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Washington Drunk Driving Attorneys Disclaimer: The DUI Defense, Drunk Driving, DMV Drivers License Suspension, Driving Under the Influence, Driving While Intoxicated or other DUI defense information presented at this site should not be considered formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. Any results set forth here were dependent on the facts of that case and the results will differ from case to case. Please contact a Washington State drunk driving lawyer or attorney for a free initial consultation. This web site is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the State of Washington.

My DUI defense law firm serves the following Western Washington communities, among others: Snohomish County, King County, Skagit County, Alderwood, Arlington, Bellingham, Bothell, Brier, Camino Island, Darrington, Edgewood, Edmonds, Everett, Gold Bar, Granite Falls, Index, Lake Stevens, Lynnwood, Marysville, Mill Creek, Monroe, Mountlake Terrace, Tulalip, Mukilteo, Silvana, Smokey Point, Snohomish, Stanwood, Sultan, Woodway, Anacortes, Bow, Burlington, Clearlake, Concrete, Hamilton, La Conner, Lyman, Marbelmount, Mount Vernon, Sedro Wooley, Bellevue, Kirkland, Lake Forest Park, Mercer Island, Redmond, Seattle, Shoreline, Woodinville.

I also serve the following Zip Codes: 98011, 98012, 98020, 98021, 98026, 98033, 98034, 98036, 98037, 98043, 98046, 98052, 98072, 98082, 98087, 98201, 98203, 98204, 98205, 98206, 98207, 98208, 98213, 98223, 98241, 98251, 98252, 98256, 98258, 98259, 98270, 98271, 98272, 98273, 98274, 98275, 98287, 98290, 98291, 98292, 98293, 98294, 98296
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"What Do I Do Now?" Book Cover
New book by Craig Cahoon
for the families of those facing criminal charges




What is a DUI?

Breath Test Refusal

Reading your ADR

BAC Ticket Explained

Alcohol Evaluations
License Suspensions

DMV Hearings

Underage Drivers

Driving without a License

Ignition Interlock License
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Experienced and Aggressive Criminal Defense
How DUI Court Works

DUI Penalties

Charge Reductions

Deferred Prosecutions

Court Watch

10 Tips if you are stopped for DUI

1.      Be Polite.  Apart from just being a good idea in general, being polite can have a direct effect on your DUI stop.  One of the factors officers look for is behavior, specifically: bad behavior as this may be a sign of intoxication.  Prosecutors are often less willing to negotiate in cases where the Defendant was extremely rude or aggressive towards the officer.

2.      Find a safe place to pull over.  Another factor often highlighted in police reports is the manner of driving.  Not just during the initial observations, but also the response time and decision-making displayed while pulling over.  A jury may well excuse minor traffic infractions observed prior to the officer’s emergency lights coming on but are less likely to dismiss bad driving after you know there’s a cop behind you.

3.      Think safety.  Traffic stops are among the most dangerous activities a police officer can engage in.  The reason is simple: They have no idea what they are about to get into or whether there is a weapon in the vehicle.  As a result, officers will be especially concerned for their safety when approaching your vehicle.  To relieve some of this concern, keep your hands in plain sight on the steering wheel.  Avoid the temptation to start digging for your license, insurance card and registration; there will be plenty of time to gather those documents.

4.      Don’t make unnecessary statements.  In my experience, there is almost nothing you can say that will not hurt you in some fashion - even seemingly innocent statements.  If you are stopped by a police officer, he is investigating you for a crime or infraction; treat the contact that way.  You are required to provide certain information like your name, driver’s license, registration, proof of insurance etc.  Anything else you say can AND WILL be used against you – so politely decline to answer any other questions.  There are a million ways to do this but try something like, “I’ve been advised not to answer any questions like these and am choosing not to answer.”  There is no way you are going to talk your way out of a charge if the officer thinks he has grounds to arrest – so don’t try, it will only end up hurting you.

I cannot tell you how may police reports I’ve read where the person who was stopped told the officer they had “2 beers,” or worse, lied and said they had nothing to drink when they reeked of alcohol.  Neither minimizing the amount of alcohol you consumed nor lying about it will help your case.  The only good decision is to decline to answer. 

A common negotiating tactic is to take advantage of people’s natural desire to “Fill the Void” when one side of the conversation takes a long pause.  Experienced officers will employ this simple tactic to extract more statements from the person they are investigating.  Don’t fall for it, it s just a trick.

5.      Don’t take the PBT.  The Portable Breath Test (sometimes referred to as a Preliminary Breath Test) is a small device that can provide breath alcohol level reading at the scene of a traffic stop.  They are VOLUNTARY and according to our State Toxicologist are not reliable enough to use as evidence in a trial.  In fact, they can only be used to establish a basis for arrest.

6.      Don’t perform FSTs.  The Standardized Field Sobriety Tests are perhaps the most common evidence police use to establish a basis for arresting someone.  These tests are VOLUNTARY and you are not required to take them.  They will not help your case and should be avoided.

7.      Don’t consent to the search of your car.  If a police officer is asking you for permission to search your car, then he probably does not have another justification for searching.  Allowing a police officer to search your vehicle will not help your case.  If he finds nothing, that fact will most likely be ignored.  If he finds something – it can only hurt you.

In Washington State, a well-recognized exception to the warrant requirement of our Constitution is “Search Incident to Arrest.”  That means that if you are arrested for DUI, the police are allowed to search the “lunge areas” of your vehicle without your consent.  This does not include locked containers.

8.      Do take the breath test.  In Washington, refusal to take the breath test can lead to a year-long (sometimes longer) suspension of your ability to drive.   It can also increase the mandatory penalties if you are convicted.  As a lawyer defending you, I would almost always prefer to fight the admissibility of a breath test ticket in a motion hearing rather than subject a client to the potentially increased penalties associated with a refusal.

9.      Witnesses and written statements.  Alcohol has at most a transitory presence in the human body.  As such, it’s important to gather as much evidence immediately after arrest as possible.  This means that having witnesses who can testify to your level of sobriety immediately after arrest can be a huge asset.  The police are also required to notify you of your ability to get a blood test – to corroborate the BAC machine – if you choose to have one.  This is done at your expense but if you question the results of the BAC, its best to have a second test we can use as evidence.

You should also write down the names of people who were with you both during and before you were contacted by the police.  Those memories fade surprisingly fast so take the time to preserve them.  Also note how much and what you had to eat and drink.  Save receipts if you have any.

10.  Contact a lawyer right away.  Being stopped for DUI is stressful.  Contact a lawyer immediately and discuss your case.  Having answers to questions as basic as “What is going to happen?” or “Can I still drive?” can really reduce your stress level.

There are two things that happen with a DUI charge:  First, you will have to defend yourself in Court.  This means that you will have court dates that you must attend and you will be facing the prospect of jail time.  That is not something you need to face alone; a lawyer can help you through this difficult time and advise you on the best ways to win the case or at least minimize the impact of the charge. 

Second, you will have to defend yourself from the Department of Licensing.  Merely by being accused of a DUI, the Department of Licensing will try to take your license from you.  Unless you takes steps right away, you could be facing a license suspension.
How may I help?

Call 866.529.5383

Fax 360.322.7360


The Cahoon Law Office
3405 - 172nd Street NE, #5-242

Arlington, WA 98223

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122 East 5th Street
Arlington, WA 98223
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