Driving While Suspended – It is Possible to do Legally!

September 1st, 2014

A common question we at SQ Attorneys get asked is: ‘Can I drive a vehicle if my driver’s license gets suspended due to a DUI?’ Well, in Washington State the answer is simple – ‘yes’ … so long as you take the appropriate steps with the Department of Licensing. This is so because there are certain conditions that apply which may, or may not, restrict a person’s ability to drive while their license is suspended due to a DUI.

There are three types of license suspensions that would be applicable in Washington due to a DUI: (1) An administrative license suspension from the DOL; (2) A driver’s license suspension following a DUI conviction; and (3) a driver’s license suspension for a reckless driving conviction reduced from a DUI.

If you are facing an administrative license suspension there are two possible options to drive a car. First, a person can simply elect to not to drive during the suspension period and then apply for a drivers license following the suspension period. This will require high risk insurance upon eligibility to reinstate their license. Second, a person can apply for the ignition interlock license (“IIL”), which will allow him to drive during the period of suspension. The IIL requires a person to: (1) file an IIL application with DOL, (2) pay $100, (3) get and maintain high risk insurance, (4) install an ignition interlock device and (5) actually receive the ILL from the DOL. It usually takes DOL about 5-20 business days to process the application and approve the IIL.

If a person is facing a license suspension for a DUI conviction, he really only has one option if he wants to drive during the suspension period – apply for and receive the ignition interlock license. 

Finally, if a person is facing a license suspension for a reckless driving conviction reduced from a DUI, he needs to apply for and obtain both an occupational license and a IIL to be able to drive during the suspension period.

As every Seattle DUI attorney knows, Washington State has some of the strictest drunk driving laws in the nation. A DUI conviction can and will result in hefty fines, loss of privilege to drive and jail time. For repeat offenders, the consequences are severe. For individuals who have been arrested or charged with DUI, it is important to have a comprehensive understanding of your rights and obligations. Thus, contacting a Seattle DUI lawyer is highly recommended. A seasoned Seattle DUI lawyer will be aware of the ever changing state and federal legislation that could result in more severe fines and penalties associated with a DUI conviction. In short, arrested for DUI? Lawyer up.

‘Prior Offense’ Definition Expanded

August 24th, 2014

Earlier this year a major change in Washington State DUI law occurred. The bill responsible for the change was SB 6413, which drastically altered what can be considered a “prior offense” when it comes to DUI sentencing. Prior to this change, if you were arrested for a DUI your sentence generally was determined by the number of “prior offenses” you had, i.e. how many DUI’s or DUI’s reduced to a lesser charge (Reckless Driving, Reckless Endangerment, Negligent Driving 1 Degree or Deferred Prosecution) you had for criminal history. SB 6413 changes things. Now a prior offense can include (in addition to those mentioned above) any of the following: (1) driving a commercial vehicle while under the influence, (2) a BUI, (3) operating an aircraft while under the influence, (4) operating an off road vehicle while under the influence, and even (5) operating a snowmobile while under the influence.

DUI laws in Washington State continue to get a lot tougher and this new law only shows how difficult things are becoming. So be smart when cited 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. Be smart … hire a qualified, skilled Seattle DUI lawyer when arrested for DUI in Washington State.

Search Until Your Heart is Content

August 12th, 2014

We at SQ Attorneys are often asked if case information can be looked up on-line. Well in Seattle Municipal Court, and the King County District Courts and Superior Courts the answer is a simple ‘yes’. Effective June 24, 2014, Seattle Municipal Court started its electronic filing program. A person can now look up case documents on-line anytime. And in the King County District and Superior Courts there is public access to most all of the courts’ documents. For a relatively small fee a person can set up an account, and can get most court records for their King County District and/or Superior Court case(s). The links for these sites can be found at: (1) Seattle.gov (2) DCoR on-line; and (3) ECR on-line, respectively. As they say, ‘time is money’ … happy searching.

If you or a loved one is cited or charged with a criminal offense in Seattle or anywhere else in 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 mad(d) consequences of DUI

August 8th, 2014

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is spearheading legislative changes to increase penalties for drunk drivers. Since its founding in 1980, MADD has continued to raise awareness about drunk driving and has pushed through legislation to penalize drunk drivers. Since the founding of MADD, drunk driving deaths have been reduced by approximately half. However, it is said that notwithstanding the progress approximately 28 people die every day in America as a result of drunk driving. Many drunk drivers involved in these crashes are repeat offenders. MADD has narrowed in on this statistic to prevent previously convicted drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel. The organization believes that mandating the use of the ignition interlock device is the nation’s best plan of action to eliminate drunk driving. The Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving launched in 2006 and has led 23 states, including Washington, to pass the all-offender interlock legislation.

Other legislation that the organization is urging involves the following: (1) Sobriety checkpoints: While sobriety check points may be one method of preventing drunk driving, defense lawyers believe checkpoints infringe on the liberty of drivers and may violate Constitutional search and seizure laws. (2) Ignition interlock devices: Ignition interlock devices for convicted DUI offenders are already required in the state of Washington. MADD is urging other states to adopt laws related to mandatory ignition interlock devices for, at a minimum, repeat offenders. (3) Stronger child endangerment laws: MADD is pushing Congress to increase penalties and strengthen laws surrounding DUI and child endangerment. (4) Repeat offender prevention laws: In addition to ignition-interlock device laws, the organization is urging Congress to pass nationwide repeat offender prevention laws, including harsh Zero Tolerance laws that could result in total loss of driving privileges.

As every Seattle DUI attorney knows, Washington State has some of the strictest drunk driving laws in the nation. A DUI conviction can and will result in hefty fines, loss of privilege to drive and jail time. For repeat offenders, the consequences are severe. For individuals who have been arrested or charged with DUI, it is important to have a comprehensive understanding of your rights and obligations. Thus, contacting a Seattle DUI lawyer is highly recommended. A seasoned Seattle DUI attorney will be aware of the ever changing state and federal legislation that could result in more severe fines and penalties associated with a DUI conviction. In short, arrested for DUI? Lawyer up.

Beware – DUI/ BUI Seafair Crackdown

August 1st, 2014

August is upon us. The Blue Angels are in town. SeaFair is here. And that means another round of increased efforts to remove impaired folks from our roadways and our waterways in and around the Puget Sound region. People who choose to spend the weekend on our roadways and our waterways should be well aware of the dangers of drinking and driving and drinking and boating.

The Washington Legislature enacted criminal laws penalizing certain conduct while operating a vehicle, whether it runs on a roadway or on a waterway. Those laws are being aggressively enforced. In fact, an individual operating a vessel on our waters while under the influence of intoxicating liquor and or drugs is criminally liable just as he would be criminally liable for driving a vehicle on our roadways. The prosecution now proves a BUI similar to a DUI. They seek to either prove the vessel operator provided a breath or blood sample of 0.08 or higher, or alternatively that the evidence supports the boat operator is under the influence of the intoxicating liquor and or drugs. That said, the penalties for a BUI criminal conviction are less harsh than that of a DUI conviction. In fact, a BUI is merely a misdemeanor crime carrying a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $1,000.00 fine, whereas a DUI is a gross misdemeanor crime carrying a maximum penalty of 364 days in jail and a $5,000.00 fine. Also, a BUI conviction does not require mandatory BUI penalties like a DUI conviction requires mandatory DUI Penalties. Further: (1) there are no consequences in refusing the a breath test when arrested for a BUI; and (2) there are no drivers license consequences with a BUI criminal conviction.

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

Procedures and Protocols; Protocols and Procedures

July 25th, 2014

Currently in Washington State law enforcement agents processing a person for DUI use the BAC Datamaster and BAC Datamaster CDM machines to obtain breath samples. In any given DUI case one of the central issues is whether a breath test is admissible into evidence and if so … what weight should be given to the test results. Often breath or blood test results are challenged on procedural and/ or administration grounds. In short, did the officer follow the procedures and protocols for breath/ blood testing. For example: (1) did the officer check the detainee’s mouth prior to the test, (2) did the officer complete a 15 minute observation period, (3) did the officer change mouthpieces for each test conducted on the detainee, (4) did the detainee put anything in his mouth during the observation period, such as his fingers, or a drink (including even water), (5) did the detainee vomit, regurgitate or smoke during the observation period, (6) did the detainee have any foreign substance in his mouth, such as a tongue ring, chewing tobacco, gum or the like, (7) was there an incomplete or invalid sample, or an ambient fail evidenced by the machine, (8) did the machine have its Quality Assurance Procedure (QAP) conducted within the last year, (9) was the simulator solution changed in the last 60 days, (10) was there a denial of the detainee’s right to counsel, if requested.

Of course, there are other procedural issues that should also be looked at and possibly raised to challenge the admissibility of breath tests, and that is why 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.

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.