A DUI Conviction – jail is not the only punishment

July 20th, 2014

A DUI conviction does not just mean jail time, it also means hefty fines, costs, fees and assessments from the court. And these fees do not include attorney fees, alcohol/drug assessment costs, or costs for alcohol/ drug classes, victim’s panels. Following are just some (certainly not all) costs that folks need to consider when facing a DUI conviction: (1) Probation costs – whether it is a first or a second offense a judge is going to put the defendant on probation. At a minimum, the defendant will be on records check for the duration of the 5 years of probation; he pays for this ‘service’. The cost simply for a records check is $10 a month. (2) Ignition interlock device – on a first offense DUI conviction the Court by law is required to impose an ignition interlock device. This will need to be installed on any vehicle the defendant drivers for a period of at least 1 year. Most ignition interlock companies charge around $100 a month for the device. There may also be an installation fee, and monthly calibration fees to boot. The cost of an ignition interlock device for 1 year is approximately $2000. (3) Court fines – the base Court fines on a DUI is between $1000-$1200, depending on the blood alcohol level of the defendant. (4) Insurance increase – a DUI carries two types of insurance increases. First, the requirement of SR22 insurance that comes with any sort of driver’s license suspension; on a first offense DUI in Seattle or Washington State SR 22 insurance is required for at least 3 years. Second, the increase associated with one’s insurance policy.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a DUI, immediately contact a Seattle DUI attorney. A Seattle DUI lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle DUI lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce those penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their DUI charge. So it should go without saying that someone cited for DUI should hire a qualified Seattle DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Driving Under the Influence charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with DUI in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle DUI lawyer

A DUI Conviction WILL result in Confinement – it is the law

July 13th, 2014

It appears that based on recent court experiences some folks seem to not understand that being convicted of a DUI will result in some type of confinement regardless of whether the person is a good person or whether he has no prior criminal history. The court does not have discretion; by law, a conviction for a DUI in Washington State results in a person mandatorily doing some amount of ‘confinement’. For example, on a conviction for driving under the influence with a breath test result of .08 results in a minimum of 24 consecutive hours in jail if the person has no ‘prior offenses’ as defined in Revised Code of Washington 46.61.5055.

If that same person has one ‘prior offense’, he is looking at a minimum of 30 days in jail followed by 60 days of electronic home monitoring. And if he is on probation for the first (prior) offense, he is also looking at an additional 30 days of confinement because pursuant to RCW 46.61.5055 it is mandatory punishment. In fact, under Washington law if a person is on probation because of a DUI conviction, the following DUI probation violations mandatorily result in 30 days confinement: 1. Driving without a valid license and insurance; 2. Driving with a BAC .08 or above; and 3. Refusing to take a Breath Test. Although some Judges may allow a person to complete the 30 days of confinement on Electronic Home Monitoring (EHM), they are not required to and in fact some relish the opportunity of putting the offender in jail to ‘teach them a lesson’. Notwithstanding the form or type of punishment, everyone should understand that by law there will be a sanction for one of the three violations noted above; in short, the court is required by law to punish the offender, it is not a discretionary decision.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a DUI, immediately contact a Seattle DUI attorney. A Seattle DUI lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle DUI lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce those penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their DUI charge. So it should go without saying that someone cited for DUI should hire a qualified Seattle DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Driving Under the Influence charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with DUI in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle DUI lawyer

Holiday Emphasis Patrols Continue

July 6th, 2014

This wonderfully long 4th of July weekend is not quite over, and either are law enforcements’ DUI emphasis patrols. The patrols shall continue through the weekend … and probably beyond. As it is every year, it is a busy time for law enforcement. In fact due to the higher volumes of on duty officers it is a prime time to get a DUI if you have been drinking and get behind the wheel of a car.  Heck, I saw 6 police cars in a span of 10 miles on I-5 Friday night.  Three of those patrol cars had people pulled over on the side of the road.

Even though Washington has .08 signs posted around the state, they actually may be misleading. Although there is a legal limit of 0.08 in Washington State, a person can get a DUI with a BAC below that proscribed number, or even without a breath or blood test at all. So … simply trying to stay under the ‘legal limit’ may not be all it is cracked up to be. Most likely, if you have a single drink and you get contacted by a police officer, it is probable that you will get arrested for DUI. It is really that simple, unfortunately.

So if you drink, drive a vehicle, get stopped, and then arrested, the best thing you can do is to always be polite and always ask to speak with a Seattle DUI lawyer. A Seattle DUI attorney is not going to judge a person, and certainly will understand the situation. Talking with a Seattle DUI attorney can – at a minimum – help direct person on how to best deal with their DUI charge. Driving Under the Influence charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with DUI in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle DUI lawyer.

Felony DUI = Greater Consequences

June 15th, 2014

State lawmakers in Colorado recently proposed a bill that would have made repeat DUI offenses a felony, similar to our laws here in Washington State. However, for now, it appears the Colorado state legislature has rejected the proposal.

Under the proposed law, anyone who would have been arrested for three drunk driving offenses in five years would have been charged with a felony. In addition, anyone changed with four DUIs in a 15-year span would have been charged with an even greater felony charge and would have faced multiple years in prison. The bill was set to take effect next year, and many lawmakers cited as a reason for denial that they should consider the proposed law and its fiscal impacts on the state the following year.

Comparatively, Washington Repeat DUI Offenders currently, under certain circumstances, do face a felony charge for their actions. Under Washington state law, if a person has four or more DUI convictions within a ten year period they can be charged with a felony, and they face considerable prison (not jail) time. Some law makers in Washington State are pandering for even stricter DUI laws; they have suggested harsher penalties for repeat offenders. For example, they are promoting the imposition of a felony charge for three prior DUI convictions, or giving prosecutors the ability to consider a longer period of time for a DUI conviction. Such a change would be in line with Colorado’s recently proposed bill.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a DUI, immediately contact a Seattle DUI attorney. A DUI lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle DUI lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce those penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their DUI charge. So it should go without saying that someone cited for DUI should hire a qualified Seattle DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Driving Under the Influence charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with DUI in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle DUI lawyer.

IID Subsidy Delimma

June 10th, 2014

Not so shockingly, funding to help low-income DUI offenders in Washington afford ignition interlock devices has apparently dried up. The subsidy comes from fees paid by DUI offenders purchasing an ignition interlock device. Somehow, it appears, the money for the program was somehow funneled into a separate account for prison inmate treatment programs during the last budget.

Typically, it currently costs around $150-per-month for an offender to maintain an ignition interlock device on his or her car. The state subsidy from the Ignition Interlock Revolving Account provides offenders with approximately $80-per-month. Obviously … that is a huge savings.

An Ignition interlock device requires a driver to blow into an apparatus attached to their ignition so as to prove they are not impaired before being able to drive their car; it allows DUI offenders to keep their vehicles, and for them to be able to drive while their license is otherwise suspended.

With more than 2,000 drivers losing the state subsidy to pay for a device, many folks may be forced to not drive due to being in a suspended status, or alternatively (as the government is concerned about) drive without a device and while on a suspended status. Lest it be said, the government is scurrying to find a solution to this IID subsidy dilemma.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a DUI, immediately contact a Seattle DUI attorney. A DUI lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle DUI lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce those penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their DUI charge. So it should go without saying that someone cited for DUI should hire a qualified Seattle DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Driving Under the Influence charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with DUI in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle DUI lawyer.

DUI Checkpoints? We Shall See …

June 8th, 2014

With the ever changing DUI laws in our state, one has to wonder how far off DUI check points are from again being on our Washington roadways.  Although our Washington state Constitution protects individual privacy interests in our homes and our private affairs, and although in 1988 our State Supreme Court held that sobriety checkpoints involve seizures, and thus are valid only if there is legal authority to conduct the seizure, many DUI defense attorneys are convinced that the next big move in Washington DUI law is the re-imposition of DUI checkpoints.

It seems that in Washington the erosion of our 4th amendment protection rights, as they pertain to DUI’s, is continuous and ongoing.  Thus, it only seems natural that at some point in the near future that one of the Washington policing agencies will again be emboldened to test the DUI checkpoint option.  When will this occur? Only time will tell.  One would hope, however, that such a campaign will be publicly disclosed before it goes into full force and effect. Similar to WSP’s disclosure of holiday DUI emphasis patrol programs, i.e. the Target Zero campaign.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a DUI, immediately contact a Seattle DUI attorney. A Seattle DUI attorney is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle DUI attorney to help can – at a minimum – reduce those penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their DUI charge. So it should go without saying that someone cited for DUI should hire a qualified Seattle DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Driving Under the Influence charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with DUI in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle DUI lawyer.

Driving Patterns that can Lead to DUI

June 1st, 2014

Word to the wise … virtually all Washington traffic enforcement officers are trained on how to detect and process DUI suspects. Many are in fact trained in accordance with National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) standards. Many years ago NHTSA compiled a list of certain “driving patterns” to alert police of potentially impaired drivers. NHTSA has in fact outlined indicators/ clues of drunk driving. The following are some of the clues traffic enforcement officers have been ‘programmed’ to look for: (1) making a turn with a wide radius; straddling a center or lane marker; (2) nearly striking an object or another vehicle; weaving; (3) driving outside the designated roadway; swerving; drifting; driving more than 10% below the posted speed limit; stopping in traffic for no reason; (4) tailgating; driving with tires on center lane marker; erratic braking; driving into oncoming traffic; (5) incorrect signaling; (6) slow response to traffic signals; inappropriate stops (not in traffic); abrupt or illegal turns; (7) sudden acceleration or deceleration; driving without headlights after dark; and the all encompassing … (8) “appearing to be drunk.”

Yes, many of the aforementioned clues/ indicators can be attributed to other things besides driving impaired, i.e. texting, lighting a cigarette, eating, putting make-up on and the like, but it gives cause for a law enforcement officer to initiate a traffic stop nonetheless, and upon contact with the driver it possibly gives the officer an opportunity to further conduct a DUI investigation if the circumstances warrant. Something as simple as the odor of alcohol will be all that is necessary for an officer to commence a Terry investigation after a traffic stop; in other words, it does not take much for a DUI investigation to proceed in Washington State. And because of the current political climate surrounding DUI’s, an actual DUI arrest is likely if the officer has even the slightest inkling that someone is impaired by the alcohol/ drugs he consumed.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a DUI, immediately contact a Seattle DUI attorney. A DUI lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle DUI lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce those penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their DUI charge. So it should go without saying that someone cited for DUI should hire a qualified Seattle DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Driving Under the Influence charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with DUI in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle DUI lawyer.

DUI related Legislation passed in 2014

May 20th, 2014

The ever tightening DUI noose is alive and well. On June 12, 2014 SB 6415 (the bill pertaining to consecutive sentences for driving under the influence and/or physical control of a vehicle under the influence of intoxicating liquor, marijuana, or any drug) will be in full force and effect. SB 6415 ensures that sentences for a felony driving under the influence or being in physical control of a motor vehicle under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug must be served consecutively (back to back) with any sentence imposed for circumventing an ignition interlock device or operating a motor vehicle without a required ignition interlock device, which are both gross misdemeanor offenses in Washington State. Additionally, SB 6415 stipulates that sentences for circumventing an ignition interlock device or operating a motor vehicle without a required ignition interlock device are to be served consecutively by a defendant.

Interestingly, SB 6014 (the bill pertaining to Boating Under the Influence) also has an effective date of June 12, 2014, and ensures that BUI law mirrors previous changes to our Washington DUI implied consent law.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a DUI, immediately contact a Seattle DUI attorney. A DUI lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle DUI lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce those penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their DUI charge. So it should go without saying that someone cited for DUI should hire a qualified Seattle DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Driving Under the Influence charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with DUI in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle DUI lawyer.

Why O’ Why Canada

May 16th, 2014

Frequently we at SQ Attorneys are asked about the impact that a DUI (including DUI’s reduced to Reckless Driving or Negligent Driving) has on one’s ability to enter Canada. By no means are we the experts on the subject, however.

Frequently asked questions and answers regarding the issue can be found at: (1)  http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/index.asp; and (2) http://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/seattle (click Visas and immigration for further details and applications), and the basics are pretty simple. There are three ways (according to the Immigration Section of the Canadian Consulate) to gain admittance into Canada after being convicted of a DUI. Those are: (1) If the completion of one’s DUI sentence is less than 5 years old, the person can apply for a Temporary Resident Permit, the price of which is $200 Canadian, and the processing of the application can be lengthy; (2) If the completion of one’s DUI sentence is more than 5 years old, the person can apply for Approval of Rehabilitation, the price of which ranges from $200 – $1,000 depending on the severity of the crime. The person will need to provide a police certificate of criminal history, and the processing of the application can take a year or more; and finally (3) If a person has one DUI that has been completed over 10 years ago, he can get the Approval of Rehabilitation approved at the border. The person should arrive at the border with the application complete. If approved, the past DUI will no longer impact his ability to go to Canada.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a DUI, immediately contact a Seattle DUI attorney. A Seattle DUI attorney is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle DUI lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce those penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their DUI charge. So it should go without saying that someone cited for DUI should hire a qualified Seattle DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Driving Under the Influence charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with DUI in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle DUI attorney.

DUI Arrest Results in Commander’s Dismissal

May 10th, 2014

Getting arrested for DUI can impact anyone, including law enforcement personnel. Case in point, a DUI arrest caused Mountlake Terrace police commander Don Duncan to be terminated from the department on May 2, 2014. His dismissal from the force followed an internal investigation by the department for suspicion of drunken driving. Commander Duncan was arrested by the Washington State Patrol on February 1, 2014 in Lake Stevens. At the time of his arrest, Commander Duncan was the assigned command duty officer. His DUI arrest violated department policy, and thus lead to his dismissal from the Mountlake Terrace Police Department.

Undoubtedly Mr. Duncan has retained counsel to assist him. Like Mr. Duncan, if you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a DUI, immediately contact a Seattle DUI attorney. A DUI attorney is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle DUI attorney to help can – at a minimum – reduce those penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their DUI charge. So it should go without saying that someone cited for DUI should hire a qualified Seattle DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Driving Under the Influence charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with DUI in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle DUI lawyer.