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Admitting Evidence of DUI in Washington

Several key pieces of evidence are admissible in a driving under the influence trial in the State of Washington.

First is a breathalyzer or blood test. Since the breathalyzer or blood test is the only way that the State can show that the defendant was driving while their blood alcohol content was at or above a certain level, and a blood alcohol content above a specified numeric percentage is an element of the crime, the State must be able to introduce evidence that the defendant was in excess of the statutory ceiling.

Second, the State can introduce evidence of a field sobriety test if it was issued to the defendant. One of the elements of the crime is that the defendant’s driving be impaired by the influence of alcohol or other drugs. By showing the defendant did not have a reasonable standard of control over their mental or physical facilities, the State has to show that the defendant’s blood alcohol content had an effect on their driving ability at the time of the arrest.

Finally, the State can produce evidence that the defendant refused the breathalyzer, blood test, or sobriety test. Since these tests are important to showing that the defendant’s mental and physical state were a part of the crime committed, the State of Washington allows prosecutors to introduce evidence as to why one of these tests was not administered.

Outside of these special instances in driving under the influence cases, the State can also introduce other evidence that would be otherwise admissible at trial.

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