2nd degree negligent driving result in a suspended license in WA state

Asked almost 6 years ago - Seattle, WA

My motorcycle accident didn't invlove another vehicle or person, but I did suffer an 7 day hospital stay in April. The hospital blood test showed a BAL of 2X the legal limit. The next month I recieved a traffic ticket in the mail for the following offenses:

Negligent Driving 2nd
No Motorcycle Endorsement
Failed to Wear Protective Helmet

Today I recieved a notice for a 3 month 'Order of Suspension' referencing (RCW 46.20.3101) and have the following questions:

1. Can the state (Police, Prosecuting Attorney, Judge, etc.) access my medical information? ...have they'll already?

2. Did the medicine(s) given to me in the ambulance effect the BAL of the blood test?

3. My traffic ticket shows Negligent Driving 2nd, not DUI, why am I now being handed a 3 month DL suspension?

Thanks for your help. - Shannon

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Jon Michael Zimmerman

    Contributor Level 14

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    Answered . A driver's license suspension is not an action taken by the police; rather, the action is taken by the Department of Licensing (DOL). DOL can suspend licenses for different reasons (e.g., habitual traffic offenders, intermediate driver violations, too many infractions, and for certain traffic offenses).

    If you don't challenge a pending suspension in a certain amount of time after you've been given notice of the suspension, DOL can suspend your license. It's also possible, and not uncommon, that drivers are charged with a civil infraction (such as negligent driving in the second degree), and then later charged with a criminal offense from the same incident. You would best be advised to have a conversation with an attorney about your particular situation and your rights.

  2. Mark C Blair

    Pro

    Contributor Level 14

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    Answered . 1. The State has likely already obtained the result of the blood draw that was performed at the hospital. This may be done under the authority of RCW 46.20.308.

    2. There are many things that might affect the accuracy of a blood draw done for the purpose of determining a blood alcohol level.

    3. If this was an accident case with a blood draw the State often takes a few months to file a DUI charge. They have up to 3 years from the date of the incident. However, there is also a separate Department of Licensing (DOL) action against your privilege to drive. You have 30 days to request a hearing to contest that action. The 30 days would start from the date of the incident or following receipt of notice. The letter you received from the DOL is most likely advising you that a 3 month suspension will go into effect unless you request that hearing (unless the 30-day deadline has already past). Read the letter carefully.

    Give a call or send an email if you would like more information. - Mark

  3. Jennifer McKinney Cooper

    Contributor Level 6

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    Answered . Hi Shannon:

    Sorry to hear about your motorcycle accident.

    I am assuming based on what you have written that you received an Order of Suspension from the Department of Licensing (DOL) because your blood alcohol concentration was above the legal limit of .08 and the police officer forwarded the result of the blood draw to the DOL. You are entitled to a hearing before your license is suspended. Did the police officer provide you with a piece of paper saying anything about a hearing regarding your license? You should talk to a criminal defense attorney about contacting the DOL about contesting the license suspension.

    The license suspension is considered an administrative action against your license and is not related to the Negligent Driving in the Second Degree infraction. Even if the police officer chose to not give you ANY tickets, the DOL could still attempt to suspend your license.

    It is possible that the medicine given to you in the ambulance may have affected you. However, if the test that you are referring to was only a blood alcohol concentration test, then it is unlikely that you were given medications containing more ethanol, but an attorney could analyze the test results to be sure.

    With regard to access to your medical records, did you consent to their release to the police officer or the Prosecuting Attorney? The Prosecuting Attorney may be able to get a court order for the medical records to help prosecute your case.

    As an additional side note, you have 15 days from the date of the infractions for Negligent Driving in the Second Degree and the rest of the tickets. If you didn't mail in your response within 15 days, you may have lost your right to contest those tickets. And, not to be the bearer of even worse news, if there is a blood alcohol result above a .08, it is possible that you could still be charged with a DUI, even though you were cited for Negligent Driving in the Second Degree. You should probably contact an attorney if you have more questions.

  4. Jon Mitchell Jackson

    Contributor Level 14

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    Answered . Simply put, interview and hire a good criminal defense attorney in your area. There are MANY issues you need to follow-up on to help with your defense. Again, contact experienced counsel to protect your legal rights!

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