Skip to main content

First time in Washington State DUI. Can I avoid this being reported to my home state CA. No priors. Willing to abstain alcohol.

Seattle, WA |

Officer provided lawyers number who told me to test . Breath tested twice once at . 15 and second time at . 141 . Quite a variance . Wouldn't let me drink water before test . I had three 20 oz beers over 4 hours so I am surprised . Claimed that someone called 911 . Don't recall any problem driving or weaving etc so don't know why that would happen . Officer was very nice and considerate , but no one else was present over the course . They are giving car back this morning and I am to appear in court at 1 : wpm . Can I plea a diversion or avoid having this reflected on my record esp in CA ? I'm really shocked by this and am willing to avoid alcohol indefinitely .

+ Read More

Attorney answers 5


You need to contact an experienced WA state DUI/DWI attorney ASAP before your arraignment if possible.Most of us provide free telephone consultations; my office provides complimentary consultations for up to and sometimes beyond 2 hours. However, at this point you need to know these things. One, you must plead NOT GUILTY. Period. Two, because you are from CA the prosecutor will likely ask for bail to "ensure your return." If you have a spotless record with no history of Failure to Appear (FTA) or Failure to Pay (FTP) tickets, fines, etc. (which are often argued by the prosecutor to be the same as failing to appear in court; i.e., contumacy or a tendency to flout court orders) the public defender assigned to your courtroom should argue for release on your own personal recognizance (PR), which is just your promise to appear at the next hearing date. Hopefully you have contacts to this area, such as family, friends, property, kids, business interests, etc. They'll be looking for your ties to the Seattle community to determine if a PR or bail is appropriate. Third, there is no "plea a diversion" for a DUI/DWI. If you mean a plea to an amended down charge to avoid returning, I would not advise it at this juncture until an attorney reviews the discovery carefully. If you mean a deferred disposition, same advice. Fourth, all states share Department of Licensing (DOL) information. It would be a stroke of luck if CA did not receive any information from WA state's DOL, though I know the reverse occurred in one of my cases: my client had a DWI conviction in WA, travelled to CA and pled guilty to another one while still there on business, then got busted again for a third in the city of Kent. Luckily for him the city did not have the CA DOL records reflecting his second DWI so he was treated as if his third offense were his second! That was 10 years ago, however, and internet dissemination of crimnal history has greatly advanced since then. Finally, I advise hiring a lawyer as soon as you are able to, before court if possible. The court will consider you less of a risk to PR if you have the funds and the smarts to retain counsel at the outset. Also, when you return to CA it will be easier to learn the status of your case w/ private counsel. Public defenders are usually so swamped and in court almost daily that they can be difficult to reach. Remember to look your best; I advise my clients to dress in their "Sunday best." Good luck, and feel free to call for a consultation before court.

This information does not create an attorney-client relationship nor does it constitute legal advice. This attorney expects you to evaluate this information and independently decide how to proceed, including consulting another attorney who practices in the county in question.


The only way to avoid this having reflected on your record is to either have it dismissed (highly unlikely) or to go to trial and be found not guilty. There's an option called deferred prosecution, but if this is your first offense, you're not a good candidate for that. Hire an attorney immediately and plead not guilty at arraignment.


You win then it is not a part of your history and CA will not hear about it. Get a DUI attorney today and talk it over. This is your best option at this point. For SURE


Unfortunately, anything that appears on your record in Washington will be known by California since most states are part of a national network so out-of-state activity can be found. Your best bet is to retain a competent and experienced DUI attorney to represent you. Despite a high breath test, on occasion we can get those results suppressed by a judge due to procedural or legal errors since there must be a strict procedure followed. Other issues effecting a breath test's accuracy can also be argued. There might be issues with the stop of your vehicle and/or your arrest. The bottom line is retain an attorney immediately. Here to help.


You have received a number of good answers on this question. The gist of all of them being, the only way to avoid having CA know about a WA DUI is to beat the charge.

I just wanted to add that a variance on the two breath tests of .15 and .14 is not seen as large. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, breath tests are affected by a number of factors such as the temperature of your breath and how hard you blow. Second, is the dirty secret they don't want people to know. These machines are not very accurate. By state standards the two tests must vary more than about 18% from each other before they are considered invalid. Add the error rates that are inherent in all measuring devices, physiological facts and variances in the calibration process and you are left with a device that gives a rough estimate of your BAC.

A 911 call can be additional evidence against you, but it also creates issues for the prosecution if the officer did not verify certain facts before pulling you over. If this was Seattle Police everything will be in video (which again can be good or bad depending on what is on the tape). If it was State Patrol it will only be on video if it was a DUI Emphasis Patrol officer.

Bottom line? Get an attorney that understands the science and law of DUIs.

Donna Eugenia Vasilkovs

Donna Eugenia Vasilkovs


I agree with answer completely. Thanks, Scott.

Get Avvo’s 3-part DUI email series

A roundup of the best tips and legal advice.

DUI topics

Recommended articles about DUI

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer