One of the most common questions I get asked by anyone and everyone is what happens if I take the breath test if I get arrested for DUI. In fact I was at a great restaurant over the weekend (Brimmer & Heeltap in Ballard) and I started talking with the couple next to me. When they found out I was a Seattle DUI Attorney that was the first question they asked. So it got my thinking why not write a blog post about it. So here you go…
What happens if you take the breath test following a DUI arrest. Well a couple different things can happen:
First if you take the breath test and there is a reasonable amount of alcohol in your system. I would say anything above a 0.03 then you’re getting charged with a DUI. That may actually surprise a lot of you. And in fact I recently wrote a blog post about how you can get possibly arrested and convicted for a DUI with only 1 drink in your system. A 0.03 is about that limit. Now whether you actually get convicted of a DUI with a alcohol level that low is another story. True story: As of writing this post Leyba Defense PLLC has never lost a DUI jury trial where the alcohol level was below a 0.08.
Secondly if you take the breath test and your alcohol level is at or above 0.08 then you’re definitely going to get charged with a DUI. But you’re also going to face a possible administrative action with the Washington Department of Licensing. What this means is if this is a first offense and you have never been arrested for a DUI before and you take the breath test and you blow over the legal limit then you’re facing a 90 day loss of your license or privilege to drive in WA State.
Thirdly if you take the breath test and your alcohol level is at or above 0.15 then you’re facing increased penalties in the criminal case. This would include more jail, more fines, and a longer drivers license suspension. You’re also facing the same administrative action with the Washington State Department of Licensing as if you were below a 0.15 but above a 0.08.
So what to take away from this. If you take a breath test and you’re below the legal limit you most likely will still get charged with a DUI. If you take the breath test and you’re above the legal limit then you most definitely will get charged and you face a separate legal action with the Washington Department of Licensing. Tomorrow I will discuss what happens if you don’t take the breath test at the police station following a DUI arrest.
About the author: Matthew Leyba is a DUI Lawyer in Seattle, WA. He is rated a perfect 10 out of 10 by Avvo.com, and has been repeatedly named a Rising Star in the area of DUI Defense by both the Seattle Met Magazine, and the Super Lawyers Magazine, an honor less than 2.5% of all lawyers receive in their particular area of practice.