Cole wins DUI trial
Attorney Grant Cole won a DUI trial recently in Clark County District Court. His client had refused to take a breath test, so he was facing a mandatory yearlong suspension of his driver’s license in addition to any jail sentence he may have received had he been convicted.
Driving under the influence, a gross misdemeanor, carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail.
Cole’s client was pulled over by a Vancouver police officer late one night because he had expired tabs and, according to the officer, had taken a wide turn onto Mill Plain Boulevard and then overcorrected to avoid hitting a curb.
The officer testified that our client’s eyes were bloodshot and he could smell the odor of alcohol, but he wasn’t confident he had had probable cause to arrest him for DUI. He knew that a Washington State Patrol trooper, a certified expert at administering roadside field sobriety tests, was on duty and nearby, so he asked for him to come to the scene.
The trooper said he asked our client if he’d had anything to drink, and our client said he had two beers earlier in the day. Our client declined to perform field sobriety tests. The trooper determined he had probable cause to make an arrest.
At the Clark County Jail, our client was given a form about the breath test, which included the fact that a refusal could lead to a mandatory license suspension. At trial on Dec. 13, a Clark County deputy prosecuting attorney argued to jurors that the fact our client had signed the form and still refused a breath test showed he must have had something to hide.
Cole said his client treated the form the same as people treat the “terms and conditions” agreement on iTunes, meaning that he signed it without carefully considering the consequences. It was nearly 2 a.m. by that time, his client was tired and he was upset that he’d been wrongly arrested, Cole said.
During closing arguments, Cole told jurors that the trooper didn’t learn anything new at the scene and arrested his client on the same set of circumstances that had made the Vancouver police officer uncertain whether he had sufficient reason to make an arrest.
The jury deliberated for about an hour and a half before returning the not-guilty verdict.