Just because your blood draw DUI was dismissed by a judge, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in the clear. In the Washington State criminal court system there are two types of dismissals: Dismissal With Prejudice and Dismissal Without Prejudice. Dismissal with prejudice means there was a flaw with the case and the government is prohibited from ever pursuing the charge. The other kind, dismissal without prejudice, means the government is allowed to re-file the criminal charge later on within the statute of limitations or within a certain timeframe.
In Spokane many blood draw DUI’s will have an initial court appearance within a few days after the event. Sometimes at that initial court hearing the prosecutor may ask the judge to dismiss the DUI charge without prejudice pending testing of the blood sample. In some cases this happens sometime after the first court appearance. A dismissal without prejudice at this stage makes sense when you realize the DUI investigation isn’t complete until the blood sample is tested and the results have been sent to the prosecutor and law enforcement.
The Washington State Toxicology Laboratory is responsible for testing DUI blood samples. This unit within the Washington State Patrol had been dealing with a backlog for years. Prior to 2020 it sometimes took up to 12 months for DUI blood samples to be tested. During the Covid-19 shutdown we saw fewer DUI arrests and the delay in testing the blood samples on some cases dropped to just over 4 months.
A blood draw DUI that has been dismissed without prejudice will most likely be re-filed in court once the blood sample is tested assuming the results are above the legal limit for alcohol, marijuana (THC) or if the government believes the quantity of over the counter drugs or illegal drugs impaired your ability to drive a motor vehicle. The key is to remember you aren’t out of the woods unless the case has been dismissed with prejudice.
If you’re facing a DUI that has been dismissed without prejudice or pending blood results, then you should do two things. First, make sure the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) has your current mailing address. This will ensure you receive notices in the mail if the DUI charge is re-filed or if DOL attempts to suspend your driver license based upon your DUI arrest. Second, you should immediately consult with the experienced DUI attorneys at Cooney Law Offices. We can help!