A 34-year-old Washington resident could be facing a felony DUI charge because of past convictions. That is if Spokane Valley Sheriff's deputies can determine that he was intoxicated when they arrested him recently near a fast food restaurant. At this time, police are waiting for the results of a blood test that will not only tell officers if the man was over the legal limit but also if a new charge will become more severe.
Police say that they found the man unconscious in a vehicle near a Jack-in-the-Box drive-thru after responding to a report about the vehicle. The officer's report says that they observed behaviors during a field sobriety evaluation that indicated intoxication such as slurred speech, red and glossy eyes, poor balance and slow movements. They also say that they smelled “an odor of an alcoholic beverage” when the man spoke. It's because of this that he was arrested and a warrant was issued in order to take a blood sample.
Because the media has brought up the man's drunk driving record in their reports, many resident across the state likely believe that this is a clear case of drunk driving and may already be passing judgment against the man. Unfortunately, as some of our Seattle readers know, some medical conditions can make a person appear intoxicated even though they have not consumed any alcohol. Although we do not know if this is the case in this man's situation, it's a possibility that has not been presented to the public. This may have already led many residents to believe that he is guilty even though he has not had a chance to prove his innocence yet.
If test results confirm that the man was drinking and driving, then police may move forward with the felony DUI charge. That's because, here in Washington, each additional DUI after the first escalates in severity. Reports indicate that so far the man's driving privileges were already suspended and he was ordered to install an ignition interlock system on his vehicle because of four previous convictions. Another conviction could mean extensive time in prison or even more severe penalties, especially without the help of skilled legal counsel.
Source: KHQ Right Now, “Driver With 4 Prior DUI Convictions Passes Out In Jack In The Box Drive-Thru,” Nichole Mischke, April 7, 2014
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