Washington v. Sandholm (Majority)Annotate this Case
In October 2009, a Washington State Patrol trooper observed a truck, driven by Respondent Kenneth Sandholm, drifting back and forth outside of driving lanes and moving at an erratic speed. After pulling the truck over, the trooper noticed that Sandholm had watery, bloodshot eyes and smelled of alcohol. Sandholm also slurred his speech and displayed poor coordination. He displayed six out of six signs of possible intoxication during his field sobriety test. The trooper arrested Sandholm. Breath alcohol tests, taken approximately two hours later, showed that Sandholm had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .079 and .080. The State charged Sandholm with felony DUI, former RCW 46.61.502(6)(a) (2008), based on Sandholm having four or more prior DUI offenses within 10 years. This case involved an interpretation of former RCW 46.61.502 (2008), and a determination of the number of alternative means of committing an offense established by the statute. Depending on that determination, the issue for the Supreme Court to decide was whether sufficient evidence supported the conviction. Also, this case involved how offender scores for prior convictions were calculated under former RCW 9.94A.525 (2008). The Court of Appeals held that the statute established three alternative means and that the jury instructions were error but harmless in this case. The Court of Appeals vacated the sentence and concluded that RCW 9.94A.525(2)(e) created an exclusive scoring provision when the conviction is for felony DUI. The Supreme Court affirmed the conviction and held that former RCW 46.61.502 (2008) created two alternative means of committing DUI. The Court reversed the Court of Appeals and reinstated the trial court's sentencing calculation.