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How Toxicologist Misconduct Can Dismiss Your DUI Case

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If you have been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Washington, you need to know your rights and the possible consequences of a conviction. Washington state has strict DUI laws and penalties that can result in a significant impact on your life, including jail time, fines, and a criminal record. 

Toxicologists have a vital responsibility in DUI cases, as their reports can determine whether the defendant’s blood alcohol content (BAC) was above the legal limit. However, when they engage in misconduct, it can compromise the integrity of the evidence, and lead to the dismissal of your case. 

Washington DUI Laws and Penalties

According to Washington state’s implied consent laws, drivers are required to submit to a breathalyzer test if a police officer requests one. Refusing to take a breathalyzer test can result in a license suspension for one year, or even longer if the driver has previous offenses on his or her record. If the driver’s BAC is above the legal limit of 0.08%, he or she can face DUI charges.

The penalties for a DUI conviction in Washington depend on several factors, such as your BAC level, the number of previous offenses, and whether there were any aggravating circumstances, such as an accident or injury. For a first-time DUI offense, the penalties include up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $5,000, and a license suspension of 90 days to one year. Repeat offenders face more severe penalties, including longer jail sentences, higher fines, and longer license suspensions.

Consequences of Toxicologist Misconduct

Toxicologists play a critical role in DUI cases. These professionals provide evidence to support or refute the prosecution’s claims that the defendant was intoxicated while driving his or her motor vehicle. Toxicology reports can determine whether a driver’s BAC was above the legal limit or if they were under the influence of drugs. 

However, toxicologists can make mistakes or engage in misconduct, which can compromise the evidence. Any misconduct can damage the integrity of the report and render it inadmissible in court. 

Toxicologist misconduct can take various forms, such as:

  • Failure to follow established protocols
  • Committing errors when analyzing samples
  • Deliberately tampering with evidence
  • Improperly calibrating the testing equipment
  • Using outdated or expired test kits
  • Failure to acknowledge pre-existing conditions or medications
  • Using untrained professionals to administer the tests
  • Unusual gaps in the chain of evidence
  • Mislabeling a test sample
  • Failure to store test samples properly
  • Cross-contamination of test samples

If you believe that a toxicologist has compromised the evidence in your DUI case, it’s crucial to consult with a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney can review the toxicology report and identify any irregularities or inconsistencies. Then, he or she can file a motion to suppress the evidence or dismiss the case based on the toxicologist’s misconduct.

Contact a Washington DUI Defense Attorney Today

Getting arrested for a DUI can be a frightening and overwhelming experience, but hiring an attorney can help. Besides seeking to suppress a compromised toxicology report, a DUI defense lawyer can also help guide you through the legal process, protect your rights, and investigate all available defenses to build a strong case.

As soon as possible following your arrest, schedule a free consultation with a Tacoma DUI attorney. Your lawyer will carefully review your case, explain your legal options, and start developing a strategy for your case.

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