15.280 - DUI Investigations

Effective Date: 01/05/2018


1. Officers to Maintain a Breath Test Program Permit

Sergeants and Officers assigned to Patrol or to Traffic, or who regularly wear a uniform while on duty, will maintain a current Breath Test Program Permit.

Only sworn personnel with a current Breath Test Program Permit will administer an evidentiary breath test.

2. Officers Follow the Washington State Patrol Guidelines for DUI/PC Breath Test

Officers will complete the DUI/PC investigation and paperwork, following their training.

- Links to the Washington State DUI packet and the Washington State DUI packet-Spanish translation.

3. Officers Use Only Approved Breath Test Instruments

Breath test instruments in each SPD Precinct are approved and serviced by the WSP Impaired Driving Program.  Officers will not use instruments reserved for training for evidential purposes.

4. Officers Maintain Responsibility for DUI/PC Investigations

Officers will complete investigations for DUI/PCs occurring within the City of Seattle.

Exception: An on duty lieutenant or above may approve the request of an outside agency to conduct a DUI/PC investigation.

5. Officers Determine Whether a DUI/PC Arrestee Requires Mandatory Booking

Officers will reasonably try to determine a DUI/PC arrestee’s criminal history.  These DUI/PC arrestees must be booked into KCJ:

- Those with a conviction or deferral for a previous DUI/PC within the last ten years, in any state

- Those with a prior Vehicular Homicide or Vehicular Assault conviction, or the equivalent in another state, in the arrestee’s lifetime

6. Officers Guard Hospitalized DUI/PC Arrestees Requiring Mandatory Booking

The arresting officer will arrange a hospital guard through the officer’s sergeant.

Exception: If the arrestee requires immediate medical attention and is admitted to a hospital, state law does not require the law enforcement agency to guard the arrestee.

See 11.030- Guarding Detainees at a Hospital.

7. Officers Impound Vehicle Used For DUI/PC

See 6.120-Impounding Vehicles

8. Officers May Request a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) After Breath Test Results Below 0.08

If a DUI/PC arrestee’s breath test result is below .080 BrAC, and the driver’s impairment is inconsistent with this BrAC, officers may request an on-duty DRE via Communications.  If there are no on-duty DREs available, officers may ask Communications to contact one from home.  If an SPD DRE cannot respond, then Communications will attempt to get one from another agency.

Officers are encouraged to seek a search warrant while a DRE is responding.

See 15.280-PRO-1 Driver Arrested for DUI/Physical Control-Blood Draw

9. Officers May Seek a Search Warrant for Blood Evidence If Additional Evidence is Needed

If a breath test cannot be given, or if the breath test does not explain an arrestee’s impairment, Officers may seek a search warrant for blood, when the arrestee:

- Has prior arrest(s) for DUI/PC

- Refused or could not perform field sobriety tests and/or BAC test

- Denied consuming alcohol or drugs

- Is hospitalized

- Was driving with a passenger under the age of 16 in the vehicle

- Causes a collision with injuries to others

- Has language or communication barriers

- Is subject to probationary conditions prohibiting alcohol or drug use

10. Officers Request a DRE and Seek a Search Warrant for Blood for Felony DUI Investigations

When feasible Officers will request a Drug Recognition Expert, and will seek a warrant for blood if there is probable cause to believe the arrestee:

- Has four or more prior DUI/PC arrests within the last ten years, or

- Has a prior Vehicular Homicide or Vehicular Assault conviction, or the equivalent in another state, in the arrestee’s lifetime

The unavailability of a DRE does not relieve the officer of the duty to thoroughly investigate the incident, and to seek a warrant for blood when feasible.

11. Officers Conduct Warrantless Blood Draws Only In Exigent Circumstances

If the officer seeks an exigency draw, he/she must articulate why destruction of the evidence is reasonably likely if a warrant is obtained.

The officer may consider such factors as:

- The officer cannot reach a judge after a reasonable amount of time attempting to do so

- Medical personnel inform the officer that the arrestee will soon be medically unavailable

12. Only Qualified Persons May Conduct a Blood Draw

13. Officers Document DUI/PC Investigation in a General Offense Report

Officers will document the incident in a G.O. Report.  Entities will include the arrestee and the seized vehicle. 

If a blood draw is performed, the person who draws the blood will be entered as a “witness” entity.

On the back of the ticket(s) in the narrative field, write the incident number and, “See related reports.”

See 15.280-TSK-2 Officer Task-Reporting

14. Officers Use Relevant Portions of the WSP DUI Packet

Officers will complete and submit to Data portions of the WSP DUI Packet that apply to the investigation.  This will include the Report of Breath/Blood Test for Alcohol and/or THC or Refusal to Submit to Breath Test for Alcohol form (front page of the WSP DUI Packet) if:

- The arrestee is 21 years of age or older and both breath samples are .080 or above, or

- The arrestee is under 21 and both breath samples are .020 or above, or

- The arrestee was operating a commercial motor vehicle with a Commercial Driver’s License and both breath samples are .040 or above, or

- The arrestee refuses by words or conduct to submit to a breath test after being advised of the Implied Consent Warning for Breath

15. Officer Assigns a Court Appearance Date In Certain Circumstances

See 15.280-TSK-3 Officer Task-Court Appearance Dates

If a DUI/PC arrestee is released from custody and no blood test is pending, Officers will serve the arrestee a Criminal Citation with an assigned court date.

If a blood test is pending, a Criminal Citation will be referred to the Prosecutor, and will not be served.

If a DUI/PC arrestee is booked, the Criminal Citation will indicate this, and will not be served.

16. Officers May Finish Paperwork the Following Day

Exception:  If the arrestee is booked, the G.O. must be completed prior to the end of shift.

If the arrestee was released with a court date, paperwork must be received by the Prosecutor no later than 24 hours prior to the court date. 

17. Officers Call CPS in Certain DUI/PC Investigations

If a passenger under the age of 16 and the DUI/PC arrestee is the parent, guardian, legal custodian, sibling, or half-sibling, officers will notify Child Protective Services and document that in the GO

18. Arrests for DUI/PC Cleared With an “Adam”

Officers use an “Adam” disposition to clear the arrest whether the arrestee is booked into KCJ or released after processing.

15.280-PRO-1 Driver arrested for DUI/Physical Control-Blood Draw


1. Completes the DUI/PC investigation and paperwork following 15.280-TSK-1 Officer Task- Blood Draw.

2. Notifies the Sergeant of the DUI/PC arrest.

3. Sends a copy of all paperwork to Data in an Alert packet.


5. Processes the Alert Packet and forwards to TCIS for follow-up investigation


6. Conducts follow-up investigation and receives the results of the blood test at a later date.

7. Sends a copy of the blood results to the arresting officer and the law department.


8. When reportable, completes the DOL paperwork and supplemental report and forwards to Records.


9. Forwards a copy of the blood results and necessary paperwork to DOL, when applicable.

Note: Does not send results to the law department.

15.280-TSK-1 Officer Task-Blood Draw

When conducting a blood draw during a DUI/PC investigation, an officer:

1. Obtains a search warrant for blood, absent exigent circumstances

2. Completes the blood draw using the instructions in the Blood Kit

3. Completes a property report for the “Blood Sample Kit”

4. Submits the Blood Kit to Evidence

5. Files the search warrant with the issuing court within 72 hours

15.280-TSK-2 Officer Task-Reporting

When compiling paperwork during a DUI/PC investigation, an officer:

1. Completes a packet that contains:

- A Criminal Citation, unless this is a felony

- A Notice of Infraction, if applicable

- Relevant portions of the WSP DUI Packet, if any

- Completed Search Warrant hard-copy, if applicable

- Medical professional credentials, if applicable

- Collision Report, if applicable

- Tow/Impound form, unless submitted electronically

- Medical Professional Affidavit

2. Completes a G.O. Report with entities and the incident narrative.

3. Forwards the packet to Data Center via department mail.

15.280-TSK-3 Officer Task-Court Appearance Date

When assigning an out of custody DUI/PC arrestee with a court date, an officer:

1. Completes the criminal citation and lists the appearance date, location and time in the appropriate section as follows:

Day Cited   Court Date    Court Location

Monday       following Thursday   1330 hrs in SMC Room #1103

Tuesday      following Thursday   1330 hrs in SMC Room #1103

Wednesday  following Saturday    0900 hrs in KCJ Courtroom #2

Thursday     following Saturday    0900 hrs in KCJ Courtroom #2

Friday          following Tuesday    1330 hrs in SMC Room #1103

Saturday      following Tuesday 1330 hrs in SMC Room #1103

Sunday        following Thursday   1330 hrs in SMC Room #1103

- If the court date falls on a legal holiday, use the next non-holiday date.

- If the court date falls on a week where the legal holiday is Monday, use the next Thursday date.

2. Serves the arrestee the defendant copy of the Criminal Citation prior to release.