Ryan Witt

Ryan Witt

In the State of Washington, the DUI statute has multiple prongs and one of the prongs is “affected by”—meaning the cop decides if you’re affected by alcohol or drugs. You do not need to have a predetermined amount of alcohol in your blood such as .08 to be arrested and criminally charged. In fact, every month, we have cases charged in Kitsap District, Bremerton Municipal, Port Orchard Municipal, and Poulsbo Municipal courts that are below the .08 standard. 

There Is No Automatic Dismissal!

 

Do not plan to show up to court and anticipate your case is “getting thrown out” once you point out a blow below .08 during your arraignment. It will not happen. These cases make money for the county and cities. Additionally, if an officer wrote in your reports that you were “affected by” a substance, that is sufficient for a judge or prosecutor. Unless you have video that establishes that the officer is lying and proves you were driving perfectly, the judge is going to find probable cause and you will be arraigned. Additionally, there may be further restrictions on your driving due to this reason. 

Do Not Ignore Filing Your DOL Hearing Request!

 

Because people often get legal advice from friends who support non-legal theories for dismissal, the accused will, to their peril, wait to file the DOL hearing request. If summonsed, the defendant goes to court for arraignment well beyond the 7 day hearing limit and discovers they are facing a DUI criminal charge and now will have their license suspended regardless of whether they prevail on the criminal case. That is a bad situation to be in because, if you do not ignore the reality of low blow DUI arrests and had filed the DOL hearing request, your attorney could have successfully fought the DOL suspension due to a lack of jurisdiction on the low blow. In fact, most officers know they are not supposed to file the report with DOL on a DUI arrest below .08 but some officers still do it. Once that paperwork is filed, you must request the hearing if you want to avoid the suspension. 

Caution

 

This information is an over-simplified explanation of these challenges. Do not use this as legal advice. To know what your risks and challenges are with an arrest below .08, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney in your area. It will make all the difference in your result. Do not take advice from non-lawyers or lawyers who do not practice law in your area.

During the pandemic, what has risen at a rate as sharply as the virus? - Occurrences of domestic violence.

The conditions that people have been required to endure (unexpected time at home, unemployment and financial insecurity, anxiety, and stress) are all known to aggravate domestic violence.

In a recent study from UC Davis, the researcher said “The pandemic, like other kinds of disasters, exacerbates the social and livelihood stresses and circumstances that we know lead to intimate partner violence” and further the “increased social isolation during COVID-19 has created an environment where victims and aggressors in a relationship, cannot easily separate themselves from each other. The extra stress also can cause mental health issues, increasing individuals perceived stress and reactions to stress through violence and other means.”

Is the uptick in acts of violence attributed to domestic abusers who were “predisposed” to be abusive or could the uptick in assaults be attributed to, otherwise peaceful people, being placed under stress from the COVID-19 pressures?

 

Additional data from the UC Davis study “[does] not suggest causality and there is no way to determine if intimate partner violence was present in those relationships prior to the pandemic. What the data does suggest, however, is that experiencing such violence is related to reporting more exposure to stress.” Researchers found that “as people find themselves in a more tenuous financial situation due to COVID-19, there are more things to worry about and subsequently argue about” which leads to an occasion for intimate partner violence.

One study by two economists at BYU, published in the journal of Public Economics, found disturbing trends. They sampled 14 large cities across the United States. To note, “the data suggested that the pandemic has produced many new offenders; reports coming from city blocks with no previous record of domestic violence were the main drivers of the increase.”

What we see on the ground level

 

Many people who have been married peacefully for decades have succumbed to the stress inflicted by the COVID lockdowns. People are irritated with each other as there have been no viable outlets. Otherwise good people now are facing Assault charges. People who have no history, or violent tendencies, are now wrapped up in the criminal justice system. 911 calls are often made out of frustration and exhaustion rather than violence or danger. Many people who make the call recognize, after the fact, that it was a mistake. 

Is your family impacted?

 

If you find yourself facing a criminal charge involving partner or family violence, give our office a call. Our experienced attorneys have helped many people throughout the past 18 months walk through this very delicate and embarrassing situation. The lockdowns and stressors have created many challenges for our community, including terrible conflicts for families. We are here to help.

If an individual is sentenced to jail in Kitsap County, the Court will direct them to the Kitsap County Jail. There is no formal information provided to these individuals, so this page is provided as a tool to help make entry into the jail less confusing. 

What You Need To Know

Here is the information that we have collected over the years that will make this difficult process slightly easier:

1. Bring your "Commitment." That is the document provided by the court that tells the jail what your sentence is. Think of it as your admission ticket. 

2. Bring State issues photo ID, such as a driver's license. 

3. Bring what ever prescriptions that will be needed for the duration of your sentence. 

4. Bring cash. The cash that you bring will be put in trust, and it can be used to purchase things at the commissary. You can't put money on your books in advance, that is why it is important to bring case on they day you check in.  If you have cash left over, it will be provided back to you in the form of a check. 

What Not To Do

1. Do not bring anything with you, other than what is listed above. Books are provided once inside. 

2. Do not show up intoxicated on any substance. 

3. Do not park near the jail. There is no long term parking and this will lead to your car being towed. 

How To Get There

The jail is located at 614 Division Street, Port Orchard WA 98366. 

While the address is on Division Street, you actually access the Jail from Cline Avenue. Here is a photo from Cline Ave. 

 

Jail check in 1

Walk diagonally through this parking lot which is located on Cline Ave. Head toward this entry to the jail:

Jail check in 2

Hours of Operation

The jail will only accept a person during certain hours. They accept people Monday through Friday, from 8:00 AM to 3:45 PM. If you arrive outside of those hours, they will most likely turn you away. Being turned away could be a terrible event if you are turning yourself in on the last day allowable. 

Rights At Your Arraignment

 

If you have been charged with a crime by any governmental authority, you have the following rights at your arraignment:


1. You are presumed innocent of any charge unless the charge is proven beyond a reasonable doubt.


2. You have the right to a speedy trial. If you are held in jail before trial you must be brought to trial within 60 days after the date of your arraignment. If you are not in jail or if you are released from jail before trial, you must be brought to trial within 90 days after the date of your arraignment. If you are released from jail before trial you must be brought to trial within 90 days after the date of your arraignment.


3. You have a constitutional right to a jury trial unless you specifically give up that right by signing a jury trial waiver.


4. You have the right to see, hear and question all witnesses who testify against you.


5. You have the right to call witnesses on your behalf. You may have the Court subpoena witnesses to appear and testify at no prior expense to you.


6. You have the right to testify on your own behalf. You also have the right to remain silent and not give testimony or present any evidence in your defense. Your silence cannot be used against you.


7. You have the right to be represented by an attorney of your own choosing at arraignment and at all hearings. If after you are screened, it is determined that you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you. If you do not have an attorney at arraignment, you do not waive your right to an attorney at any later hearing.


8. If you feel you cannot have a fair trial because of the bias or prejudice of a particular judge, you have the right to ask for a different judge within 10 days of actual notice of assignment to that judge. You are entitled to only one change of judge.


9. If you plead guilty, you give up or waive all of the rights listed above except the right of representation by an attorney.


10. You have the right to appeal any judgment entered by this Court. To begin the appeal you must file a written Notice of Appeal in this Court within 30 days of the judgment.


11. If you are not a United States citizen, a guilty finding to an offense punishable as a crime under state law may be grounds for deportation, exclusion from admission to the United States, or denial of naturalization pursuant to the laws of the United States.


12. If you are not a United States citizen, you have the right to speak to someone from the Consulate of the nation where you are a citizen before being arraigned on any criminal offense.


13. If you are not a United States citizen, and are being held in jail, you have the right to request the prosecuting attorney notify the Consulate from the nation where you are a citizen that you are in jail.

Don't assume you can handle a criminal case on your own

 

Don’t go to Court alone and unprepared. While you may have all these magnificent rights, you need an attorney on your side that knows how to use them. Give our office a call.

Do you have more question about what happens at your arraignment? If yes, click on the box below.

 

What Happens Before And During An Arraignment?

Struggling To Determine What To Do After You Were Arrested Or Received A Summons?

 

All counties have different local rules and procedures. It is important to understand, particularly in the age of zoom court, whether you know what to expect at your first or next hearing.

Some counties are doing administrative bookings (arrest you, finger print, and release on PR) and not holding people in jail depending on the nature of the criminal charge. If this happens to you, it is important that you determine two things:

 

1.  The date of your next court appearance. The date may be provided to you at the time of your booking or it may be mailed to you in the forms of a Summons. If the court and/or Department of Licensing does not have an accurate mailing address for you, it is likely that you will miss this court date and have a warrant issued for your arrest. If you are without a mailing address, you need to check regularly with the Clerk of Court and/or Washington State Court website to determine when you are required to make your next appearance. Be aware that not all hearings are included on the Washington State Courts website.

 

2.  Do you have a Department of Licensing hearing to request? Many criminal charges will trigger an administrative licensing suspension. You have 7 days to request a DOL hearing if you have been charged with DUI or certain other criminal driving offenses. Even if your court date has not been set or it has been set for many months in the future, your DOL timelines is triggered as soon as you are arrested. You have no recourse if you miss this timeline and you may become suspended regardless of whether you have even had your first criminal hearing.

 

Different Counties, Different Procedures

 

Also, be aware that certain counties, such as Thurston County, there are very different protocols than in the neighboring county of Pierce. You may not have a Summons mailed to you and it may be up to you or your attorney to reach out to the Prosecutor to get your matter placed on the criminal calendar. If you cannot reach your public defender, it is up to you to determine your status. In the end, you are the person subject to penalties such as a warrant.

 

Unable to Reach Your Attorney?

 

If you have been unable to reach your public defender or are struggling to resolve your criminal case, Witt Law Group offers free consultations to determine if we can assist with your matter. We handle criminal defense cases in Kitsap County, Pierce County, and Thurston County. We also handle cases in the local municipalities such as Gig Harbor, Tacoma, Port Orchard, Poulsbo, Silverdale and Bremerton. We have helped thousands of clients with DUI, Assault, and many other criminal charges. Do not do it on your own. Call or text today. 360-792-1000.

Assault charges are very serious criminal cases. An assault arrest, even prior to a conviction, can have earth-shattering consequences. Job prospects, security clearances, a level playing field in family law matters - these are all relevant concerns. Even though a person is presumed innocent, it doesn't feel that way once the State has brought charges against you.

 

Arrested for Assault?

 

One of the biggest challenges is fighting the No Contact Order once a person is arrested for Assault 4 with the tag of domestic violence. The cost to the person accused, as well as the entire family, can be overwhelming. If you are arrested for assault against a family member, friend, or roommate, you will be required to stay away from the victim—even if the victim lives in your home or apartment. The prosecutor and judge do not care whether you have no other place to stay. Any attempt to return to the home or have contact with the victim will likely result in an additional criminal charge. Additionally, the collateral consequences of a No Contact Order are huge. Once a NCO is entered, there is an automatic firearms prohibition, which is highly relevant to members of the military. 

 

Did the alleged a Assault involve a family member?

 

Often, assault charges that involve family members are misunderstandings. Arguments might get out of hand and someone throws something, slaps another, or shoves a family member. All of those behaviors can be considered assault. Once the police arrive, if an assault has occurred, law enforcement must arrest the alleged perpetrator.

 

Obtain counsel early in the process 

 

Washington law requires a mandatory arrest in most domestic situations where an assault or threat of assault has taken place. At the same time, a No Contact Order will be put in place and the alleged person is not allowed to return to the home or location where the victim lives. However, in rare circumstances, this can be avoided if you have legal counsel involved early in the process. It is unusual but you should always contact an experienced criminal defense as soon as law enforcement is involved and, ideally, before the arrest has been made.

 

For more information regarding Assault charges, click below. 

 

More Information On Assault

THIS LINK IS ONLY FOR CLIENTS OF WITT LAW GROUP

 In the age of "stay home" orders and Court closures, many Courts are moving towards technology like Zoom. Port Orchard Municipal Court is one to utilize this technology. This post is designed to allow you an easy way to enter a Port Orchard Municipal Court Zoom Hearing.

 

How To Enter The Court Hearing
 

Click the following button for admission to the hearing. You will need to know the password, which is provided directly above the link. Unless you have already downloaded Zoom, you will need to download it when prompted. You may have to wait in a virtual waiting room until court begins. 

 

Password: 216216
 

CLICK HERE
 

We suggest entering the meetings about 5 minutes early so any issues can be resolved. We look forward to seeing you in our upcoming Port Orchard Municipal Zoom hearing!

In DUI cases, the Court will often impose an Ignition Interlock requirement as a pretrial condition of release. In some situations, the imposition of that condition is discretionary, in other situations, the imposition is mandatory. This page addresses the situations in which it is mandatory.  

Mandatory Requirement For Installation / Use Of An Ignition Interlock Device

 

If an individual has a prior DUI conviction from any state (assuming the laws are comparable), the Court must order that the defendant install an ignition interlock effectively immediately. So the only way to be truly prepared for your arraignment is to have read and reviewed this form in advance.  Be advised that the Court doesn't allow for a window to time to drive home. Effectively immediately is truly effectively immediately.  

Form - Declaration To Not Operate Any Motor Vehicle Without Ignition Interlock

 

If a person falls into this scenario (where the IID will be required at arraignment) it is our preference to go through this document prior to the arraignment. To access the document, please press CLICK HERE, immediately below. 

 

CLICK HERE

 

 If you have any questions about the form, please call our office at (360) 792-1000. 

 

 

 

The "Statute of Limitations" is a safeguard that prevents the State or any prosecuting authority from charging a criminal case outside of a certain period of time. The Statute of Limitations precludes the State from bringing charges against an individual outside a time period that the legislature has deemed to be appropriate. 

Statute of Limitations in WA for a DUI is two years

 

RCW 9A.04.080 (1) Prosecutions for criminal offenses shall not be commenced after the periods prescribed in this section.

(j) No gross misdemeanor may be prosecuted more than two years after its commission. 

A DUI is a gross misdemeanor, therefore the Statute of Limitations is two years. The case can not be filed more than two years after it is alleged to have occurred. 

Can my DUI be dismissed if outside the Statute of Limitations?

 

Absolutely! We always check on the Statute of Limitations when we review a DUI case. This is especially important when a blood sample was taken and the Washington State Crime Lab is involved. We have seen the Lab take up to 14 months to return a result to the law enforcement agency. So many cases actually are charged right up to the Statute of limitations, and some over. If the case if charged beyond two years, case dismissed! 

If you have a statute of limitations question about a DUI, or any Washington criminal case, please give our office a call. We have have offices in Bremerton, Poulsbo and Gig Harbor for your convenience.

 

For More Information About DUI Statute Of Limitations, Watch Our Video Below  

 

The Kitsap County Prosecuting Attorney in many cases asks the Court to ORDER a defendant be "administratively booked." In response to the Prosecution's request, the Judges always order it. So what is administrative booking? 

Administrative Booking Defined

 

Administrative booking in Kitsap County is the process of formally entering a person into a vast database. This allows their arrest and / or charge to be viewed by other courts, law enforcement agencies, etc. The Prosecution believes this to be highly important in DUI cases, and views the administrative booking as the most viable way to make the DUI history known to other law enforcement entities. In essence, they verify your personal information, photograph you and fingerprint you. 

The Steps Required

 

•  The Court must order the person to be administratively booked. If the Jail doesn't see a Court Order requiring booking, they won't do it. So you must bring a copy of the court order or your conditions of release including that condition.

•  Bring a photo ID. Without photo identification, the jail won't book you. 

•  Go to: 614 Division Street, Port Orchard Washington 98366 during business hours. 

Is There A Way To Dodge Booking?

 

Often times, no. This can be an issue if you are out of state and attempting to resolve your pending case. In the new era of Covid, nearly all court functions can be accomplished over ZOOM. Do you really want to fly back to Washington only to be administratively booked? It can be a massive inconvenience for people in this situation. There are ways to work around this requirement, but each case is different. For example, maybe the jail in your local county will do a "courtesy" booking for the Kitsap case. We have spoken with many jails in Washington and elsewhere. Some say yes, some say no.