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Originally published Tuesday, December 20, 2005 at 12:00 AM

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Lewis pleads not guilty in DUI case

Sonics forward Rashard Lewis pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of driving under the influence of alcohol, while King County prosecutors...

Seattle Times staff reporter

REDMOND — Sonics forward Rashard Lewis pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of driving under the influence of alcohol, while King County prosecutors learned that they must proceed without a key piece of evidence.

During the arraignment at the Northeast Division of King County District Court, Judge Frank V. LaSalata granted a defense motion to suppress the breathalyzer test from Lewis' Oct. 1 arrest.

According to Dan Donohoe, spokesman for the King County Prosecuting Attorney Office, the test results in some recent DUI cases have been suppressed because of a constitutional issue that is currently under review by the state Supreme Court.

Lewis' attorney, Stephen Hayne, successfully argued that Substitute House Bill 3055 — one of two laws that went into effect in June 2004 to try to aid DUI prosecution — violates the separation of powers doctrine and is therefore unconstitutional.

"There's no breath test now," Donohoe said, "but we can still proceed with the prosecution based on results of the field sobriety test and observations of the officer."

The breathalyzer test, administered almost an hour after Lewis was pulled over, showed Lewis to have a blood alcohol level of .132. The legal limit in Washington is .08.

Lewis was pulled over at 2:50 a.m. after his BMW and three other cars were seen speeding on eastbound Interstate 90. According to police, Lewis' car, a Ford Explorer, a Chevrolet Impala and a Cadillac were reaching speeds of 84 mph when Lewis and the driver of the Explorer were pulled over on Mercer Island.

Washington State Patrol trooper Curt Boyle noted in his report that Lewis "had a hard time standing in one place" before taking a field sobriety test and that his "eyes were bloodshot and watery and his speech was slurred."

Lewis, whose next pretrial hearing is set for Jan. 19, faces a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $5,000 fine if convicted.

Both Lewis and his attorney declined to comment after the arraignment.

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