Being accused of driving under the influence is never a good thing. It can be made even worse, however, when other factors are involved such as an accident or underage passenger being present. Sometimes, a number of these aggravating factors are present in a case. For example, Q13 Fox News reports that a police cruiser was pursuing a carjacking suspect in West Seattle earlier this month when it was it by another vehicle. The article states that the police car was making a U-turn when it was broadsided by a driver who was then arrested for suspicion of DUI.
Very few details of this case have been released; however, the driver was carrying an 11 year old passenger at the time of the accident. According to Washington law, drivers who are convicted of a DUI crime with a passenger under the age of 18 can be in violation of child endangerment laws which can increase their DUI sentence by adding an additional six months of ignition interlock use, additional jail time and increasing their fine. Additionally, the driver caused an accident which will likely result in an additional charge. If anyone was caused "substantial bodily harm" the driver could also be charged with vehicular assault which is a class B felony and can result in up to 10 years in prison or a fine of $20,000.
Hitting a police car while under the influence and carrying a minor may seem like the worst possible scenario, but the driver is not without hope. With the help of an experienced DUI attorney, anyone can fight their charges. There is no mention in the article of whether or not the driver with asked to take a sobriety test. Instead, the article states that a Drug Recognition Expert was called to the scene to evaluate the driver who then determined that they were under the influence. Though Drug Recognition Experts are trained to observe signs of intoxication, it is not an exact science and other evidence may be introduced to suggest the driver was not intoxicated and was simply caught off guard by the police vehicle's turn.
Though this story is very complicated, cases like these are not entirely uncommon. Many times a DUI arrest can involve several factors such as the presence of minor, an accident, or an injury. In these situations, the best course of action is to contact a Seattle DUI attorney right away to make sure you understand the charges you are facing and make informed decisions about your case.