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Judge John E. Turner (Ret.)

Increased patrols ongoing through Jan. 1

Since Dec. 15, Washington police agencies have been conducting increased DUI holiday patrols in an effort to prevent fatal crashes by getting impaired drivers off of the roads. The patrols are set to run through Jan. 1, and King County police advise citizens to get rides, take taxis or use Uber to get home after they have been drinking.

According to law enforcement officers, one of the primary concerns involves people who are impaired by multiple substances. The Washington Traffic Safety Commission reports that drivers who were under the influence of two or more drugs outnumbered single-substance drivers involved in DUI crashes by three to one in 2015.

The number of fatal crashes attributed to drivers who were under the influence of multiple substances rose from 82 in 2011 to 146 in 2015. During those same years, fatal accidents that were caused by drivers who were under the influence of alcohol alone fell from 82 in 2011 to 51 in 2015.

Drunk driving accidents tend to increase during the holiday season each year. People should avoid driving after they have been drinking or using any substances. When people are charged with drunk driving, they may face serious penalties if a conviction is obtained, especially when they have been involved in accidents. They thus may want to talk to a criminal defense attorney who is experienced with these types of matters. Counsel may be able to present mitigating evidence to the assigned prosecutor in order to help secure a plea to a lesser charge or a reduced sentence. In some cases, a challenge could be made to the way that the traffic stop or breath test was conducted.

Source: City Living Seattle, "Holiday DUI patrols begin tonight, last through New Year's Eve", Dec. 15, 2016

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