordable and flexible trial fees and can provide you the defense you need at trial.  Our DUI courtroom experience can give you a fighting chance to clear your name.  We also offer a free consultation on every case, so call today to find out how we can help you fight your DUI.

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