What is the PBT Good For?

January 25th, 2015

Recently it seems that some people are confused about what a ‘portable breath test’ (“PBT”) given on the scene of a DUI traffic stop is used for. It appears that some folks think that a PBT can be used against them to prove that they are actually driving under the influence, and that if they refuse/ decline to provide a breath sample into the PBT the consequences that they face if convicted of DUI will be ‘enhanced’ or otherwise increased based on the DUI laws in Washington State.

So … to dispel any notion that a PBT can be used to prove a person is driving under the influence we provide the following: A PBT is not admissible in the prosecutor’s case and it generally will not be presented to a jury; the breath test results that are presented to a jury, and the ones that are considered to determine if someone is driving under the influence, are the results obtained from the breath test machine located at the precinct, not on the scene of the traffic stop. The PBT is generally only used to establish probable cause to arrest, and even to be used for that purpose – the officer or trooper must correctly follow the Washington Administrative Code (WAC 448.15) protocols. Generally, these results will only be used during motions to suppress evidence and not during a jury trial.  This is so because to do so would violate evidentiary rules of relevance and/or prejudice, such as ER 401, and 402. So … it is often a good idea to refuse to provide a breath sample into a PBT, even though it may be a good idea to provide breath samples into the breath test machine at the station due to potential increased penalties for refusing the same.

If cited for DUI in Washington state be smart 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.

DUI Patrols Continue

January 17th, 2015

As many folks may have known (as it was made clear by commercials and electronic road signs), on November 25, 2014 law enforcement agencies throughout Washington State commenced conducting DUI emphasis patrols through the beginning of 2015. Although the ‘emphasis patrols’ may no longer be in effect, don’t be fooled. Law enforcement is out in full force in effect; mounting a campaign against DUI’s. Many law enforcement agencies (like the Seattle Police Department, for instance) have dedicated ‘squads’ for DUI enforcement. The WSP continues to maintain its ‘Target Zero’ program, and undoubtedly county sheriffs also have their own little way of emphasizing the continued crackdown on DUI’s in the State of Washington.

So … in short … do not let your guard down, be careful, and do your best to avoid having a single drink and then driving. because although it is no longer the Holiday season DUI’s remain an emphasis for Washington law enforcement agencies, and city and county prosecutors alike. Especially during this epic Seahawks march to Superbowl XXIX.

Notwithstanding the foregoing ‘warning’, if you or a loved one is arrested for DUI the best thing you can do is immediately contact and retain a reputable and qualified Seattle DUI Attorney. The Seattle DUI lawyers that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are a highly skilled and experienced team of practitioners immensely dedicated to aggressively protecting the rights and interests of those accused of DUI in Western Washington. The Seattle DUI attorneys at SQ attorneys create success by working with both law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney’s office to ensure that their client’s integrity and overarching humanity, as well as the totality of the facts and circumstances related to the allegations, are considered in creating the most just, fair and equitable resolution possible.

Beware: Third Party Contact is Still Contact

January 9th, 2015

If a person has an active No Contact Order (‘NCO’) in place they would be wise not to violate it. A violation of a no contact order is a crime in Washington State, and an NCO can be violated even if contact with the ‘protected person’ is through a third party. Such was the case in State v. Cardenas-Padilla, which was upheld by the Washington State Court of Appeals, Division III last month.

In State v. Cardenas-Padilla, the defendant was convicted and sentenced to 14 months incarceration for a series of text messages that he sent to his former mother-in-law in an attempt to reach her daughter, his ex-wife, who was the protected party in a no-contact order involving Cardenas-Padilla.

The facts are pretty straight forward, Cardenas-Padilla and his ex-wife had been divorced, and a no-contact order was issued against Cardenas-Padilla on behalf of his former wife. The two shared an 18-month-old daughter in common. In late December 2012, the defendant sent a letter by the US Postal Service to his former mother-in-law requesting that she ask his ex-wife to delete a social media profile page created for the couple’s child. Approximately a month later, Cardenas-Padilla sent between 25 and 30 text messages to his ex-mother-in-law. In the text messages that he sent, he was reportedly asking for her assistance in convincing his ex-wife to talk to him and possibly reconcile. Shortly thereafter, Cardenas-Padilla was put under arrest for three counts of violating a no-contact order under RCW 26.50.110(5). Jurors ultimately found the defendant, Cardenas-Padilla, guilty on two counts of violating a no contact order, and the defendant was ordered to serve 14 months confinement, with credit for the seven months he had already served. He was also ordered to pay a monetary fine and fees.

The Cardenas-Padilla case is a stark reminder that violations of an order of protection are taken very seriously in Washington, even if the contact is not made directly with the protected party. If cited for an NCO violation it is imperative to immediately contact a Seattle domestic violence attorney to protect your rights and interests. Protecting the rights and the interests of those accused of committing crime is what SQ Attorneys does. The Seattle domestic violence attorneys that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly qualified and reputable Seattle domestic violence lawyers that are dedicated to providing top notch, aggressive representation for those arrested for crime 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 criminal allegations are considered in creating the fairest, most equitable and just resolution possible in light of all the surrounding circumstances of the given case. So, whether cited for assault, property destruction or some other domestic violence related crime, protect yourself … call SQ Attorneys immediately.

DV Appeals Tough

January 1st, 2015

A recent Washington Court of Appeals, Division One case reflects that successfully appealing jury convictions is pretty darn difficult in domestic violence cases. In Washington v. Bato a prosecutor’s repeated references during closing argument to facts outside the record (clearly prosecutorial misconduct) apparently did not warrant a new trial.

In the Bato case, the alleged victim had written a statement for police that was not admitted as evidence at trial. That statement included allegations that the defendant had dragged her into the bedroom, thrown her on the bed, and threatened her life with knives. She later stated she did not remember what she said or whether these facts were true. Thus, these statements were suppressed and were not admitted at trial or for jury consideration. Notwithstanding this, during closing arguments, the prosecutor made references to “the knives” and “the threats” and “the dragging.”; this was despite the fact that the information had been barred from trial. The defense objected to each of these statements, but the judge overruled and instead followed each time with a reminder to jurors that statements by lawyers during closing argument are not evidence. The court also summarily rejected a motion for mistrial, and the defendant was subsequently convicted.

On appeal, the panel noted it is improper for prosecutors to make arguments based on facts not included in the evidence. However, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion for mistrial because a mistrial is only warranted when facts are so prejudiced that nothing short of a new trial will assure the defendant will be tried fairly. The panel considered trial judge’s verbal and written instructions as well as the evidence and found the lower court had not acted improperly in denying a new trial. The conviction was upheld. In short, the court summarily dismissed the prosecutor’s egregious and unsavory behavior and chose to uphold the conviction regardless of the unseemly behavior of the prosecutor.

The Bato case illustrates why it is important to have a savvy and well seasoned Seattle domestic violence lawyer on your side immediately upon being cited and/or charged with domestic violence. A highly qualified Seattle domestic violence attorney will understand how to best fight the allegations. A Seattle domestic violence attorney will be best equipped to help with the meanderings of our criminal court system.

The Seattle domestic violence attorneys that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly qualified and reputable Seattle domestic violence lawyers that are dedicated to providing top notch, aggressive representation for those arrested for crime 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 criminal allegations are considered in creating the fairest, most equitable and just resolution possible in light of all the surrounding circumstances of the given case. So, whether cited for assault, property destruction or some other domestic violence related crime, protect yourself … call SQ Attorneys immediately.

DUI and Distracted Driving, Neither are Good

December 26th, 2014

As we all know, Washington prohibits driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. What perhaps is not so commonly known is that Washington State also prohibits (and aggressively enforces) distracted driving laws. In short, handheld cell phone use and texting is prohibited for all Washington drivers, and all cell phone use (handheld and even hands-free) is prohibited for novice drivers. Of course there are exceptions to the general rule, but in short a person is not permitted to text or use a hand held cell phone while driving a motor vehicle.

A tragic case out of New Jersey is a perfect example of why Washington (and other states) have both DUI laws and distracted driving laws. In that case a drunken DUI driver who was driving and texting struck and killed two teenage cousins. Regardless of the fact that he was personally horrified by his conduct, expressed his remorse and even called himself a ‘monster’, he was sentenced to 18 years in prison (9 years for each victim) for aggravated manslaughter. Cases like this have increasingly become far too common, and as such the government has really ‘cracked down’ on offenders throughout the country, including Washington State.

Although no one desires to be arrested for DUI, if it should happen be smart 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.

On Your Mark, Get Set … DUI APP?

December 17th, 2014

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could definitively know if you had too many drinks to drive? Well in some states there is now a new cellphone app that may tell you just that, in Maryland it is called ‘ENDUI’.

ENDUI is a federally funded app, and allows people to: (1) get an idea of how drunk they are, and (2) determine whether they would be better off getting a cab (or using Uber?). The app is available for free on Android and iPhone devices. Users of the app enter their sex, height, weight and number of drinks that they have consumed. This, in turn, helps the user figure out their blood-alcohol level.

In addition to the foregoing, the app has the ability to use GPS technology to call cabs and preload phone numbers for potential designated drivers, and it allows visitors to play two interactive games, which test a person’s reaction time and cognitive agility. One of the games involves pressing a red “brake” button when an image of a pedestrian passes by or a vehicle ahead stops. The other game shows nine road signs that blink in different order; users of the app try to recall the order, which gets increasingly challenging with each round.

Currently there are several states with similar apps. They include: New York, New Mexico, Colorado and California. Although Washington State does not currently support an app like ENDUI, it is only reasonable to presume it is not too far off. After all, Washington State already has some of the strictest DUI laws in the nation.

It should go without saying, but may bear repeating nonetheless, 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.

DV Tagedies Increase Government Involvement

December 9th, 2014

For those of you who wonder why the government takes such a strong position on domestic violence, you need look no further than a tragic incident that took place on Thursday of last week.

In Bothell a 48 year old woman was found with injuries from a box cutter. She ultimately died from those injuries after being hospitalized Harborview Medical Center along with her estranged husband, a 48 year old man. Both the man and the woman had wounds that authorities attribute to a box cutter. The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office has said they believe the injuries to the couple were inflicted during a domestic violence dispute. This is exactly the type of situation that police officers, prosecutors and domestic violence advocates fear may occur if they don’t take a very proactive and involved approach to domestic violence matters; the belief stems from the concept that domestic violence is an ‘escalation’ crime, and thus if not handled in the infancy stages of development tragedies like these occur.

Anyone facing a DV charge should get prepared to protect themselves, or face the specter of the government getting very involved in their personal affairs; they would best be served by hiring a qualified Seattle domestic violence attorney to help them with the meanderings of our criminal court system. The Seattle domestic violence attorneys that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly qualified and reputable Seattle domestic violence lawyers that are dedicated to providing top notch, aggressive representation for those arrested for crime 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 criminal allegations are considered in creating the fairest, most equitable and just resolution possible in light of all the surrounding circumstances of the given case. So, whether cited for assault, property destruction or some other domestic violence related crime, protect yourself … call SQ Attorneys immediately.

Portable Breath Test for Marijuana on the Way?

November 30th, 2014

The State of Washington has long had an ability to legally test a person’s breath for alcohol. Now it is searching for ways to test a person’s breath for Marijuana. Currently a team at Washington State University is feverishly working to develop a breath test that could quickly determine whether a driver is under the influence of marijuana.

Drivers impaired by marijuana have become an increasing concern in Washington State since Washington voters legalized recreational use of marijuana in 2012; Initiative 502 set 5 nanograms of active THC per milliliter of blood as the legal limit at which a driver is automatically determined to be impaired. It is claimed that a quarter of blood samples taken from Washington drivers in 2013 came back positive for pot.

Most likely any marijuana breath test obtained from a suspected impaired driver won’t be able to pinpoint the actual level of THC in the driver’s body; it will only be able to tell officers that some active THC is present in the driver’s breath. Regardless, getting a breath sample will still be helpful to officers in deciding whether to arrest a suspected impaired driver. Law-enforcement agencies, however, would still have to obtain follow-up test results (blood test) to use as evidence in court, just as they do after a positive preliminary breath test for alcohol impairment.

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.

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.