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Police ‘Emphasis Patrols’: Your Rights and Responsibilities

The holiday season means a lot of traveling and fun with family and friends. It also means the driving conditions become dangerous because of traffic congestion, rain, snow, and slippery leaves on the roadway. The attorneys with Althauser Rayan Abbarno want to remind you to drink responsibly and stay focused on road conditions and avoid a DUI.

The State Patrol announced this past weekend that it will be conducting emphasis patrols in Lewis, Thurston, Cowlitz, and Clark counties. This means law enforcement will patrolling more aggressively, actively looking for infractions, and making more contact with drivers. At no other time is it more important to stay alert and stay sober. Unfortunately, mistakes happen and you, a friend, or a family member may find themselves detained by law enforcement. If you are stopped by law enforcement, remember the following:

1. Be calm and respectful. No one ever made a case better by arguing with an officer.

2. You have the legal obligation to share the following information: Your Identity, Your driver’s license, Your automobile registration, and Your proof of liability automobile insurance. RCW 46.61.020. Other than the above information, you have the right to remain silent. Inform the officer you don’t want to answer any questions and that you choose to invoke your right to silence.

3. Follow all lawful commands the officer makes, including getting out of the vehicle if ordered to do so. However, all roadside testing is voluntary, and you have no duty to perform any tests or answer any questions, including roadside sobriety tests.

4. If you are arrested for a DUI, you will likely be asked to provide a sample of your breath for testing. Before you do so, you have the right to contact an attorney, which you should exercise. RCW 46.20.308. It is important to unequivocally invoke your right to silence, and ask to contact an attorney for advice. Remember, ask to speak with your attorney, and at your first opportunity call Jake McGhie 24/7 at 360-880-2399.

The first and most important priority for your holiday season should be spending time with loved ones, and getting there and home safely. That’s the goal of law enforcement as well. Be safe, drive sober, but know your rights in case the unexpected occurs.

If you or a loved one has been arrested or charged with DUI, a traffic infraction, or any felony or misdemeanor crime, call Jake McGhie with Althauser Rayan Abbarno 24/7 at 360-880-2399 for a free consultation in Centralia or Olympia.

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