Laws of Driving Under the Influence

There are two types of DUI charges in Washington State, as well as two-pronged approach to those charges. All four can be used in combination to show you are under the influence or affected by alcohol or drugs to secure a conviction!

Two Types of DUI Charges

1. Driving While Under the Influence (DUI)

The one that is most notable is, in fact, Driving While Under The Influence (DUI) and is codified in RCW 46.61.502. This is the charge where you are actually driving your vehicle when stopped by law enforcement.

2. Physical Control

The other "type" of DUI, is Physical Control codified RCW 46.61.504. This is the charge where you are not actually driving the vehicle when contacted by law enforcement but rather you are off the roadway using the vehicle for shelter, or a place to sleep because you may have decided not to drive any further. Although they are separate charges the punishment under Washington law is exactly the same. There are, however, different defenses.

Two Ways Washington State Identifies DUI

1. Per Se

Washington State DUI law has a two-pronged approach to DUI and Physical Control. The first and most widely known is the "Per Se" prong. A person is guilty of driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug if the person drives a vehicle within this state and the person has, within two hours after driving, an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher as shown by a proper analysis of the person's breath or blood. The proof here is typically in the form of a breath or blood test.

2. Affected By

The lesser known prong is called "Affected By." The statute simply states that a person is DUI if the person is driving under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor or any drug. This means that the person appeared to be "affected by" their alcohol consumption. The proof here is most often eyewitness testimony of the officer who describes how the car was driven all the way through your performance on "sobriety" tests.

Like any scenario where there are multiple ways to proceed, the laws here also combine the two and a conviction can be secured by showing that you are under the "combined" influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor and any drug. Regardless of whether you are charged with DUI or Physical Control, the State will seek to use a breath test or sobriety tests, or a combination of the two to prove you were at or over .08 or affected by alcohol while you were in "physical control" of a vehicle.

The state has many tools and many undisclosed advantages in prosecuting you for DUI. The defense of those accused of DUI is not for the weekend "warrior" lawyer, rather it requires the dedication and determination of lawyers who continually train themselves in the techniques of breath testing, sobriety testing, and drug recognition expertise in order to understand and expose the limitations and rhetoric used in the prosecutions of those citizens accused. Jonathan Rands has that training and the focus that is necessary to provide you with the best results possible.