Jeremy Lane, a former NFL player for the Seattle Seahawks, was given a suspended sentence for a DUI. Lane was charged with a DUI in January after he was pulled over on Interstate 90 by a state trooper.
For people in Washington, a drunk driving arrest can carry long-lasting consequences. Because a DUI conviction can have such a serious impact on a person's life, it can be particularly important to mount a defense prior to going to court. There are several options that alleged offenders can use to overcome drunk driving charges.
Steve Wilkos, host of "The Steve Wilkos Show," that airs in Washington and nationwide, had some interesting stories to tell after he flipped his car in what turned out to be a drunk driving accident in January. At his court hearing, the judge allowed him to enter a diversionary program. If he completes the 15-week alcohol educational course, his DUI charges will be removed from his record.
At about 11 p.m. on April 7, police received calls about a car running red lights and coming close to hitting several vehicles in Washington state. Minutes later, another person called 911 to report that a vehicle had crashed through their gate. The driver of the vehicle had fled on foot, but police soon made contact with the man who was covered in feces.
Seattle residents might be familiar with Vili Faulaau, the husband of former teacher Mary Kay Letourneau. Letourneau was convicted of sexually assaulting Faulaau when he was her student, but the two married in 2005. On Feb. 2, he was involved in a motor vehicle accident in Burien and charged with driving under the influence. He was scheduled for a court appearance on March 30.
Motorists in Washington with blood alcohol levels of .08 percent or higher are considered too intoxicated to drive. Impaired motorists are generally taken into custody for processing and to protect other road users, and they may face serious penalties if records checks reveal that they have a history of drunk driving. Police often become suspicious that a driver is intoxicated after performing a routine traffic stop or responding to the scene of an accident.
Washington State is facing a backlog of laboratory testing for DUI cases, especially those related to alleged drug use before driving. Thousands of requests have been made for the blood testing of samples collected from accused drivers. This surge is reflected in the numbers. In 2017, the state toxicology lab handled 15,945 cases, which is a 9 percent increase over the previous year. However, this was not a one-year increase but part of an ongoing trend as the number of cases presented to the lab has increased 45 percent since 2012.
There are individuals in the Seattle area who might drive after having one too many drinks. They may not have realized that their legal blood alcohol limit was exceeded after their last drink. There are also people who may be under the legal limit, but due to police error, are wrongfully charged with driving under the influence. And then there are those who do nearly everything wrong.
Drunk driving laws vary from state to state, but there are some general principles that guide them. People in Seattle who are detained for drunk driving for the first time will probably be charged with a misdemeanor if there are no extenuating circumstances such as an accident that injures other people.
People in Washington who are arrested on DUI charges can be subject to orders from a judge to prevent them from either drinking or doing drugs until after the resolution of the case. However, there is an ongoing debate over the use of urine tests to monitor those restrictions during a pending case following a state Supreme Court decision in 2017.