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DUI Sentence Vacated, Conviction Upheld

Posted by Kevin Trombold DUI Defense Attorney | Oct 23, 2013 | 0 Comments

American Jurisprudence - DUI Sentence Reversed
American jurisprudence is an adversarial system. In the criminal courts, the state advocates for the people, and the defense advocates for the accused; then a jury decides whether or not the suspect should be convicted. Sometimes, these verdicts are appealed to a higher court. And during these appeals, it's unusual when the state actually admits that it was wrong during the trial court phase.

But that's what happened in State v. Jacob, a case filed earlier this month in the State Court of Appeals Division II. In the appeal, the state admitted that it miscalculated the defendant's offender score, which is used to determine the severity of the punishment doled out after a conviction.

In October of 2011, Terry Jacob was pulled over in Mason County on suspicion of driving under the influence. He claimed to have had "two or three drinks" at a nearby bar, but subsequently failed some field sobriety tests, including the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, which monitors eye movement. (He also reportedly failed to touch his finger to his nose in six out of seven attempts). Jacob was arrested and charged with DUI.

At trial, a state toxicologist stated that Jacob's BAC was .10, which is over the limit of .08 grams. He also indicated the presence of inhalants in Jacob's blood like those which are often used for huffing, and noted they could have affected the HGN test results. Though the toxicologist wasn't cross-examined, Jacob later claimed that he had used an asthma inhaler, which could have tainted the test results. Nevertheless, the court excluded the testimony, and a jury found Jacob guilty of DUI.

Jacob appealed his conviction and his offender score.  To the state's credit, it admitted that officials had miscalculated Jacob's offender score and imposed a harsher sentence than he should have gotten (five years of incarceration). The appeals court vacated the sentence and remanded the case back to the lower court for resentencing - but they did not overturn Jacob's conviction, ruling that the inhaler testimony was rightfully excluded.

About the Author

Kevin Trombold DUI Defense Attorney

Highly rated by former clients, who praise his warm, knowledgeable courtside manner and his fierce determination to reduce or eliminate charges. An accomplished speaker, author, and leader in DUI defense statewide Kevin is well respected by judges, prosecutors, and other attorneys across the State of Washington for his expertise, integrity, and knowledge in the complicated forensic science area of impaired driving allegations.


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