New statistics released by the Washington State Toxicologist Lab this week show that more people in Washington State are driving under the influence of marijuana when compared to previous years. As a DUI Attorney Seattle and someone who was not in favor of creating this per se limit this comes as no surprise, and frankly I would have thought the number of Marijuana DUI arrests would have been much higher.
I recently saw an article in KIRO news which offered the following statistics. In 2011 there was approximately 1,036 Marijuana DUI arrests. In 2012, the number dropped to 988. But in the first six months of 2013, there was 745 cases, which would project to nearly 1500 for the year. Of those 745 Marijuana DUI arrests this year, 506 of those were higher than the Marijuana DUI legal limit of 5 nanograms.
Now this is not the first time I have blogged about Seattle Marijuana DUI cases in relation to the new Marijuana laws. But beside the obvious reason of the legalization of marijuana why have the number of Marijuana DUI arrests increased. In my opinion look no further than the recent Supreme Court ruling which changed the law when it comes to blood tests, which is the primary piece of evidence used in a Marijuana DUI case.
No longer are law enforcement reading an implied consent warning for a blood test, which gives a person a choice to take the test or not. Now in blood test cases law enforcement simply requests a warrant from a Judge and as long as the officer can establish probable cause to justify the warrant a Judge will sign off on it.
Welcome to 2013 and the new world of Seattle DUI cases. No longer are there going to be refusals since most Judges are suppressing refusal evidence. Instead the cop will just get a warrant and force a blood test. My advice as a Seattle DUI lawyer used to be to consider refusing a breath or blood test. Yes you would possibly face a longer license suspension and an increase in the mandatory sentence a Washington State DUI carries. But you would be depriving the Prosecution of the one piece of evidence they hang their hat on.
However nowadays with most refusal evidence being suppressed and cops knowing that it might not be best to refuse because the cop will just end up getting a blood test and that evidence in the blood will come out.
About the author: Matthew Leyba, the owner of Leyba Defense PLLC is a DUI lawyer practicing in Seattle, WA. He represents people charged with DUI and other related offenses. He has been named a Rising Star among Seattle DUI Lawyers by Seattle Met Magazine, an honor less than 2.5% of all Attorneys receive. He is also rated as a 10/10 and Suburb DUI lawyer by Avvo.com