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Articles Posted in DUI

liar-liar-1-231x300“…the Draeger [breath test machine for DUIs] has generated tens of thousands of breath test result[s] … since 2010 in non-compliance with … WAC 448.16.060.” Judge Jahns, on behalf of all the Judges of Kitsap District Court.

The entire Kitsap Distict Court bench has spoken.  All four judges agree.  All Draeger breath test devices have not complied with the law since their inception.  We are talking tens of thousands of breath tests since 2010.  If you have a driving under the influence (DUI) case then contact the Tacoma DUI lawyers at Smith & White, PLLC.  The reasoning of the court is simple.  To summarize their decision:  1) the toxicologist was allowed to make reasonable rules about what is required for a valid test,  2)she created a rule that said the results should be rounded, 3) she had control over the machine’s software,  4) she required that the machine truncate, and not round,  5) she knows, or should have known, that in the scientific community truncate and round have different, specific meanings,  6) she knows, or should have known, that for scientific reliability of the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that the same procedure should be used in both, 7) Likewise, she knew or should have known that the procedure the machine used needed to follow the administrative code that she created, and 8) she or her various subordinates then sworn, in thousands of cases, that the machine was following the code, i.e., that the machine was rounding and not truncating.

To make matters worse the Impaired Driving Section of the Washington State Patrol (WSP) Forensic Laboratory Services Bureau then sent out a deceptive letter addressing the issue.  The Kitsap court determined that a number of the assertions in the letter were “false or misleading.”  The letter, entitled “Potential Impeachment Disclosure” was false or misleading in a number of ways.  She said that the Impaired Driving Section was notified June 3rd, 2021 that the Draeger potentially failed to comply with the Washington Administrative Code (WAC).  However, the court found that they actually knew since the Draeger was approved in 2010.  Also, that it “potentially” failed to comply with the WAC was similarly misleading as they knew that it had never complied with the WAC.  Similarly, she was false or misleading when she said that this information was coming to light per the “Initial investigation.”  Again, her office was on notice of this issue since its inception over a decade prior.

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Carl-Sagan-high-300x300Under Washington law, it is legal for people to use marijuana recreationally. However, they must abide by certain restrictions and laws regarding the safe use of marijuana. If they do not, they may be charged with crimes. This was illustrated recently in a Washington ruling issued in a DUI case in which the court rejected the defendant’s assertion that he had a constitutional right to use marijuana without restriction. If you are charged with a DUI crime, it is smart to speak to a dedicated Tacoma DUI defense attorney at Smith and White, PLLC regarding your rights as soon as possible.

Factual Background of the Case

It is reported that pursuant to Washington law, people can be convicted of DUI if, within two hours after driving, they have a THC concentration that is 5.00 nanograms per milliliter or higher, as illustrated by an analysis of their blood. The defendant was charged with and convicted of violating the marijuana DUI law after it was determined that his blood THC level was 9.4 nanograms per milliliter within two hours of driving. He appealed, arguing that the prong of the DUI statute regulating marijuana use was unconstitutionally vague and overbroad and was not a legitimate exercise of the legislature’s police power.

DUI Charges Arising Out of Marijuana Use

The appellate court rejected the defendant’s reasoning and affirmed his conviction. It explained that laws passed by the people through initiatives, like the DUI marijuana provisions, are presumed to be constitutional, and those individuals challenging the constitutionality of a law bear the burden of proving their position beyond a reasonable doubt. A party meets this burden if the research and arguments show that there is no reasonable doubt that the law violates the constitution. Continue reading

The state and federal constitutions offer numerous rights and protections to criminal defendants, including the right to a speedy trial.  These apply to all Pierce County and Tacoma DUI cases.  Speedy-Trial-243x300Thus, if a criminal defendant is subjected to undue delays during the pendency of their trial, they may be able to successfully advocate for dismissal of the charges against them, regardless of the strength of the prosecution’s case. Recently, a Washington court discussed the evidence a defendant must produce to demonstrate their speedy trial rights have been violated in a matter in which the defendant was charged with DUI and other crimes. If you are accused of a DUI offense, it is smart to contact a Washington criminal defense attorney to discuss your rights.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the defendant was charged with numerous crimes, including driving while under the influence following a police chase. He was incarcerated during the pendency of his trial for a total of 18 months. He was subsequently convicted, after which he sought an appeal, arguing that the trial court violated his right to a speedy trial when it granted multiple continuances in spite of his objections.

The Right to a Speedy Trial

The appellate court was not persuaded by the defendant’s reasoning and rejected his appeal. The analysis the courts conduct to determine if a defendant’s speedy trial rights have been violated are largely the same under both the state and federal constitutions. Specifically, the courts employ the Barker test, which is fact-specific and depends on the unique circumstances of the case. Continue reading

MoneyA conviction for a DUI crime may result in significant criminal and civil penalties, including fines. The courts have the discretion to decide whether to impose some fines, while others are mandatory. Generally, mandatory fines may only be suspended in limited circumstances, and if the court suspends such penalties without conducting the required analysis, they may be reinstituted, as demonstrated in a recent Washington matter in which the defendant was convicted of a DUI crime and other offenses. If you are accused of a DUI offense, it is advisable to confer with a Washington DUI defense lawyer to discuss what defenses you may be able to set forth to avoid a conviction.

History of the Case

It is reported that the defendant was arrested and charged with numerous crimes, including DUI. The jury convicted him of the charged offenses, and the court imposed numerous costs and discretionary legal financial obligations. Specifically, the court imposed $1,245.00 in DUI fees, fines, and assessments, and $200 for a blood alcohol content fee. The defendant appealed, arguing that the trial court failed to conduct an individualized analysis as to his ability to pay the fees.

People charged with DUI offenses are often tried shortly after their arrests. In some instances, however, a person may be able to defer his or her prosecution to take part in a treatment or rehabilitation program. People who successfully complete such programs are often able to have their DUI charges dismissed, but they must comply with the conditions imposed by the law, and if they do not, their deferred prosecution may be revoked. The revocation of deferred prosecution was the topic of a recent Washington opinion. If you are accused of committing a DUI offense, it is smart to speak to a Washington criminal defense lawyer to evaluate your possible options.

The Defendant’s Charges

Reportedly, the defendant was charged with DUI and reckless driving in May 2012. He petitioned the court for deferred prosecution in October 2013. The court granted his petition and entered an order approving a two-year treatment plan and deferring the prosecution of the matter for five years. The order also dictated that the defendant had to totally abstain from the use of alcohol or illicit drugs for the duration of the deferred prosecution and abide by the law.

Allegedly, in January 2018, the State moved to revoke the defendant’s deferred prosecution on the grounds that he was charged with hit and run, reckless endangerment, and DUI. The trial court entered an order granting the petition, but the defendant appealed, and the trial court’s ruling was ultimately reversed. The State then petitioned the court of appeals for discretionary review. Continue reading

Criminal defendants in Washington have the right to a trial by jury. They do not have the right to pick the jurors, however. Rather, jurors are randomly selected from people living in the county where the crime occurred. The prosecution and the defense both can question jurors for potential bias, though, and can make peremptory challenges to strike certain jurors that they feel may not be able to render an impartial decision. Peremptory challenges cannot be used for unethical or unjust purposes, however, like racial discrimination. In a recent opinion issued in a DUI case, a Washington court discussed the grounds for evaluating whether a peremptory challenge to a juror was improper. If you are charged with a DUI crime, you should confer with a seasoned Washington DUI defense attorney as soon as possible to evaluate your rights.

The Defendant’s Arrest and Trial

It is reported that the defendant was arrested and charged with felony DUI, felony physical control while under the influence, and reckless driving. The case proceeded to trial, and during the voir dire of the jury, the State used peremptory challenges to three jurors. The defense objected to the use of the challenges, but two of the jurors were excused regardless. The defendant was found guilty of the physical control charge and sentenced to fifteen months in prison. He then appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in allowing the State to remove two jurors because the strikes constituted racial discrimination, in violation of Washington law.

Racial Discrimination in the Selection of Jurors

Under GR 37, a Washington Rule, racial discrimination in the process of selecting a jury is prohibited, regardless of whether it arises out of an implicit bias or is the result of purposeful discrimination. GR 37 was adopted by the Washington Supreme Court to address the unjust exclusion of potential jurors due to an unconscious bias. It allows a party to object to the use of a peremptory challenge on the grounds that it demonstrates improper bias, after which the objecting party must articulate its reasons, and the court must evaluate whether the challenge is justified based on the totality of the circumstances. Continue reading

Under Washington law, a DUI offense that would ordinarily be prosecuted as a misdemeanor may be graded as a felony under certain circumstances. For example, if a DUI defendant has numerous prior qualifying convictions, it could constitute grounds for charging a DUI offense as a felony. Recently, a Washington court set forth an opinion explaining how prior offenses are scored in a case in which the defendant appealed his felony DUI conviction. If you are charged with driving while intoxicated, you could face significant penalties, and it is in your best interest to meet with a trusted Washington DUI defense attorney to determine your possible defenses.

The History of the Case

The defendant was charged with a DUI offense. Following a jury trial, he was found guilty of felony DUI due to the fact that the trial court determined he had three qualifying offenses within the ten years prior to his conviction. The defendant stipulated to his offender score but later appealed, arguing that the trial court improperly included a misdemeanor crime when calculating his offender score, which resulted in an improper score. The court ultimately agreed and remanded the matter for resentencing.

Calculating an Offender Score Under Washington Law

Under Washington law, a DUI is considered a felony if the defendant has three or more qualifying offenses within the ten years preceding the offense. To determine an offender score for a felony DUI offense, the court will assign one point to each felony offense as an adult and one point to each serious traffic offense other than offenses used solely for enhancement purposes. Continue reading

People are protected by both the State and Federal Constitutions against unreasonable search and seizures. What this means, in part, is that the police cannot stop a driver absent a warrant or a reasonable suspicion that the person is engaging in criminal behavior. Thus, if the police stop a motorist without cause and the person is subsequently charged with a DUI offense, there may be grounds to suppress the evidence gathered during the stop. What constitutes sufficient grounds to effectuate a traffic stop was the topic of a recent Washington opinion in which the defendant sought a reversal of his DUI conviction. If you are accused of driving under the influence, it is advisable to consult a knowledgeable Washington DUI defense attorney to discuss your possible defenses.

The Defendant’s Arrest

Allegedly, a police officer was dispatched to investigate a hit and run accident involving a white SUV. When he arrived at the scene, he observed a sedan with significant damage to the driver’s side door parked on the shoulder of the highway. The driver of the sedan was lying unconscious on the side of the road, and a witness advised the officer that the white SUV struck the sedan and the driver and sped off.

It is reported that later that evening, a second officer observed the defendant driving a white SUV of the same make and model as the one involved in the accident and made a traffic stop. When he approached the vehicle, the officer observed that the defendant smelled of marijuana, his eyes were glazed over, and he was lethargic. The officer observed that the SUV had damage consistent with the earlier accident, and after questioning the defendant, arrested him for DUI. The defendant filed a motion to suppress the evidence obtained during the stop, but his motion was denied. He was convicted, after which he appealed. Continue reading

Although all DUI charges should be taken seriously, felony DUI charges can result in significant penalties, including jail time. Most DUIs are charged as misdemeanors, but they can be elevated to felonies in certain cases. Recently, the Supreme Court of Washington clarified the essential elements for escalating a DUI charge from a misdemeanor to a felony in a case in which the defendant appealed his felony DUI conviction. If you reside in Washington and are currently charged with a felony DUI, it is important to speak with a seasoned attorney to discuss your options for seeking a favorable outcome.

The Defendant’s Driving History and Charges

Reportedly, the State charged the defendant with numerous driving-related offenses, including felony DUI. The DUI was charged as a felony due to the fact that the defendant had four prior offenses, as defined by Washington law, within ten years of his current arrest. The court bifurcated the trial so that the jury heard evidence of the defendant’s conduct on the date he was arrested prior to hearing evidence of his prior acts. Thus, the jury convicted the defendant of misdemeanor DUI, after which evidence of the defendant’s prior offenses was introduced. Specifically, the prosecution advised the jury that the defendant had previously been convicted for DUI, negligent driving, and two counts of reckless driving. The reckless and negligent driving offenses were originally charged as DUIs.

It is alleged that after the prosecution rested, the defendant filed a motion to dismiss the felony DUI charge on the grounds that the prosecution failed to present adequate evidence that his convictions for reckless driving involved alcohol. The jury issued a verdict finding that the defendant had four prior offenses. The defendant was sentenced within the felony DUI range, after which he appealed, again arguing there was insufficient evidence that his prior reckless driving convictions involved alcohol. The court of appeals affirmed, after which the defendant petitioned the Supreme Court of Washington for review.

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When a person is arrested and charged with a DUI, it goes without saying that the person will not be able to drive his or her vehicle home. The issue of what the police are permitted to do with the vehicle following a defendant’s arrest, however, was recently presented to the Supreme Court of Washington. Specifically, the court addressed whether it was unconstitutional to impound a DUI suspect’s vehicle, in a case in which impoundment resulted in the discovery of evidence that led to additional charges for a DUI defendant. If you live in Washington and are faced with DUI charges, it is in your best interest to consult a capable Washington DUI defense attorney to discuss what you can do to protect your rights.

Facts Surrounding the Defendant’s Arrest

It is reported that the defendant was stopped by a police officer for exceeding the speed limit. When the officer spoke with the defendant, he smelled alcohol on the defendant’s breath. The officer requested that the defendant submit to a field sobriety test, but the defendant declined. As such, the officer arrested the defendant on suspicion of DUI and impounded the defendant’s vehicle pursuant to RCW 46.55.360.

Allegedly, the officer searched the vehicle after it was impounded, during which he found drug paraphernalia. The defendant was subsequently charged with DUI and possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute. The defendant then moved to suppress the evidence found during the search of his vehicle, arguing that the search was unlawful. The trial court granted the motion concluding that RCW 46.55.360 was unconstitutional. The State then submitted a motion for direct review by the Supreme Court of Washington.

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