A recent story from Seattle that has been garnering considerable media attention certainly warrants the hoopla, what with the hidden cameras, uncanny coincidence, dissent, and a strong dose of strangeness. Last week in Seattle, a local TV news station captured footage of a known DUI suspect casually driving north on Interstate 5. The woman – who is from Everett, Washington – was recently ordered off the road after a DUI charge last December.
That DUI charge, however, was not your ordinary case. During the incident, the admittedly drunk suspect led police on a nearly 100-mph chase before she crashed into the State Route 539 Bridge to Marysville. According to local law enforcement officers, the woman's vehicle hit the bridge in several places, causing structural damage severe enough to close the bridge for four days. During that time, roadways between Everett and Marysville were inundated with gridlock.
Arrest reports state that the woman was reportedly “flippant” and “snarky” during the DUI stop. On the night of the accident, she also reportedly told investigators, “I'm not going to lie to you, I'm drunk. Duh.” When asked for her license and registration, she allegedly followed up with, “I don't have a license, why would I need insurance?” Local deputies state that the woman has not had a valid driver's license since at least 2006.
Given her considerable rap sheet and criminal history, it's no surprise why the woman didn't have a license when she was driving last week. What is a surprise for many, though, is why a Snohomish County judge released her on her own recognizance shortly after her December arrest. According to one local prosecutor, this can be attributed to a lack of resources needed to deal with an increasing workload.
Regardless of this procedural backlash and scrutiny of the local criminal justice system, the woman's decision to continue driving without a license is sure to prompt prosecutors into pushing for harsher penalties in the woman's original DUI case. According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, the final costs to fix the bridge amounted to $115,000 – three times more than the initial estimate. The department is planning to take legal action against the woman and the owner of the SUV she was driving at the time. After the news station spotted her behind the wheel last week, local troopers cited the woman for driving without a license, a misdemeanor that may impact her already serious DUI case pending in a Snohomish County court.
What Not to Do After a DUI Arrest
As strange as this case may be, there can be some value extracted from it, especially when considering what not to do after you have been arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence. First, it is typically never a good idea to act disrespectfully toward a law enforcement officer. It is even worse to admit to drinking. As you have the right to remain silent, you have every reason to exercise this right so that anything you say cannot be used against you during a criminal case. You do not have to answer questions, you do not have to discuss whether you drank alcohol, and you always have the right to request that a lawyer be present.
Aside from remaining silent – which is something the Everett woman failed magnificently in doing – you can take additional notes from her book by knowing that there are a number of actions and circumstances which can make your DUI case worse. Evading arrest – and even fleeing the scene – are considered aggravating circumstances that can heighten charges and penalties significantly. For her evasion, the woman is facing felony charges. Additionally, driving without a license or driving on a suspended license will be viewed unfavorably by prosecutors and judges, thereby making you susceptible to more severe penalties, including longer terms of imprisonment.
At DUIHeroes, Attorney Jonathan Dichter makes himself readily available to local residents who need immediate representation after a DUI arrest. Taking swift action to work with an experienced and attentive Seattle DUI lawyer can ensure that you fully understand your rights, that you know what to expect during your case, and that you have the effective defense needed to fight your charges. If you or someone you care about is currently facing DUI allegations, especially if aggravating circumstances are involved, take the necessary steps needed to protect your future. Contact DUIHeroes to discuss your case.