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Washington DUI Case Results

Sandy's Story (City of Seattle v. Sandy)

Outcome:  Seattle .17 DUI reduced to Reckless Driving - No jail.

Description: According to the police report, the officer received dispatch for a vehicle hitting a wooden fence.  The officer responded and saw a white volkswagon facing northbound in the yard of a business, and had driven through the fence, parallel to the fence, after driving through a metal sign.  The temperature was 39 degrees, and the temperature had been freezing all day.  Snow had fallen and was melting and it was raining slightly, but most roads were clear of snow

The officer contacted Sandy on the driver's side.  The passenger said that they were both in the car and they were coming from downtown.  The passenger further explained that they had been going northbound on Aurora and tried to turn right, but had crashed.  The officer asked if D had been driving, and they said yes, and asked if passenger was in the front passenger seat, and he said yes.  The officer asked for Sandy's license and proof of insurance, and Sandy stumbled as she produced an out of state license.  Sandy stopped looking through her paperwork and the officer asked her if she remembered what else he had asked for.  Sandy replied yes in an annoyed voice, and the officer noticed that her speech was slow and slightly slurred.  The officer noted that her eyes were red and watery and that he smelled a slight odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the driver's door.  Sandy produced proof of insurance and registration.

The officer asked Sandy to step out of vehicle.  While exiting she stepped into the yard, leaning on the door. The ground was uneven with snow and debris.  The officer asked Sandy where she was coming from and she stated from downtown, and that the passenger was navigating for her and that she was unfamiliar with the area.  The officer asked where she was coming from and she said they were downtown from the 3rd and Pine area, and that she works at Columbia.  The officer asked if she had been drinking and Sandy stated no.  The officer asked, “Nothing to drink? Then what am I smelling?”  Sandy said he was smelling stress, and that she was “sweating it out.”  The officer asked Sandy when her last drink was and Sandy stated, “I didn't drink anything tonight! I'm sorry, I don't know what to tell you!”

The officer asked Sandy if he could check her eyes, she said yes.  Sandy's eyes tracked equally and her pupils were approximately equal in size.  She had no resting nystagmus.  The officer checked for horizontal gaze nystagmus and found a lack of smooth pursuit in both eyes, distinct and sustained nystagmus at maximum deviation in both eyes.  The officer asked Sandy if she would do more tests, and she said she was very stressed. The officer told Sandy he knew she had been drinking, and asked her to explain how much she had.  Sandy said, “first off I haven't been drinking. I was hanging out with coworkers” Sandy stated she felt this was “interrogation under duress,” and that she had been crying for the past 45 minutes.  Sandy stated “I feel like this is the very, I don't know, funny situation. I,I,I don't know other words to say it under.”

The officer  asked her to say the alphabet without singing.  Sandy started but was singing, so the officer asked her to do it again.  Sandy stopped at X and then stopped, apologized, then laughed.  Sandy stated she didn't want to do any other tests. The officer asked Sandy if she would tell him where she was coming from for real.  Sandy stated she was hanging out with coworkers downtown.  The officer asked which business and she said Columbia sports warehouse.  The officer asked Sandy how much she had to drink, and she stated “nothing.”  The officer handcuffed Sandy, and she asked if he was serious.  Sandy said she wanted to speak to an attorney.  The officer  asked if she understood her rights and she said she did.  The officer asked if her cuffs were too tight and she stated they were unnecessary.  Sandy thanked him for making a “terrible night even worse.”   Sandy complained that Ofcr was making her look drunk.  The officer asked how he could make her look drunk without administering tests.  Sandy asked, “What, what tests do you want me to take, dude? Do you want me to take a breathalyzer?”  The officer asked Sandy if she wanted to take a breathalyzer and he produced a PBT.  Sandy stated she wasn't drunk and wanted to go home.  Sandy stated,”I'm just drunk” and the officer stated, “I know.”  The officer asked again if she wanted to take a breathalyzer, and she stated, “No, I don't, because that is not fair. I just want to go home. I just want to go home. This is so unfair!”

The officer asked the passenger where they had been drinking, and he said they had been drinking at The Blarney Stone.  The officer asked if he knew why Sandy was lying, and he stated they had gotten into an argument earlier.  The officer thought passenger seemed moderately intoxicated but considerably less intoxicated than Sandy.

Sandy talked to the on call attorney from the public defenders office. Sandy explained several times that she was not drunk, and that she was not a drunk driver.  Sandy stated she had a friend who had received a DUI, and that that friend was a drunk, but that she was not.  Sandy cried occasionally, and asked about her vehicle and seemed surprised that it had been badly damaged.  She had never been in an accident before, but then later admitted she had been in two prior accidents.

After taking the breath samples, the officer showed Sandy the breath readings and she cried.  Sandy then asked if she could take the test again.  The officer offered to call a taxi, and Sandy said she would call her friend.  The officer told her she could not call her friend who was with her as he thought that he was intoxicated, and she stated that she was calling her friend M_____, and the guy in her car was J____.   20 minutes later the guy from her car showed up, but he was still visibly intoxicated. He stated he was sober, but then gave a PBT of .111.  The officer told him he could not drive anywhere, and called a taxi.  The officer told Sandy he was frustrated and offended by her repeated lies and disregard for the safety and well being of her boy friend despite police warnings.  Sandy provided breath samples of .179 and .167.

Seattle .17 DUI reduced to Reckless Driving with no jail time

---The names have been changed to protect the innocent.  We choose a fictitious name to represent a real person.

Practice area(s): DUI / DWI

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