What's next?

Being charged with a crime can be a scary experience. Read more about what to expect in a criminal case. I give an overview of each stage from arraignment to trial.

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Washington State has some of the toughest DUI laws in the country. It takes an experienced DUI attorney to assess your case and help you get the best resolution possible. I have highlighted the basics of the law in Washington.

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What to do if Stopped

A police officer has pulled you over and you have had a drink or two. Now what? You must provide your license, registration, and proof of insurance. Have these ready before the officer gets to your window. I keep my papers together in the driver’s side visor.

When the officer gets to your car, he will start asking you questions. “Do you know why I stopped you?” or “Have you been drinking tonight?” You do not have to answer these questions. Always be polite, but it is always ok to say “My attorney always said not to answer any questions, even for a traffic ticket.”

My cards, and those of several other DUI attorneys have an “assertion of rights” printed on the back. This is a handy card that explains to the officer that you are going to comply with his requests, but that you are not going to do anything that isn’t legally required. You can print a copy to keep with you Field Sobriety Tests.

Politely decline to do any field sobriety tests. A simple “no thank you” will do. These are voluntary tests that the officer will want you to perform in order to gather evidence against you. The most commonly applied tests are the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, One Leg Stand, Walk and Turn, and the Portable Breath Test or “PBT”. Law enforcement around Spokane will often ask if its ok to check your eyes, or “make sure you are ok to drive”. If the officer is asking you to take a test prior to arrest, you can refuse to do them.

The penalties associated with DUI and licensing are weighted so that they are more severe if you refuse to take the test. Because of this, I often advise people to submit to the breath test, but not always.This is one of the most critical decisions a person will make during a DUI arrest. Speak with a lawyer before deciding.