Can you Still be Charged with a DUI if you are Under the Legal Limit?

With the holiday season fast approaching and family gatherings becoming more frequent there will be an increase of people in Washington getting pulled over for suspected driving under the influence charges. At holiday events people tend to celebrate and that may include consuming alcohol.

In Washington State the legal limit that constitutes a DUI is .08.  In theory, a blood-alcohol content level below that would mean that you would not be charged. However, if the officer suspects that you have consumed alcohol may still be able to charge you. Even though you may have only had a small amount of alcohol and you are not impaired in your ability to drive you need to be aware of the laws regarding DUI and how to protect yourself.

When you are pulled over the police officer will ask you to conduct a roadside sobriety test.  Even though the officer will express that it is required it is voluntary. The same is true for the roadside breath test. The officer will ask that you participate and you can politely decline. At this point, the officer may decide to charge you based on their observations and they can bring you bring the station where they will most likely conduct a blood alcohol content test from a sophisticated machine that measures the amount of alcohol that is present in your blood stream. They may also require a blood sample, which means they will draw your blood. These tests are not optional and you will be required to do them. However, you can request for secondary tests from a third-party if you feel like it is reasonable. After these tests are concluded, you may be released with no charge, be released with a charge of a future DUI hearing, or be required to stay in jail overnight.

While our hope is that you never have to experience a DUI, a field sobriety test or being pulled over by a police officer for suspected drunken driving it is important to know your rights as as a citizen. In Washington State it is possible to be charged with the DUI and have a blood alcohol content level below the legal limit. Because of this, you need to be aware if you are ever pulled over so that you can advocate for yourself. It's also critical to find an experienced DUI attorney to help represent you and your case. Contact us today to hear how we can help you and your DUI case.