The Right Judge Could Make all the Difference

November 24th, 2014

Recently Greg and I were asked if a case could be moved to another court, or at least could a new judge be appointed to the case. Well … moving the case to a different court house was probably not in the cards, but getting a new judge … that possibly could have been done. Why? Well there is something called an ‘affidavit of prejudice’.

Pursuant to CrRLJ 8.9 and RCW 3.34.110 a judge may disqualified for any reason as long as they have not made any ‘discretionary’ ruling in the case, and as long as a person has filed a Motion for Change of Judge within the 10 day time period of knowing who the judge assigned to the case will be.

There may even be some wiggle room if a judge has set conditions of release at a person’s arraignment hearing (where the entry of a not guilty plea is entered), so long as the person’s motion is otherwise timely; in other words, the judge can be removed from presiding over a person’s case (and would be precluded from making any further decisions on the case) so long as the Motion for Change of Judge is made timely.

Generally, a qualified Seattle criminal defense attorney will know what judges should, or should not, preside over a case. Some judges have biases in certain instances, as we all do. For instance, some judges, because of personal issues, should not preside over a domestic violence related case. Maybe she had a loved one harmed by another, or perhaps she herself went through a bad divorce and has a bias towards a certain defendant who was in a like circumstance.

It is crucial in any defense to understand who is wearing the black robe. Only a seasoned Seattle criminal defense Lawyer will have the knowledge necessary to best represent someone facing a criminal charge in Washington State.  The Seattle criminal attorneys that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly qualified and reputable Seattle criminal defense lawyers that are dedicated to providing top notch, aggressive representation for those cited for unlawful offenses all across Western Washington and the Greater Puget Sound region. The team creates success by working with law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney’s office to ensure that all facts and circumstances related to the allegations are considered in creating the fairest, most equitable and just resolution possible in light of all the surrounding circumstances of the given case.

SR that 22; Darn License Suspensions!

November 20th, 2014

When a person is cited for DUI in Washington State, he faces the prospect of losing his privilege to drive. If the person is ‘convicted’ in a criminal court for DUI he will lose his privilege to drive in Washington, and if he either (1) losses an administrative hearing held by the Department of Licensing, or (2) chooses to forego a hearing with the Department of Licensing, he will lose his privilege to drive. It is the law.

If the person’s license is suspended based on losing the DOL Administrative Hearing (or because the person failed to request a hearing) he will be required to have SR-22 Insurance for three (3) years upon his eligibility to reinstate his driving privilege. If six (6) months later that person is able to get a reduction in the criminal court to Reckless Driving (which also results in a license suspension, albeit for a shorter period.) the person will have another three (3) year SR-22 requirement for that ‘conviction’. The suspension periods can, and generally do, run concurrent to each other, but the costs for SR-22 Insurance may be a bit different because a ‘conviction’ may cause the monetary amount to increase.

Be smart when arrested for DUI. Immediately seek the assistance of a Seattle DUI lawyer. A qualified and trained Seattle DUI attorney will sift through the myriad and numerous defenses in a Washington DUI case. So if facing a DUI, do not go it alone, and do not just hire some ‘general’ practitioner. Washington DUI laws are far too complicated for any ol’ attorney to handle. Be smart … hire a qualified and skilled Seattle DUI attorney when arrested for DUI in Washington State.

Electronic Tickets Coming to Seattle

November 12th, 2014

By sometime this next Summer a new ticketing system will be up and running in Seattle; Seattle police, in short order, will no longer be writing traffic tickets per se, but rather will be using an electronic system to dole out and/ or issue traffic tickets.

Law enforcement agents in Seattle claim the new electronic ticketing system will not only save officers time, but will also give them a more reliable way to track ticket data. The system will also be able to scan driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations, and track collisions in and around the City of Seattle. Undoubtedly, this new system will have glitches and unseemly warts, so it will be interesting to see how long it takes to make the switch worth the tax payer’s hard earned dollars.

If you or a loved one is cited in Seattle or anywhere else in greater western Washington, it is imperative that you seek the assistance of a qualified and reputable Seattle criminal attorney. The Seattle criminal attorneys that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly qualified and reputable Seattle criminal defense lawyers that are dedicated to providing top notch, aggressive representation for those cited for unlawful offenses all across Western Washington and the Greater Puget Sound region. The team creates success by working with law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney’s office to ensure that all facts and circumstances related to the allegations are considered in creating the fairest, most equitable and just resolution possible in light of all the surrounding circumstances of the given case.

Restoration of Rights

November 10th, 2014

Although in Washington you have the right to have a court restore your right to possess firearms if you have a conviction for a domestic-violence misdemeanor, federal law authorities do not recognize such a court order. Thus, an individual could be in a position where his possession of firearms does not violate Washington state law, but does violate our federal law, a real conundrum for some folks. This is so because the federal definition of ‘misdemeanor crime of domestic violence’ is much narrower than the definition appearing under Washington law.

A critical difference between the Washington and federal laws on domestic violence is the nature of the relationship between the offender and the crime victim. The federal definition is much narrower. Under federal law, an offense is categorized as a ‘misdemeanor crime of domestic violence’ if the offender and victim are related as spouses, parent and child, guardian and ward, cohabitants, or people who have a child in common. Under Washington law, the category includes people in a ‘dating relationship,’ siblings, roommates, and others. Thus, a brother-against-brother assault is a DV offense under Washington law, but not under federal law.

Curiously, under the above circumstance the person convicted of a brother-against-brother misdemeanor assault will lose his gun rights under Washington law, but if he obtains an order from a Washington court that restores his firearm rights, he will face no problem with federal authorities. So in certain delineated circumstances a person may be entitled to restore his firearm rights even though State and Federal laws do not mirror one another.

Additionally, federal authorities will almost always recognize a restoration of Washington rights which were lost due to a felony (not misdemeanor) conviction. Thus, a person convicted of a more serious offense has an advantage over someone convicted of a less serious offense. That seems backwards and illogical, but is what it is. In short, you are more likely to regain your right to possess a firearm if you are convicted of a felony, not a misdemeanor.

If you or a loved one is charged with a crime in Seattle or anywhere else in greater western Washington, it is imperative that you seek the assistance of a qualified and reputable Seattle criminal defense attorney. The Seattle criminal attorneys that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly qualified and reputable Seattle criminal defense lawyers that are dedicated to providing top notch, aggressive representation for those cited for unlawful offenses all across Western Washington and the Greater Puget Sound region. The team creates success by working with law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney’s office to ensure that all facts and circumstances related to the allegations are considered in creating the fairest, most equitable and just resolution possible in light of all the surrounding circumstances of the given case.

Do Not Eat the Evidence!

November 5th, 2014

Note to self – eating DUI evidence is probably not going to solve my problem; the government can still proceed on criminal charges against me. Apparently a DUI suspect in New York thought otherwise. According to NYPD, a 40 year old man is now facing multiple criminal charges after he tried to eat his DUI test results. The man was stopped for allegedly speeding this past Sunday. After investigation, he was arrested for DUI and taken to the ‘cop shop’ for further processing. When the man’s breath test results started to print, he grabbed the ‘ticket’ from the machine and tried to eat it, numbers and all. Presumably, the man thought by eating the ticket there would be no evidence of his test results, and hence he would not be facing criminal charges for driving under the influence. Well folks, these machines have computers and they have databases … so even though the ticket may have been digested … the readings obtained were not. So instead of facing a simple ol’ DUI this clever Spartacus is now facing a slew of criminal charges. Certainly not the brightest bulb in the box … nor the sharpest tool in the shed.

Be smart when arrested for DUI, let your inner light shine bright and your blade gleam, and immediately seek the assistance of a Seattle DUI lawyer. A qualified and trained Seattle DUI attorney will sift through the myriad and numerous defenses in a Washington DUI case. So if facing a DUI, do not go it alone, and do not just hire some ‘general’ practitioner. Washington DUI laws are far too complicated for any ol’ attorney to handle. Be smart … hire a qualified and skilled Seattle DUI attorney when arrested for DUI in Washington State.

Things to Consider when Cited for DUI

October 24th, 2014

Potential DUI clients who visit with us for the first time often ask us similar questions. One such question is, “What can I do to show that I am taking this seriously?” Greg and I answer this question the same way each and every time, immediately attend a DUI Victims Panel. Attending a DUI Victim’s Panel helps show that you are taking responsibility for the situation you find yourself in (without admitting guilt), and it may help reduce the number of conditions of release a court may impose upon you while your case is pending in a court of law.

A DUI Victim Impact Panel is an awareness program for those facing a driving under the influence of alcohol or other drug related charge. The participant attends a two – two point five hour educational session, consisting of a non-confrontational presentation by individuals who volunteer to tell their own personal stories of how impaired drivers forever changed their lives. Once completed, the participant receives a ‘certificate of completion’ that can be filed with the court.

First time offenders may also want to participate in an alcohol/ drug information class, which is geared toward helping people make more responsible decisions concerning alcohol and other drug use. Classes are typically 8 hours, and are intended to be non-judgemental forums for honest and open discussions about drug and alcohol use. The participant also learns valuable information about the effects of drugs and alcohol on the body, and similar to the victim panel, receives a ‘certificate of completion’ that can be filed with the court.

So there you have it, two things that can be done right away if facing a first time DUI in Washington State.  We have said it before, but it definitely bears repeating … Washington DUI laws are getting tougher. Be smart when arrested for DUI, immediately seek the assistance of a Seattle DUI lawyer. A qualified and trained Seattle DUI attorneys will sift through the myriad and numerous defenses in a Washington DUI case. So if facing a DUI, do not go it alone, and do not just hire some ‘general’ practitioner. Washington DUI laws are far too complicated for any ol’ attorney to handle. Be smart … hire a qualified, skilled Seattle DUI attorney when arrested for DUI in Washington State.

Ever Evolving Laws

October 14th, 2014

Could there be a change in the future to Washington State’s texting while driving law? The law, as written, may be a bit outdated according to a Washington’s State Traffic Safety Commission. Currently, the law is not specific enough to deal with surfing the net, checking emails or sending instant messages on one’s phone because it was written before smart phones were all the rage. Simply put, the technology wasn’t available when the original law was written in 2007.

The Traffic Safety Commission wants the law to say drivers can use mobile devices only when a car is pulled off the road, in a position where the car can remain, or otherwise stay, stationary. The commission wants to ban any form of holding a phone while operating a motor vehicle. The law in its current form is not specific enough and may permit for use of a cell phone if it is held at a distance or the speaker is engaged.

If approved, the changes would permit the state to be eligible for additional federal funds to help states pay for distracted driving education and more enforcement campaigns, and we all know how much our state government loves federal subsidizing.

If you or a loved one is cited in Seattle or anywhere else in greater western Washington, it is imperative that you seek the assistance of a qualified and reputable Seattle criminal defense attorney. The Seattle criminal attorneys that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly qualified and reputable Seattle criminal defense lawyers that are dedicated to providing top notch, aggressive representation for those cited for unlawful offenses all across Western Washington and the Greater Puget Sound region. The team creates success by working with law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney’s office to ensure that all facts and circumstances related to the allegations are considered in creating the fairest, most equitable and just resolution possible in light of all the surrounding circumstances of the given case.

The Crackdown Continues

October 3rd, 2014

Accidents, injuries and overall carnage are what keep causing the government’s aggressive policy to ‘crackdown’ on DUI’s. Case in point, on the evening of September 20th a driver in West Seattle was booked into custody after a multiple-scene crash north of Morgan Junction. The first part of the accident was on the southbound side of California street, where the driver is allegedly to have hit a cab (ironically being patroned by folks choosing to not drink and drive). The second part of the accident was on the eastbound side of SW Raymond, where the driver allegedly went over a traffic circle, and came to a stop after hitting a parked car between 42nd and 41st.

Initially it was believed that no one was injured. However, upon further review the passengers in the taxi apparently may have suffered a concussion and a bad sprain, respectively. The driver, 39 years old, spent five and a half hours in jail before getting out on bail and now faces DUI, Reckless Driving and Reckless Endangerment charges. It is very clear that these types of incidents are the very types that the government is concerned about, and it is equally clear that they are ‘sending a message’ by their seemingly draconian prosecution policies.

In short, it is quit clear that Washington DUI laws are simply getting a lot tougher. Be smart when arrested for DUI, immediately seek the assistance of a Seattle DUI lawyer. A qualified and trained Seattle DUI attorneys will sift through the myriad and numerous defenses in a Washington DUI case. So if facing a DUI, do not go it alone, and do not just hire some ‘general’ practitioner. Washington DUI laws are far too complicated for any ol’ attorney to handle. Be smart … hire a qualified, skilled Seattle DUI attorney when arrested for DUI in Washington State.

Ban Smoking Pot in Cars? It is Only a Matter of Time.

September 26th, 2014

Under Revised Code of Washington 46.61.519 it is unlawful to drink or have an open alcohol container in a vehicle while on a Washington roadway, and soon it may be unlawful to smoke or have an open marijuana package inside a vehicle too. This is so because state officials want the Legislature to tweak the state’s recreational marijuana law so that it’s illegal to smoke marijuana in a car.

Currently there is no explicit language under Washington State law covering marijuana in vehicles; although the passage of Initiative 502 in 2012 legalized the recreational use of marijuana in Washington State, it did not cover every facet of marijuana use. Although the law prohibits ‘public use’ of marijuana, officials apparently believe that many people don’t think their car is a ‘public place’ and thus smoking in their car is a safe harbor. Authorities hope to clarify things with the above referenced ‘tweak’ to the law.

The laws surrounding marijuana in Washington State are ever changing. So be smart when faced with an allegation that you may have violated the law, especially when the incident involves a vehicle. Immediately seek the assistance of a Seattle DUI lawyer. A qualified and trained Seattle DUI attorney will sift through the myriad and numerous defenses that may be applicable to your case. Don’t go at it alone, and do not just hire some ‘general’ practitioner. Be smart … hire a qualified, skilled Seattle DUI lawyer.

The Law of Hailey and the Unfortunate Impound

September 25th, 2014

Under Washington law if a person is arrested for Driving Under the Influence, the car being driving will be towed away by a private tow company, and it will cost a ‘pretty penny’ to get the car out of the tow lot. Why you may ask … well … because of Hailey’s Law.

What is Hailey’s Law? Hailey’s Law is a law that went into effect on July 22, 2011. It requires a mandatory impound hold on any vehicle driven by a person cited for DUI. Only after a minimum 12 hour hold is up may a person retrieve their vehicle. The citing officer has absolutely no discretion whatsoever. This is so even if there is someone that can come get the car or even if the car can be legally left where it was stopped. Hailey’s Law was created after a tragic accident. Someone was arrested for DUI, released, then went back to their car and drove again, got into an accident, almost killing the people they hit. The person hit was named Hailey. In an effort to avoid another tragic accident the legislature passed Hailey’s Law, the mandatory tow rule.

Interestingly, there appears to be one exception to Hailey’s Law. That exception is as follows: if you are the registered owner of the vehicle and someone else was arrested for DUI in your car, then you can have the car released from the tow company without having to wait for the entire twelve hours, but it can only be release to you.

So the question we are often asked here at SQ Attorneys is: How do I get my car back once it has been towed pursuant to Hailey’s Law? Generally, the arresting officer will give you the tow company’s information. If the officer did not provide that information then one should contact the law enforcement agancy associated with the arrest. Also, the information is often on the ticket or citation received or somewhere on the related paperwork provided by the arresting officer. Once the tow company is ascertained, call them and find out if they actually have the car on their lot, what time they can legally release it, and how much it will cost. Also be sure to ask what documentation is required in order for you to retrieve the car. As you can imagine, towing rates differ depending on the towing company, the city of origin length of impound and the like.

If you are arrested for Driving Under the Influence, seek a Seattle DUI Attorney immediately. Hiring a seasoned Seattle DUI attorney is imperative when facing the prospect of a DUI conviction. A qualified and trained Seattle DUI lawyer will sift through the myriad and numerous defenses in a Washington DUI case. So if facing a DUI, do not go it alone and do not just hire some ‘general’ practitioner. Washington DUI laws are far too complicated for any ol’ attorney. So … be smart … hire a qualified, skilled Seattle DUI lawyer when arrested for DUI in Washington State.