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Man charged with DUI after parking lot mix-up

A 49-year-old Washington man was taken into custody on suspicion of DUI on Aug. 12 after allegedly mistaking a Washington State Patrol facility for a utility office. Troopers say that they became suspicious when they approached the man's car and detected the odor of marijuana. The man is facing impaired driving charges even though troopers accept that they never actually saw him driving. In Washington, individuals who have physical control of a vehicle can face DUI charges.

According to a WSP report, troopers were alerted when they noticed a civilian vehicle in a section of the facility's parking lot reserved for official cars and trucks. When they approached the vehicle, troopers say that the man told them that he intended to pay his utility bill. The man is said to have told the troopers that he regularly made payments at the facility.

When asked about the smell of marijuana coming from his vehicle, troopers say that the man confessed to smoking a large quantity of the drug before getting behind the wheel. The alleged drunk driving incident took place outside the WSP facility on Chuckanut Drive in Burlington.

Motorists with little experience with law enforcement often feel that their best course of action is to confess and hope for leniency, but it is prosecutors and not police officers who decide how a criminal case will be handled. While confessions may sometimes lead to more courteous treatment from police officers, they can also make things more difficult for criminal defense attorneys seeking to secure more lenient treatment for their clients. Experienced defense attorneys may advise their clients to be courteous and polite to police officers but to make no statements or admissions without them being present.

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