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Judge John E. Turner (Ret.)

Seeking a reduction of drunk driving charges in Washington

The penalties for driving under the influence are sometimes severe in Washington, and even motorists with no prior history of drunk driving may face jail time in some situations. Drivers facing DUI charges often have little experience with the criminal justice system, and they may wonder if prosecutors will take their previous good behavior into consideration. While experienced criminal defense attorneys may argue this point vigorously during plea negotiations, there are several other factors in drunk driving cases that are factored into these decisions.

Prosecuting attorneys in Washington are scrutinized closely, and they know that jury trials always involve a certain degree of risk. This is why they are sometimes willing to resolve cases with a negotiated plea even when police have presented them with compelling evidence, but they may be less willing to be flexible when motorists facing drunk driving charges have been involved in serious accidents or were found to have blood-alcohol levels far in excess of Washington's .08 percent legal driving limit.

Prosecutors may sometimes be persuaded to reduce drunk driving charges even in these situations if defense attorneys are able to find irregularities in police reports or challenge the validity of toxicology test results, but these arguments could be rendered moot if drivers have admitted to police that they consumed alcohol or took drugs before getting behind the wheel. If you have been charged with violating Washington's DUI laws, you may be wise to exercise your right to remain silent until you have obtained legal representation.

A DUI conviction can cast a long shadow, but proving these charges beyond reasonable doubt is not always straightforward for prosecutors. If you are facing misdemeanor or felony DUI charges in Washington and would like to know more about your available options, please visit our page dealing with defense strategies in drunk driving cases.

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