15.280 - DUI Investigations

15.280 - DUI Investigations

Effective Date: 09/01/2020


Officers will follow this policy for investigating incidents of driving under the influence & physical control (DUI/PC).  Additional guidance is provided by:

- TD18-00001 DUI Detection & Investigation

- TD18-00002 How to Use the DRAEGER ALCOTEST 9510

- TD18-00003 How to Get a DUI Blood Warrant

1. Officers 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.

- Impaired driving recertification classes are required every three years.

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

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 Subject Requires Mandatory Booking per RCW 10.31.100 (16)

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

- Those with a pending DUI/PC

- Those with a conviction or deferred prosecution 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 subject’s lifetime

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

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

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

See 11.030- Guarding Detainees at a Hospital.

7. Officers Will Consider Alternatives to Impounding Vehicles Used for DUI/PC

See 6.120-Impounding Vehicles

When impounding the vehicle of a driver arrested for DUI or Physical Control, officers will cite RCW 46.55.360 and Hailey’s Law requiring the 12-hour hold.

- See 6.120-TSK-2 Impounding a Vehicle for DUI Arrests

8. Officers May Request a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE)

If an officer has articulable facts to believe a subject’s impairment is caused by drugs alone, they may request the assistance of a DRE. 

- Prior to the DRE’s arrival, the officer will begin a DUI/PC investigation and attempt to assess the subject’s impairment, including SFST’s.

- The officer will complete the primary investigation of the DUI/PC with the assistance of the DRE.

Officers request a DRE through Communications:

- Requests an on-duty SPD DRE to respond,

- If an on-duty SPD DRE is unavailable, with a supervisor's approval, requests an SPD DRE respond from home,

- If an SPD DRE is not available to respond from home, then requests an outside agency’s DRE to respond.

If practical, officers seek a warrant for blood while the DRE is responding.  If there are no DRE’s available to respond, the officer may pursue a search warrant for blood.

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

9. Officers Are Not Required to Administer a Breath Test for Every DUI Arrest

Officers may seek a search warrant for blood without offering or administering a breath test under any of the following:

- The officer has articulable facts to support that a search warrant for blood, without a breath test, is the best evidence for their investigation.

- The officer has articulable facts to believe a subject’s impairment is caused by drugs alone or a combination of drugs and alcohol. 

- The officer cannot administer a breath test due to the subject’s physical incapacitation or physical limitations.

- A breath test instrument is unavailable.

- The subject:

- Causes a collision with injuries to others

- Has prior arrest(s) for DUI/PC

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

- Denied consuming alcohol or drugs

- Is hospitalized

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

- Has language or communication barriers

- Is subject to probationary conditions prohibiting alcohol or drug use

- Has a DOL status requiring an interlock device and none is present

This list is not exhaustive nor a final determination limiting an officer’s ability to obtain a search warrant if they determine this to be the best evidence for their investigation.

Officers will document their decision not to offer a breath test in the report.

10. Officers May Pursue a Search Warrant for Blood when Breath Test Results are Inconsistent with the Subject’s Level of Impairment.

11. Officers Conduct Warrantless Blood Draws Only in Exigent Circumstances

Officers seeking an exigency draw, must articulate why destruction of the evidence is reasonably likely if a warrant is obtained.

Officers 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 subject will soon be medically unavailable and/or given a blood transfusion and/or provided drugs;

Officers may contact the on-call DUI prosecutor, through Communications, to consult regarding the exigency draw.

- Officers will contact the on-call DUI prosecutor as soon as possible, unless the nature of exigency does not allow time for the consultation until after the blood draw has been completed.

- The SPD Advanced Training Impaired Driving Coordinator, the City of Seattle Traffic Safety Resource prosecutor or a DUI prosecutor may assist officers in drafting the Search Warrant.

Officers complete the Search Warrant for testing of the blood once the blood is seized.

Note: The exigency exists up to drawing the blood; a warrant is still required for testing the blood.

12. Only Qualified Persons May Conduct a Blood Draw

13. Officers Document DUI/PC Investigation in a Report

Officers will document the incident in a report. Entities may include the subject, the person drawing the blood, the drinking location and the seized vehicle.  All crimes associated with the incident are documented under the same number as the DUI/PC investigation. (See 15.180-Primary Investigations)

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 number and, “See related reports.”

See 15.280-TSK-2 Officer Task-Reporting

14. Officers Use Relevant Portions of the Washington State 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 subject is 21 years of age or older and three of the four breath samples are .080 or above, or

- The subject is under 21 and three of the four breath samples are .020 or above, or

- The subject was operating a commercial motor vehicle with a Commercial Driver’s License and three of the four breath samples are .040 or above, or

- The subject 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 subject is released from custody and no blood test is pending, Officers will serve the subject 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 subject is booked, the Criminal Citation will indicate this, and will not be served.

16. Officers May Finish Paperwork the Following Day With a Supervisor’s Approval (See 5.001-Standards and Duties – POL-5)

Exception: If the subject is booked, the report must be completed prior to the end of shift.

If the subject 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 Child Protective Services (CPS) in Certain DUI/PC Investigations

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

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

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

15.280-PRO-1 Subject 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.

4. Compiles copies of any paper documents from the investigation.

 - Scans documents to an Alert Email.

 - Submits Alert Email to the proper follow-up unit based on the Case Assignment Matrix.

 - Receives the results of the blood test at a later date.

5. When reportable, completes the DOL paperwork and Supplement report with WSP examiner entity from Toxicology report found here and forwards to Records.

Data Center/Records

6. Sends DUI/PC-blood citations to TCIS pending toxicology results

7. Receives Toxicology report and citation from TCIS

8. Sends a copy of the Toxicology results to the officer listed on the report

9. Scans the Toxicology report into the electronic case file

10. Releases a copy of the report/citation to the Law Department, if instructed


11. Receives DUI/PC-blood citations from Data

12. Sends WSP toxicology report and citation to Data

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 with the WSP Examiner Entity Toxicology Report form found here.

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 Washington State 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 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 subject 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


Following Thursday at 1330hrs in SMC Room #1102


Following Thursday at 1330hrs in SMC Room #1102


Following Saturday at 0900hrs in KCJ Room #2


Following Saturday at 0900hrs in KCJ Room #2


Following Tuesday at 1330hrs in SMC Room #1102


Following Tuesday at 1330hrs in SMC Room #1102


Following Thursday at 1330hrs in SMC Room #1002

- 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 subject the defendant copy of the Criminal Citation prior to release.




Adrian Diaz, Chief of Police
Address: 610 5th Avenue, Seattle, WA, 98104-1900
Mailing Address: PO Box 34986, Seattle, WA, 98124-4986
Phone: (206) 625-5011
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