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How Is Per Se Applied to the Law?

DUI charges, unlike some other allegations, are pursued under the law on a “per se” basis. According to the law, per se offenses are treated as being illegal no matter what the results of the action are. This means that individuals may be intoxicated despite showing no clear signs of intoxication, and can still be charged with DUI if the police are able to prove their BAC was over the legal limit of 0.08%.

For more information regarding your rights as a defendant if you have been charged with DUI, contact the Seattle DUI attorneys of the Cowan Kirk Law Firm at 1-866-822-1230.

The Effect of Per Se

As a result of the per se status of the law, a person tested for drunkenness after being pulled over may be arrested even if the quality of their driving was not in question. In addition, a per se law denies certain defenses that individuals can apply to lessen their sentence or remove the charges altogether. The following are some facts about per se DUI laws:

  • Not knowing or recognizing intoxication is not a defense
  • Not knowing the law regarding the legal limit is not a defense
  • Acting intoxicated is not necessary for a DUI charge
  • Injury or damages are not necessary for a DUI charge

Known as a “scienter” defense, those charged with DUI cannot argue ignorance of their own condition or ignorance of the standing drinking and driving laws as a legal defense. Instead, drivers are considered responsible for understanding their own level of intoxication before entering into the vehicle.

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Per se DIU charges depend heavily upon the input of breathalyzer machines and blood tests. If you have been wrongly charged with a DUI due to an incorrect test result, contact the Seattle DUI attorneys of the Cowan Kirk Law Firm at 1-866-822-1230 today for more information about your legal rights.

Cowan Kirk Kattenhorn

Cowan Kirk is known throughout Washington and the nation for representing all of its clients with commitment, creativity and compassion. We recognize how devastating a DUI charge can be, particularly when our clients learn how incredibly tough Washington's DUI laws have become, even for a first-time offender.

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If you need a DUI defense attorney in Seattle, Bellevue, or King County, contact us today to find out why respect for our clients, a passion for justice, and our commitment to winning have earned each of us the highest honor a member of the bar can receive from our colleagues – their referrals.