The DUI Experience - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

The DUI Experience

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KENNEWICK, Wash.--This is a drunk driver's reality. A Washington State trooper turns his lights on, pulls you over, and carefully approaches your vehicle. Today, Sergeant Roger Wilbur pretends he can smell a strong odor of alcohol on my breath. He asks me to step out of my truck. After the breath test, he conducts three standardized tests, two of which are Divided Attention tests. All three collectively check for involuntary eye jerking movements and determine if i can maintain my balance while listening to instructions.

"They're not designed as a pass or fail test, their designed to show indicators to us that impairment either exists or doesn't exist," says Sgt. Wilbur.

The tests reveal that I'm over the legal limit of .08. The metal handcuffs slap on my wrists and I'm officially under arrest and placed in the back seat of a patrol car made of hard plastic. It's very uncomfortable. Sergeant Wilbur checks my driver's license and alerts dispatch.

"120 Kennewick, I'll have him in custody for DUI and we will be en route to the jail," says Sgt. Wilbur.

As we're entering the Benton County Jail, large green gates open up. We drive into Sallyport: a secure garage with cameras. Here is where I climb out of the patrol car and stand before a green door. On the other side is Intake area. Once placed into a room, Sergeant Wilbur fills out a DUI Arrest Report, goes through my constitutional rights, and verifies that I understand the implied consent warning. I can refuse the breath test, but it is not recommended for sake of my license.

"If you refuse to take the test, considering again you're starting from ground zero, you can lose it for at least a year," affirms Sgt. Wilbur.

I agree to the test and in turn provide two samples by blowing through a plastic tube. Prior to getting booked, I'll receive a copy of my citation, breath report and Department of Licensing form. At this point, state patrol transfers custody over to the jail.

For safety reasons, Pre-booking involves a full body search where I'm told to remove my shoes, belt and watch. This is where guards get my information and take both my picture and fingerprints. Now, I'll either head to a holding cell or be taken upstairs, surrounded by other inmates.

"You just get your basics," says Sgt. John Park. You get a mat, you get three meals, nothing, its not Quizno's or nothing. You get three meals, a mat, and just your basic necessities."