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Judge John E. Turner (Ret.)

Aggressive enforcement for event leads to 19 DUIs

The Washington State Patrol assigned additional troopers to highways in the Tri-Cities area during the Water Follies weekend of boat races for the HAPO Columbia Cup. Troopers reported arresting 18 people for DUI during the weekend, which represented two more DUI arrests than the previous year.

According to the state patrol, the Water Follies weekend generates more drunk driving arrests in the area than New Year's Eve or the Fourth of July. The past New Year's weekend produced seven DUI arrests, and the Independence Day weekend resulted in the same number of arrested drunk drivers.

The first arrest was on Friday morning. The motorist had taken Oxycontin and was driving with a 4-year-old in the vehicle. An officer with the local police said that the vast majority of calls attended by the Kennewick police concerned medical problems like dehydration.

Although police respond to many types of situations, people that they arrest for drunk driving face criminal charges. A person convicted for driving under the influence of an intoxicating substance could lose a driver's license and even go to jail. Legal representation might enable the person to limit penalties and regain a license. An attorney might first try to protect the person's rights by checking the validity of the field sobriety test. Mistakes by law enforcement could undermine the accuracy of a field test, which might provide an attorney with an opportunity to get charges dismissed. Otherwise, an attorney could pursue a plea bargain with a lenient sentence if the person agrees to attend a substance abuse program or accept some driving restrictions.

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