Understanding Washington’s Legal Limit
With probable cause that you are impaired as a result of alcohol or drug use, an officer may arrest you based on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI). A specific level of alcohol in a person’s blood must be present in order to fall under the definition of a DUI offense. This limit is referred to as blood alcohol content (BAC). Although other evidence is available to law enforcement to prove you operated a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, prosecutors are often comfortable relying on specific BAC test results.
There are various BAC legal limits that apply to different categories of drivers. These include adult drivers of non-commercial vehicles, drivers below the age of 21, and commercial drivers. Are you facing a DUI charge in Washington for exceeding a BAC limit? If so, it’s important to retain the services of an experienced Seattle DUI attorney from Emerald City Law Group as soon as possible.
Overview of Washington BAC
Your BAC is the percentage of your blood that contains alcohol. Law enforcement is able to test your BAC by using a breathalyzer, directly drawing blood for lab analysis, or testing your urine to determine a certain level of alcohol in the blood.
Adult Driver BAC Legal Limit
The legal BAC limit for adult drivers of non-commercial vehicles in Washington is 0.08 percent within two hours of operating the vehicle. The state has the burden of proof when it comes to demonstrating the accuracy and reliability of your BAC test, and that you were operating the vehicle within the designated time period.
Commercial Driver BAC Legal Limit
For drivers of commercial vehicles, the legal limit set at a strict 0.04 percent. This applies to all persons having commercial driver’s licenses while in operation of a commercial vehicle. This lower BAC limit is due to the licensure and skills required to drive such vehicles and the added danger involved when large commercial trucks are involved in accidents.
Under 21 Driver BAC Legal Limit
Drivers under the age of 21 who are not legally permitted to consume alcohol may be charged with a DUI in Washington with a BAC of 0.02 percent.
Challenging Your BAC Results in Washington State
Police in Washington has several different types of BAC tests they can use to evaluate if an individual has exceeded the legal limit and can be charged with DUI. Each test has its own pros and cons and level of accuracy. An experienced attorney from Emerald City Law Group can formulate the best defense to challenge your BAC results. Some of the defenses available for various types of BAC tests include:
Although considered the most accurate BAC testing method, a blood test is not infallible. Flaws involving human error and testing procedures can be exposed by your lawyer.
During cross-examination, your attorney may be able to uncover problems with the blood test, including the possibility that the blood sample was left exposed to contamination for too long, there was a mix up with the tests, or poor record-keeping practices cast doubt on the source of the blood sample.
Testing done with a breathalyzer measures BAC through an indirect method that reflects the quality of alcohol in the air you exhale. This is converted into an estimate of how much alcohol is present in your blood. The factor used to make this conversion may be significantly inaccurate at times. Therefore, it could shed doubt on the accuracy of your BAC value obtained through this method.
Factors such as the presence of breath fresheners, toothache medications, mouthwashes, to name a few, may lead to false elevated readings of the breath test. An experienced DUI attorney from our firm will know of other doubts that may be raised concerning the testing procedure and results.
Typically, the urine test is considered the least accurate method of testing for BAC. The results of this type of test depend on various factors, including your level of hydration and the time at which the test was taken. A skilled DUI defense attorney can expose flaws that may be present in a recorded BAC level determined with this method.
Consult the Seattle DUI Lawyers with Emerald City Law Group
If you are facing DUI charges in Washington due to a BAC test result that exceeds the applicable limit, you need an aggressive and experienced legal advocate who can evaluate every aspect of your traffic stop, field sobriety tests, and chemical tests in order to build a strong defense on your behalf. At Emerald City Law Group, our Seattle DUI attorneys can fight hard to minimize, and when possible, eliminate the consequences you are facing.