DUI Traffic Stops
DUI Traffic Stops In Washington State
Criminal Defense Attorney Vancouver WA
Roger Priest is a DUI & criminal defense attorney in Vancouver WA with extensive courtroom experience in Washington’s complex criminal laws
There are hundreds of traffic infractions on the books. Even an experienced DUI attorney won’t be familiar with all of them. But the officer must be able to point to a specific statute as authority for the stop and explain how the driver violated the statute. Otherwise, an experienced DUI lawyer can potentially get the charge dismissed.
There are generally two types of traffic infractions: bad driving or problems with the car itself. Bad driving examples include speeding, not using your turn signal, and not stopping at stop signs or red lights. Problems with the car itself can include expired registration, broken headlights, cracked windshield, or not properly titling a vehicle after purchase.
So if you drive safely in a car that is properly “street legal” you shouldn’t get pulled over. It doesn’t matter if you have fifty pounds of drugs in the car or have a couple of drinks. Nevertheless, police make mistakes and sometimes they stop a car without lawful authority. This is one situation where a good DUI lawyer can help.
Reasonable Suspicion of Criminal Activity
Perhaps the most litigated reason for a stop is where the officer pulls a vehicle over because he or she believes the driver is committing or recently has committed a crime. In order to pull a vehicle over under reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, the police must be able to convince a judge that articulable facts caused them to reasonably believe that the vehicle occupants had committed a crime, like DUI. A diligent DUI attorney can sometimes have a judge rule that a police stop was invalid based on a lack of credible, articulable evidence supporting the reason for the DUI stop. Reasons for this can include, unreliable tips from others, false assumptions, unreasonable inferences about the evidence and more. In practice, the art of attacking a DUI stop is extremely complicated and requires hours of dedicated legal research. Such work is often better left to a seasoned criminal defense attorney who already has years of experience in this area.
When an officer first approaches your vehicle, whether under belief that you’ve committed a traffic infraction or whether he believes you may have engaged in criminal activity, the scenario will likely start the same. Most often the officer will ask for your license, registration, and proof of insurance. By law, you must produce these items when pulled over, so it pays to have them handy for the police officer before he or she approaches.
The Officer’s Observations Will Be Key
“Have You Been Drinking Tonight?”
This answer beats the alternative. If you say that you haven’t been drinking, but a later breath test shows you have, you will lose credibility with the court and a jury at trial. Rather, simply refusing to answer is perfectly OK. Don’t be concerned that your noncooperation might make the officer angry, because he or she wasn’t going to invite you to Christmas dinner regardless.
Latest Client Reviews
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.
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.