In a refusal DUI case, a plea bargain isn’t always the best solution.
In Whatcom County, refusal DUI cases are difficult to defend in court. The allegation is that the person was driving under the influence refused to take a breath. If convicted of a refusal DUI, individuals can face enhanced penalties including:
- up to a two-year license revocation.
- over $2,000 in fines and fees.
- 60-months on probation.
- and from 2 days to a year in jail.
The prosecutor of a DUI case relies on the tests results from a breathalyzer or a chemical blood test. For people over 21, the legal limit is 0.08. If the jury finds that the test was correctly given and the results were correctly produced, the defendant can be legally found guilty. However, a refusal DUI case has no breath or blood test. Prosecutors must rely on the arresting officer’s observations, field sobriety tests, or admissions made by the defendant.
The ultimate weapon in refusal cases, “consciousness of guilt.”
In every DUI refusal case, the prosecution argues that any innocent person standing in the defendant’s shoes would have taken a breath test. Because the defendant refused to do so, he or she knew they were guilty of DUI. They wanted to try to conceal that fact by refusing to take the breath test. Sounds spurious? That exact “what was he or she hiding” argument happens every day. Almost 100% of the trial judges in Washington State allow it.
The argument seems powerful, but it overlooks the extreme unfairness of the situation. No driver knows exactly what their breath test result will be. In our experience, police officers coach defendants on how to breath into breathalyzers so that the results will be as high as possible. Drivers are also made aware that they have a right under state law to decline breath testing. They even get afforded the right to speak to a live lawyer to discuss whether to take the test. Ultimately, there may be many reasons that someone declines to take a breath test. The least of which being that they might be guilty of a DUI.
If you are facing DUI/DWI charge, it is very important that you receive the best legal defense possible. Lustick, Kaiman & Madrone has over 50 years of combined service defending DUI/DWI cases. Our legal team believes that all citizens accused of any crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. We extend high quality and professional legal defense services to anyone accused of a wide array of offenses.
We offer a free one-hour consultation for criminal offenses and one of our lawyers will appear for free at your first court hearing.
Read more about one of our recent refusal DUI cases.