Under the Influence of Alcohol or any Drug- Analysis of Bodily Substance

Posted Tuesday, January 31, 2017 by Ed Harper

Under the Influence of Alcohol or any Drug - Analysis of Bodily Substance - Intoxication Defense Statute

WPI 16.05 states the following: “If you find that, within two hours after the occurrence causing injury or death, a person had 0.08 g or more of alcohol per 200 L of breath, then the person was under the influence of alcohol.

If you find that, within two hours after the occurrence of causing injury or death, the alcohol concentration in a person’s blood was 0.08 or more, then the person was under the influence of alcohol.

If you find that, within two hours after the occurrence causing injury or death, a person had an alcohol concentration of less than 0.08 in his or her blood or less than 0.08 g of alcohol per 200 L of his or her breath, then it is evidence that may be considered with other evidence in determining whether the person was under the influence of alcohol.” (WPI 16.05)

This jury instruction is used in the following scenario: the plaintiff has been injured and/or killed and brings a claim for his or her injury or his estate brings is a claim for his or her death. The issue to be decided is whether the plaintiff within two hours prior to the injury causing event had been under the influence.

There are three options of Washington Pattern Instruction 16.05 due to various methods of analysis. The choice for which option to choose is dependent on either which form of analysis was used or if the finding was below the legal limit to be intoxicated.

This jury instruction is used via the intoxication defense under RCW 5 .40.060. The defendant attempts to use this as proof by having the injured and/or decedent’s bodily substance analyzed and thus to potentially invalidate the plaintiff’s claim.

So this can be a complete defense when raised by the defendant in proving that the plaintiff who was injured and/or killed was under the influence of alcohol.

Therefore, RCW 5.40.0 60 provides a method for proving a person was under the influence of intoxicating liquor if the standard of RCW 46.61.502 is met. The third paragraph of this instruction is based on RCW 46.61.506(1) which applies in a civil action or proceeding arising out of any acts alleged to have been committed while driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor and/or drug.

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