I was recently in a local municipal court here in the Seattle area representing a client on a DUI charge. While we were waiting for our case to be called a DUI sentencing was going on. Most of the time I don’t pay attention to these, or I’m busy talking with my client or doing emails. But this was a really weird case and I couldn’t help but listen in. It was something I never thought I would hear and certainly something I never thought a defendant would do.
From what I could piece together from the sentencing. Apparently a driver was stopped for DUI. The police officer didn’t conduct any tests and just told the driver to park the car, go home, and not drive the rest of the night. Incredible, right? I mean this driver must have used up all 9 of their lives. I have never heard of such a thing and I deal with this stuff for a living.
But that is not the crazy part of the case. Despite being let go and not arrested for a DUI. The driver decided to disregard the break of a lifetime and decided to drive. The same cop stopped the driver and they were arrested for a DUI. Now the kicker was the breath test was over a 0.20. For those that don’t know the legal limit is 0.08. That means the driver was almost 3x over the legal limit.
The more and more I thought about this case the more pissed I got at this officer and driver. First as a DUI Attorney in Seattle I have represented many people charged with DUI when they were below the legal limit. Why weren’t none of them given a break, I mean after all they were below the legal limit. And here is someone who is almost 3x over the legal limit and they were let go. This just doesn’t seem fair.
Secondly as resident of Seattle, how can a police officer let someone go who is that bombed? I mean I could totally see if they were right at the legal limit or even under. Letting someone go would be totally understandable and in many situations the right thing. But to be 3x over and you let someone go only to see them continue to drive. How dangerous is that?
Anyway here is my free advice for the day. If you have been drinking and you get stopped by a police officer and they don’t arrest you and instead say to park your car and find another way home. Thank your lucky stars and go buy a lottery ticket because you’re the luckiest person in the world. But under no circumstances should you get back in your car and press your luck again. That’s just plain stupid!