I went drinking (in San Juan County, Washington). I left the bar, drank too much, and went to check the car. I decided that the car was a little over the line and decided to move it. I knew that I had had too much to drink to be driving, so I decided to push it to a safer place and catch a ride home with a friend. There is some play in the steering wheel, so I could steer the car without having the keys in the ignition. I put the keys on top of the dash. I went to the back of the car and pushed. I was arrested for DUI, and the 2 readings of the meter were 0.162 and 0.182. I was later told that this is physical control of the vehicle. Is it possible to have this plead down to something less than a DUI? I want to visit Canada again-I have some good friends there. Is there any hope?
Technically you were in control of the vehicle, but based on the facts you described, it shouldn't be that difficult to prove to a jury that you were never going to drive the car. With that in mind, the state will probably be willing to offer a lesser charge.
THESE COMMENTS ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE. They are provided for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be provided after consultation by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. Answering this question does not create an attorney-client relationship or otherwise require further consultation.
Criminal Defense Attorney
You need to hire a local DUI attorney. You already know that Canada does not allow people convicted of DUI in the country. So you need to take steps to make sure you are not convicted of DUI.
PLEASE NOTE: THESE COMMENTS ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE. They are provided for informational purposes on a general website comment page only. Actual legal advice from this office can only be provided after consultation directly in person with an attorney from our office. Answering this question does not create an attorney-client relationship or otherwise require further consultation.
Criminal Defense Attorney
In Washington there is an affirmative defense to being in physical control of a vehicle. This requires that the vehicle be safely off the roadway prior to your being contacted by law enforcement. There are many factors that a prosecutor will consider in deciding whether to offer a reduced charge. One is criminal history, one is legal arguments such as the one above and there may be other factors depending on who the prosecutor is and what jurisdiction you are in. You need to speak with an experienced DUI attorney in your area. Amending a DUI to almost any driving charge can still cause problems with trying to enter Canada. You also need to be aware of the Department of Licensing action against your license. You have 20 days from the date of arrest to request a hearing or your license will be suspended.
This is an interesting case since the vehicle is not really being "operated" by you, but technically you are in control of the car, but just barely. San Juan County prosecutor has a no deals policy unless there are problems with a case. An experienced DUI lawyer who is very familiar with the DUI law in this state, and who practices in San Juan County will be you best bet to help you with this case.
As a result of your arrest and breath sample you are in an "enhanced" category of DUI/Physical Control. You face a license suspension of 90 days from the DoL and must act with 20 days of your arrest to challenge this. From the court and the criminal charge you face a mandatory 2 days jail, 1121.00 fine, a revocation of your license for 1 year and then a mandatory interlock device on any car you drive for 1 year. Every case has it problems and reductions are typically possible, it will take an experienced DUI attorney with experience in that specific court to get you your best chance of success.