Tougher Washington State DUI Law

The New “Tougher” Washington State DUI Law

According the Washington State Governor Jay Inslee: “The state was taking an important step in strengthening laws to protect people.”

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Being an attorney that practices DUI law and has offices in Kirkland and Bellevue, Washington I believe safety is extremely important. Driving Drunk in King County, Washington or anywhere is extremely dangerous and never should be done. Although, I am not convinced it is an epidemic and deserves the attention it gets, but I recognize there is no hiding the danger.

The New law is now going to require suspected second time Washington State DUI offenders to face mandatory arrest and have the interlock device installed on their vehicle. The law as signed by the governor reads as follows: Read more

How To Find A Good DUI Attorney

How do I find a Good Washington State DUI lawyer?

1. Family and friends

The first place to look would obviously be the people close to you. I know it could be embarrassing to ask a friend about a Washington DUI attorney, but you never know. You may be surprised at how common of a charge DUI really is.  The attorney also will appreciate the referral. Be careful, not all attorneys are equal and not all good attorneys are good DUI attorneys.

2. Other attorneys

Many attorneys socialize in the same circles and know other attorneys. For example, your estate panning attorney might have gone to school with an excellent Washington criminal defense attorney. Still, even if you get a referral from another attorney, make sure you still research the referred attorney.

3. National College for DUI Defense (www.NCDD.com)

Nation College for DUI Defense is the leading national DUI defense organization. They offer several yearly seminars and training sessions to help improve the DUI defense Bar. NCDD also provides a very strong and supportive list serve to compliment the DUI practice. See my profile here.

4. www.Superlawyers.com

Super Lawyers magazine or website is a good place to start. Unlike many other websites only a select few attorneys who have been honored as Super Lawyers or Rising Stars will be on the site. Click here to see their selection process. My profile is here

5. www.avvo.com

Avvo is a ground breaking website, which has created a mysterious algorithm to rank lawyers on a scale of 1-10. I am not sure you can really read much into the number ranking, however avvo is a good place to go to find a local attorney and read reviews from both former clients and colleagues. Click here to see my profile on Avvo.

6. Google, Bing and Yahoo

These are search engines that either the DUI attorney paid for placement or the search engines have placed the accordingly to their idea of the relevance of the content and links to the website. Once you get to a DUI attorneys website you will only see what that attorney wants you to see.

There are tons of Washington DUI attorneys out there and it is important that you find the right one for you. The best advice would be to research several and narrow it down to a handful. Once you have a few narrowed down, utilize their free consultation. Talk to the DUI attorney, get to know them and select the best one for you. If you are in need of a Washington State DUI Lawyer/attorney do not hesitate to contact us and schedule a free consultation.

Washington DUI Motions

Marshawn Lynch lost his motion to suppress evidence and Dismiss his DUI case

Last week according to several news sources a judge denied Marshawn Lynch’s motion to suppress evidence and motion to dismiss the DUI case. Luckily for Seahawks fans, the trial likely will not start until after the Seahawks win the Super Bowl.

Lynch has been dealing with his DUI case since he was arrested back in July of 2012. I was reported that a police officer observed him weaving in and out of lanes and nearly colliding with two cars. Once pulled over he participated in the field sobriety tests and according to police, failed them.  Lynch submitted to a breath test and blew over the legal limit.

Even though this DUI arrest did not take place in In Washington, it still brings up some interesting issues.

What is a motion to suppress hearing?

In Washington State it is a hearing where the DUI attorney can argue that certain evidence or statements cannot be used during the trial. Often time the Washington DUI attorney will argue that the stop of the car or the arrest was unconstitutional or that the police did not follow protocol when administering the breath test.  If the Judge agrees with the DUI defense attorney, the evidence may not be used at trial.

What is a motion to dismiss?

A motion to dismiss is when a Washington DUI attorney asks the judge to dismiss the case, meaning that the prosecutor cannot go forward with the charges.

How can a Washington DUI charge be dismissed?

Few examples:

  • State v. Knapstad, 107 Wn.2d 346 – Knapstad motion should be made when undisputed facts do not establish a prima facie case of guilt.
  • No probable cause for the stop of the car. The officer needs a legal reason to stop you
  • No probabl cause for the arrest
  • Corpus Delicti issue: There needs to be independent evidence or inference connecting defendant with control of the car (beyond the admission). State v. Hamrick, 19 Wn. App. 417

There are many other reason that are fact specific to your Washington DUI case that can be causes for dismissal or suppression.  Just because Marshawn Lynch didn’t get his case dismissed does not mean your DUI case is not beatable. If you have been charged with a DUI in KirklandRedmond or Bellevueplease contact us for a free consultation. Our office also handles DUI cases in BothellIssaquah all of King County.

Washington DUI Checkpoints

DUI problem in Washington State: Are DUI Checkpoints and roadblocks the answer?

Early this week it was noted that a legislative group is recommending DUI sobriety checkpoints or better known as DUI roadblocks. It appears that the debate about DUI roadblocks is once again going to be in the forefront. However, currently Washington State is one of the few states that consider DUI roadblocks and checkpoints unconstitutional.

In Seattle v. Mesiani, 110 Wn.2d 454 (Wash. 1988) - The found that the checkpoint program failed the balancing test of the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The court reversed the judgment of the appellate court which upheld the validity of sobriety checkpoints because the checkpoints violated both the United States Constitution and the Washington Constitution.

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Thirty-eight states currently have some sort of DUI sobriety checkpoint program. The push for Washington State to implement this type of program has resurfaced due to the recent high profile DUI fatality accidents. I will make it very clear, I am 100% against these checkpoints and I believe it is just another way of eroding our constitutional rights to be free from unwarranted search and seizures.

The real question is, do DUI roadblocks work? The answer is yes and no. They work in the sense that certain people will be more intimidated and not drive after drinking. Although, they are probably already the people who don’t drink and drive.

Checkpoints don’t work because:

  1. It still doesn’t address the real issue of alcoholism
  2. Police will have a hard time finding drunk drivers, because they will not witness bad driving. Smelling like alcohol is not against the law.
  3. It takes several Policemen to man a roadblock; those police will not be out patrolling for bad drivers (the real danger).
  4. It takes a lot of time to set up and take down road blocks (lights, signs, etc.).Those police will not be patrolling.
  5. Drunk drivers will just avoid roadblocks or turn off before them. Obviously it has not be addressed yet, but I doubt it would be criminal to turn off before entering the checkpoint.
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I know a little something about DUI checkpoints because I practiced in a jurisdiction that had them before coming back to Kirkland and practicing DUI law. I have spoken to police officers who have operated check points in the past and in my experience they have agreed they are not the cure. Police officers are better off patrolling high DUI areas than standing stagnate at a checkpoint.

The only thing checkpoints do is unnecessarily subject sober law abiding people to searches. Checkpoints are just hype. Please fight the urge to give up any more constitutional rights. None of us want people driving Under the Influence in Washington, but we also must protect our rights. Once you give up a right, it is very hard to get it back. Let’s focus the money and time towards education and solving addiction.

Please comment and let me know what you think about Washington State amending its constitution and allowing DUI road blocks and checkpoints.

First Washington DUI

Fist Washington DUI, should I be worried?

You’ve been a good driver, with a clean record, you have a good job and are a pillar of the community. You got pulled over and arrested for a Washington state DUI, should you be worried?

The Simple answer is, yes. However, for most people it is not the end of the world but it is serious. You will be facing the possibility of mandatory jail, classes, license suspension, and very large fines plus all the extra costs. For many people there may be addition worries such as, will I lose my job? Are their immigration consequences?

Read more

Washington DUI Probable Cause

Former White House correspondent and New Anchor Sam Donaldson’s Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge was dismissed this past Friday. News sources report the judge dismissed after determining the police officer lacked probable cause to arrest him.

What does probable cause to arrest mean in Washington State?

Probable cause is a fairly low standard, however requires the police officer to have more than a bar suspicion before executing an arrest. for DUI.  The judge should specifically analyze the case upon the totality of facts and circumstances that the officer knew before making the DUI arrest.

To have probable cause to make the DUI arrest the police officer must have believed and had good reason to believe that a person has committed the crime of driving under the influence in the State of Washington. The good reason and belief must based on circumstances sufficiently strong to warrant an officer of ordinary caution to believe the person was actually driving under the influence.

When a Washington Judge considers if there was adequate probable cause for an arrest, the judge will often consider the testimony of the officer. That testimony may include:

The driving patter

The initial contact with the driver

Officers testimony of the way to DUI suspect speaks, smells and looks

The way the person exits the vehicle

The performance of the Standardized Field Sobriety Test, and

The result of the PBT test (roadside breath test)

Remember, the field sobriety test and PBT are voluntary in the State of Washington and it is likely a good idea to avoid participate in them.  If you have any other questions about probable cause or anything DUI please contact me.