Sam Donaldson's DUI arrest back in December of 2012 has now been dismissed due to a lack of probable cause! Many times DUI arrest's are based upon the observations of the arresting officer and typical "impairment" signs (bloodshot eyes, odor of alcohol, admission to drinking) are anything but signs of impairment. I mean, c'mon how are admission to drinking (which is legal) or the odor of alcohol (which would be present even if someone had consumed only a negligible amount of alcohol) signs of "impairment" in a DUI arrest. Many times the officer is simply investigating the potential for an impaired driver and when that driver rightfully exercises his or her right to participate in field tests they are arrested regardless of the "evidence" gathered from the observations. Why? Because the officer wants to flex their muscle, they don't like being told no. Just search the vast videos on the web of people exercising their rights at DUI checkpoints and the like and you will see the very familiar (all too common) response by officers. "Oh you want to exercise your constitutional rights huh? Well, pull over and let's hassle you because of it!" Then watch them search your car based upon a drug canine "hit."
Luckily Mr. Donaldson had competent counsel (DUI attorney) who was able to properly present to court the officer did not have probable cause to arrest Mr. Donaldson for DUI. When you are faced with a DUI arrest, and believe me if you have had anything to drink (even though it is legal) and you exercise your right to not participate in field sobriety tests, you WILL be arrested for DUI. Be polite, don't answer questions about drinking, don't participate in any field sobriety tests, don't take a portable breath test. Tell the officer, "I'm not intoxicated and am going to exercise my constitutional rights." That way, the government (prosecutor) cannot imply you declined to participate in completely voluntary test because "you knew you would fail." You cannot pass these tests if an officer doesn't want you to! It happens all the time.
When pulled over after drinking, unfortunately it is going to be difficult to avoid an arrest, regardless of your breath test at the station. Just do what Mr. Donaldson did, hire a competent DUI attorney and take it to court.
About the author: Nathan Webb, is a seasoned Seattle DUI Lawyer. His practice emphasizes DUI defense. He has been repeatedly recognized as one of Seattle's Best Attorneys! He was recognized as a Top Seattle DUI Attorneys by Seattle Met Magazine, Repeatedly named a Super Lawyer Rising Star in the area of DUI Defense by Washington Law and Politics Magazine, and Rated Superb for DUI Defense (10.0 out of 10.0) by Avvo.com.