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Firefighter Arrested for DUI Still Driving Firetruck

Posted by William Kirk, Partner | May 31, 2014 | 0 Comments

A Seattle firefighter was arrested for drunk driving in late March and is now in the news again after it was discovered that the firefighter is still on the streets driving a firetruck, reports KIRO TV.

Joseph Dempsey is a 17-year veteran of the Seattle Fire Department. He was arrested on March 29 after police say they found him passed out drunk while waiting in traffic in his Chevy Tahoe. At the time of arrest, Dempsey tested for over twice the legal limit with a 0.176 percent blood alcohol level. The legal limit to drive in Washington is 0.08. Along with the high blood alcohol concentration, police also say that Dempsey looked drunk with droopy eyelids and was unable to recite the ABCs.

This incident was not Dempsey's first run-in with a drunk driving charge. Just two years ago, Dempsey was arrested for a DUI, but was able to plead it down to reckless driving. Twenty years ago, Dempsey was also charged with a DUI, but was also able to plead that down to negligent driving.

Given his history, a Seattle Municipal Court decided that Dempsey must install an ignition interlock device in his personal car until the case is resolved. However, this apparently does not apply to Dempsey's non-personal vehicles such as his work vehicle -- which just happens to be a fire truck.

Contact a King County DUI Attorney

You should know that a DUI arrest can result in much more than a criminal conviction. Someone convicted of the charge can also face employment consequences. For example, if you drive for a living, a DUI charge may cost you your job. While the Seattle Fire Department apparently allowed Dempsey to continue driving despite the pending DUI charge, many employers may not be so lenient.

If you face a DUI charge and want to learn how you can defend the charge, you will want to contact an attorney. Schedule a consultation with an attorney at Cowan Kirk Gaston Wolff by calling 1-866-822-1230.

About the Author

William Kirk, Partner

Bill Kirk has been named a Super Lawyer by Washington Law and Politics Magazine every year since 2003. He currently serves on the Board of Regents to the National College for DUI Defense and is the President of the Washington Foundation for Criminal Justice. Bill is one of only two attorneys in this state to pass the National College's Board Certification Exam.


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