Ryan Witt

Ryan Witt

Have you lost your license and you don’t know how to get it back? Click the following link and it will take you to a page hosted by DOL. This page will provide you personalized instructions for what you need to do to reinstate your driver’s license. You will need to create an account and then login and enter your information. Once you complete that, if will specify exactly what you need to do to get back your driver’s license.

Click Here to learn how to reinstate your license.  

At Witt Law Group, we aim to assist in getting people licensed and back on the road.  If you need more direction that this DOL site offers, please give our office a call. 

An Ignition Interlock Driver’s license allows a person who is Suspended in The Second Degree to drive their motor vehicle while they are serving the time of their license suspension. It will prevent a person from picking up another criminal charge for driving on a suspended license. Individuals who have been arrested or convicted of the crime of DUI often have many questions about the Ignition Interlock License, so this tab is hopefully a quick and useful resource to answer those questions. 

What is Suspended in the Second Degree?

It means that your privilege to drive has been suspended typically due to you being convicted of DUI, Physical Control, Reckless Driving, Vehicular Assault (involving drugs or alcohol) or Vehicular Homicide (involving drugs or alcohol). The great majority of suspensions in the second degree are the result of a DUI charge or conviction.

How to Apply For an Ignition Interlock License

There are only three steps, but many people accomplish the first two steps and neglect to finish the 3rd step. Finish all three steps or you can be arrested again, this time for driving on a suspended license, which is just as serious as the underlying DUI charge.

1. Install an ignition interlock device in the vehicle that you are going to be driving during your suspension. If you need a referral for an Ignition Interlock provider, call our office.

2. Call your auto insurance provider and have them add High Risk (or SR-22) to your policy. If they do not offer that kind of coverage, you will need to find a new auto insurance provider. If you need a referral for a new provider, call our office.

3. Go to any local DOL office and request the Restricted Driver’s License Application (linked below). The cost for the application is $100.


That’s it. They will print you a temporary paper Restricted Driver’s License and mail you the permanent one.

What if I Drive a Work Vehicle?

This requirement for an ignition interlock may be waived for most work vehicles if you:

1. Get your employer to sign an “Employer Declaration for Ignition Interlock Exemption.”

2. Send a copy of the signed declaration the Department of Licensing

3. Carry a copy of the declaration with you whenever you drive a work vehicle that isn't equipped with an interlock device.

You can not use this exemption if you have a CDL.

We hope this has added some clarity to the extremely confusing instructions regarding how and when to obtain the Restricted Driver’s License.

Please click below to access the Restricted Driver’s License Application 

January 05, 2019

Drug Court

Certain individuals with felony criminal cases in Kitsap County may be eligible to enter into a treatment-based court program named Drug Court. The purpose of the program is to offer non-traditional and individualized treatment for chemical dependency as an alternative to criminal prosecution. To qualify for Drug Court, the participant’s level of substance dependence must be such that treatment and education will substantially benefit both the participant and the community.

Drug Court Eligibility:

A. The prospective participant must live within Kitsap County for the duration of the program and have an active drug addiction and would benefit from substance abuse treatment. The addiction was a contributing factor to the commission of the crime that brings the prospective participant before the Court.

B. The prospective participant will be DENIED admission if any one of the following offenses is charged in the current case:

1. Any sex offense
2. Any serious or violent offense
3. Manufacture of Methamphetamine
4. Promoting Prostitution
5. Any offense including allegation of discharging of a weapon
6. Any offense resulting in death or great bodily harm
7. Domestic Violence offenses (but there are exceptions)
8. Delivery of a controlled substance to a minor
9. If the prospective participant is currently serving a DOSA or FOSA sentence
10. Prior Adult Drug Court or Veteran’s Court graduate (some exceptions apply)
11. Evidence of gang affiliation
12. Currently or very recently working with law enforcement as a confidential informant
13. Violent Traffic Offenses or Felony DUI
14. A restitution obligation that exceeds or will likely exceed $2,000.


C. The prospective participant will be DENIED admission if the have any of the following criminal histpry:

1. Any Sex offense
2. Any Class A or serious violent offense
3. Any violent offense within the last 10 years
4. Promoting Prostitution
5. Convictions with gang enhancements within the last 10 years
6. Four or more DV felony convictions or six or more gross misdemeanor or misdemeanor DV convictions within the last 10 years
7. Currently a registered sex offender

D. The prospective participant will be PRESUMPTIVELY DENIED if:

1. Current offense is a Residential Burglary where the victim was home
2. More than one prior conviction for Residential Burglary within the last 5 years.
3. Three or more DV offenses within the last 5 years (felony or misdemeanor)
4. The current offense involves allegations of or prior convictions for major economic offenses
5. Major drug crimes
6. Assault 3 on a Law Enforcement Officer

E. Other factors that may affect eligibility:

1. Significant criminal history, including juvenile history
2. The age of the criminal history
3. The victims wishes
4. History of compliance while the prospective participant was on other probation or supervision programs
5. How the prospective participant embraced other opportunities at recovery
6. Whether it is a major crime as determined by the Prosecutor’s Office
7. History of failures to appear, bench warrants etc
8. Prior Adult Drug Court participation
9. The presence of any aggravating circumstances
10. The presence of severe medical issues or mental disorder that would make it difficult for the participant to comply with the Drug Court rules and regulations

How Drug Court Works

If the prospective participant is accepted into the program, they must fully embrace the structure and team dynamic of the program. The program is typically a year but may be longer depending on the progress of the participant. Upon completion of the program, the Court will dismiss the pending criminal charges. A participant’s failure to adhere to the terms of the Drug Court Program will result in termination from the program and prosecution for the underlying offenses. At the outset of the program, the participant stipulates to facts sufficient for a determination of guilt, so upon termination from the program, the participant is convicted of the crime(s) and sentenced.

Cost

The Drug Court program costs $1,500. Payment for treatment services will be based on an ability to pay, availability of medical coupons and of private insurance.

Witt Law Group is a criminal defense and DUI defense law firm with offices in Bremeton and Gig Harbor Washington. Behavioral Health Court or any mental illness can be a difficult thing to talk about. Call our office for a private, discrete conversation with one of our attorneys to see if BHC is a good fit for you.

When an individual has been arrested for DUI, we often advise them to request a hearing to challenge the suspension of their license with the Washington State Department of Licensing.

Each case is different, as well as the strategy we will employ at your hearing. If you have a question about whether or not you should request a hearing, please call our office.

How To Request Online

To request a DOL hearing online, you will need to create an account through the Washington State Department Of Licensing's License eXpress page.

CLICK HERE to go to License eXpress.

How To Request Through The Mail

The Request Form from DOL was updated as of January 1, 2019. If the form that you were provided by law enforcement is from prior to January 1, 2019, do not use it. Attached below is the most up to date form.

 

•  Pro Tip - Do NOT request financial assistance. We have seen too many people timely request a fee waiver, and once they are declined, the DOL then indicates they are beyond 7 days. It's a trap!

Please click below to access the DOL Hearing Request Form.

People often call the office and ask about getting a “No Contact” Order against their obnoxious neighbor. While there is an order that can assist in this situation, it is not technically a No Contact Order. There are four types of orders, all different, and people incorrectly lump them all into No Contact Order. If you are going the Court to request an order, this article will assist you in deciding what type of order that you are asking for.

Order of Protection

This is a civil order for people who are a victim of domestic violence or are in fear of violence. It can be tailored to individual needs, but typically it functions to:

1.  Prohibit contact of any kind

2.  Remove the abuser from the shared residence

3.  Give temporary custody of children

4.  Order abuser into treatment

There is no cost and it can be granted by a district, municipal or superior court. If it is violated by the abuser there is mandatory arrest.

Restraining Order

This is a civil order for married persons or persons with a child in common who are filing for divorce, legal separation, custody or to determine parentage. To qualify, the person asking for the order does not need to have experienced assault or threats of violence. It also can be tailored to individual needs, but typically it functions to:


1.  Prohibit contact of any kind

2.  Remove the abuser from the shared residence

3.  Give temporary custody of children

4.  Order abuser into treatment

5.  Order child support

6.  Order maintenance income

7.  Assign property to the parties

8.  Establish permanent child custody or use of the family home

There is a filing fee of $110 and they are obtained in superior court as a part of a family law action. If it is violated, the violator may be arrested and possible criminal or contempt charges may follow.

Antiharassment Order

This is a civil order for persons who are seriously alarmed, annoyed, or harassed by conduct which serves no legitimate or lawful purpose. No relationship between the parties is necessary. This type of order functions to:

1.  Prohibit harassment or contact of any kind

2.  Restrain the individual from coming within a specific distance from the petitioner’s workplace, school or residence

These may be obtained in superior court ($110.00) or in district court ($41) but these costs may vary. If the order is violated, the violator may be arrested and possible contempt or criminal charges may follow.

No Contact Order

This is a criminal order that is put in place when a criminal case is pending, and will often be issued again at sentencing. No relationship between the parties is necessary. This type of order functions to:

1.  Prohibit contact of any kind while a case is pending, and also prohibit contact of any kind after sentencing.

To obtain such an order, a victim must report a crime to the police which in-turn begins criminal charges. The no contact order is issued along with the court’s conditions of release over a defendant.
These orders come from what ever court is prosecuting the underlying crime, it can be a district, municipal or superior court. If the order is violated, the defendant shall be arrested and the issuing court may also modify the defendant’s conditions of release. The orders have no cost.


Hopefully this analysis of each will help people understand the subtle differences between each order. If you have any questions about these orders, feel free to give our office a call. Witt Law Group is a Kitsap County based criminal defense and DUI defense law firm with offices / attorneys in Bremerton and Gig Harbor Washington.

In Washington State, the Criminal Rules for Courts of a Limited Jurisdiction allow for a defendant’s arraignment to be waived. What that means is – if you hire private counsel prior to your arraignment, your attorney can send to the Court and to the Prosecuting Attorney a document that enters a plea (of not guilty) in your absence. The Court processes that document and typically just strikes your matter from the arraignment calendar.

How Do I Avoid Going to My Arraignment?

CrRLJ 4.1(g) states that “[e]xcept as otherwise provided by statute or by local rule, a lawyer may enter an appearance or a plea of not guilty of behalf of the client for any offense.”
For most offenses, this works in District and Municipal Courts. However, the “except as otherwise provided by statute or local rule” language from above carves out exceptions to this general rule in every jurisdiction.


The crimes that are carved out of this general rule are DUI and physical control, crimes that involve domestic violence, and the crimes of Harassment, violation of anti-harassment orders and stalking. In other words, if the crime you are curious about is on this short list of 6 charges, then you MAY NOT waive your arraignment. For all other charges that are not on this list, you MAY waive your arraignment.

District and Municipal Court, Not Superior Court

This rule only applies to cases in District Court and Municipal Courts, not a Superior Court. In other words, the rule applies to misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors, not felonies. Typical charges where we routinely waive the arraignment are – theft, shoplifting, assault, malicious mischief, BUI, reckless driving, trespassing, hit and run, minor in possession, driving while license suspended and fish and wildlife violations.

You Must Have A Private Attorney

Since public defenders are only appointed at or after a person’s arraignment, a public defender can not waive your arraignment for you. If you have an arraignment in the near future, you must contact a private attorney and tell them that you would like to waive your arraignment.


Witt Law Group is a criminal defense and DUI defense law firm with offices in Bremerton, Poulsbo and Gig Harbor, Washington. If you have a questions about your upcoming arraignment or about waiving your arraignment, give our office a call.

For More Information About Waiving Your Arraignment, Watch Our Video, Below! 

December 12, 2018

Felony Diversion

Certain felony crimes in Kitsap County can be resolved through what is called Felony Diversion. In essence, Felony Diversion is a stipulated order of continuance where if the participant meets all of the negotiated and required conditions, the pending felony charge(s) against the participant will be dismissed.

Eligibility Criteria:

1. The participant must be charged in Kitsap County Superior Court with one or more felony level offenses.

2. The participant must have never participated in an equivalent diversion program in Washington or in any other state.

3. The participant should have relatively little or no misdemeanor / gross misdemeanor criminal history

4. The current offense must not be a “violent offense”, but those can be considered on a case by case basis by a supervisor in the prosecutor’s office.

5. If the crime charged resulted in damage, restitution should ideally be paid upfront. If not paid upfront, the participant must agree to pay the restitution amount in full during the term of the diversion program.

6. The victim should be supportive of the diversion program, but it is not required.

7. The participant must write a letter outlining why they believe they are a good candidate for felony diversion.

Typical Conditions:

1. The standard terms are to complete 48 hours of community service, pay an $850 program fee, have law abiding behavior, report monthly or quarterly compliance (if any form of treatment is required) and waive extradition.

2. The duration of the program is typically for one or two years.

3. If the prosecution believes that some treatable condition was a contributing factor in the criminal behavior, they will require the applicant to receive an evaluation. Based on the outcome of the assessment, treatment may be required. For example, if the prosecution believes that anger management or chemical dependency treatment is appropriate for the participant’s rehabilitation, then such programs are made a condition of the agreement.

The End Result:

Felony diversions end in the dismissal of a participant’s charges. This is typically a great result in exchange for the participant committing to the program and meeting all the requirements. Not everyone will qualify for this program, but it is almost always worthwhile to make the request.

Other Alternative Resolutions:

If you are curious about other ways to have a criminal charge reduced or dismissed without going to trial, click on the following links for an explanation of each:

Pretrial Diversion Agreement (not available for felony charges)

Compromise of Misdemeanor (not available for felony charges)

Behavioral Health Court

Veteran’s Court

Drug Court

We hope that this helps assist you in deciding what type of resolution you want to pursue in your case. Obviously not all of these options are available for each specific charge or fact pattern, so call our office to discuss the specifics of your case. Witt Law Group is a criminal defense and DUI defense law firm with offices in Bremerton and Gig Harbor Washington.

December 09, 2018

Hit and Run

In Washington, the crime of Hit and Run can be either a Simple Misdemeanor or a Gross Misdemeanor, depending on the way the crime is charged. The factor that determines if it is the more serious charge (Gross Misdemeanor) is whether the defendant hit an attended vehicle. A description of each charge is as follows:

Hit and Run – Attended Vehicle

This is the more serious of the two misdemeanor level charges. It is a Gross Misdemeanor, meaning that you can potentially be sentenced up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine. A conviction to this offense also leads to a one year license suspension from the Department of Licensing.

The Elements

1. The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to a vehicle which is driven or attended by any person [shall immediately move the vehicle to the nearest suitable location] and remain at this location until the driver has provided his or her name, address, insurance company, insurance policy number and vehicle license number and exhibit his or her driver’s license number.

2. Any driver … failing to stop or to comply with any of the requirements listed above shall be guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

In simple terms, if an individual strikes another vehicle that is occupied, they must immediately stop and exchange all relevant contact and insurance information. This is true even if you are not at fault!

Other Collateral Consequences of “Attended”

As mentioned above, a conviction will result in a one year loss of license. While the person is serving the term of their loss of license, they will be allowed to obtain an Occupational or Restricted License. In addition, for individuals with a CDL, there will most likely be a consequence to their privilege to operate a commercial vehicle. There are ways to resolve a Hit and Run Attended without all of these negative consequences, but that will be outlined after the section on Hit and Run Unattended, because these more favorable ways to resolve a case often apply to both Attended and Unattended.

Hit and Run – Unattended Vehicle or Other Property

This is the lesser of the two offenses. It is a Simple Misdemeanor, meaning that you can potentially be sentenced up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

The Elements

(1) The operator of any vehicle which collided with any other vehicle which is unattended shall immediately stop and shall then and there either locate and notify the operator of owner of such vehicle [providing the owner of the struck vehicle your name and address]

(2) The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to property … adjacent to a public highway shall take reasonable steps to locate and notify the owner … of such fact and of the name and address of the operator and owner of the vehicle striking such property, or shall leave in a conspicuous place upon the property struck a written notice [providing the owner your name and address…

In simple terms, a person who collides with an unattended vehicle, or property that is adjacent to the roadway must stop and either locate the owner of such property or leave in a conspicuous place a note providing all of your relevant information.

Other Collateral Consequences of “Unattended”

Unlike Hit and Run Attended, Unattended DOES NOT result in a suspension or revocation of a person’s drivers license. However, a conviction of this charge will most likely increase your insurance rates. Lastly, for the driver with a CDL, an Unattended will most likely result in a CDL disqualification, just as it does for an Attended. 

Hit and Run – Ways to Resolve

For both Hit and Run – Attended and Hit and Run – Unattended, many of the potential resolutions of the charges are the same. The attorneys at Witt Law Group are always looking to avoid a conviction when resolving a case, thus avoiding all the negative consequences that were discussed above.

Common ways that we avoid convictions for our clients are through two different instruments, 1. a Pre-Trial Diversion Agreement (or PDA), or 2. a Compromise of Misdemeanor. Typically, both will achieve the end result of dismissal of the charge.

Our website offers an in-depth analysis of both the PDA and the Compromise of Misdemeanor. To learn more about each, click the following links:

Pre-Trial Diversion Agreement

Compromise of Misdemeanor

Drivers who receive these charges often think this charge is going to be the end of the world. That is not the case. Our attorneys have been handling these cases for nearly two decades and the results are often surprisingly positive. Witt Law Group is a Hit and Run defense law firm with locations in Bremerton and Gig Harbor Washington. Please reach out if you have been charged or have any question about this topic.

If you were involved in an accident in the middle of the night (attended or unattended), give our office a call immediately. There may be action that you can take to avoid the crime entirely or create an absolute defense if the crime is later charged.

If your Hit and Run is charged as a Felony, the above analysis does not apply. Call our office to discuss the specifics.

To Learn More, Watch Our Hit And Run Video, Below 

Victims Panels

Bremerton: http://duivictimspanel.com

Kitsap County: https://www.duiimpactpanel.com

Port Orchard/South Series (no website)

Marilyn Clapper
PO Box 1971
Gig Harbor, WA 98335
Email:
Phone: 360-731-2077 or 253-884-0715

If you need to locate a panel in a different location than listed above, you can find the list approved by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission HERE.

Defensive Driving Classes

iDrive Safely: https://www.idrivesafely.com 

National Traffic Safety Institute: https://ntsi.com/washington/ 

* Select the 8 hour / level 2 class unless instructed otherwise

Tickets, or speeding tickets are handed out like candy.  If you have recently received a ticket (also known as an infraction), you have a limited amount of time to decide what you can do. There is a 15 day window in which to respond. If you hire Witt Law Group to represent you on the infraction, we will file a Notice of Appearance and handle the response for you. However, it is very critical that you pay close attention to the 15 day time limit. The time limit applies regardless of whether you are represented by counsel or handle it yourself.

 

"Ryan has come through for me more times than I care to admit and thanks to him (certainly no

thanks to me) my driving record is as spotless as the day I got my license!"— A.G

 

What are the impacts of a ticket?

Should you choose to defend your own ticket, one of the impacts is time away from work. Typically, an infraction calendar can mean that you sit in a courtroom for hours before it’s your turn. It is not unusual to miss most or all of a work day. If it is unpaid leave, you are missing out on that income as well as potentially paying the ticket.

If you contest the ticket and are found “committed” (meaning the court finds you guilty of the cited offense), you will have to pay the full amount of the fine. If you do not contest the ticket but ask the court to reduce the amount of the fine (mitigate), you will pay less but do not get a chance to defend yourself—you’re agreeing that you committed the offense. In either case, the ticket will appear on your history and it is very likely that your insurance rates will go up.

If you have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), the tickets have a much greater impact and you can lose your license. For teens, an infraction will count as a “warning” and, after two warnings, your license is suspended.

Finally, be aware that your ticket may also lead to further serious consequences such as license suspension as a Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO). Additionally, If you were cited for leaving the scene of an accident, it is possible that the initial ticket is an infraction but, if a person was later found to be injured at the scene, that can become a criminal charge. Furthermore, if you were arrested for DUI (alcohol or marijuana-related) and also cited for an infraction, it is important for your attorney to review both of those cases. Occasionally, the infraction citation is used a pretextual stop for your DUI and greatly impacts the evidence collected on your DUI stop. Your criminal defense attorney will certainly want to analyze the infraction ticket in conjunction with the discovery on your criminal charge.

How can an attorney make any difference?

Often people want to contest their ticket but they don’t understand how to present their side of the case. Furthermore, they don’t know how to seek discovery, subpoena the officer, or properly cross examine the officer. It becomes overwhelming and extremely time-consuming. And, in most cases, non-attorneys focus on the wrong aspects of the case. It isn’t really about what the officer or you think about the ticket, it’s whether the State can prove you violated the relevant statute. There are many facets to analyzing the strength of the State’s case and most non-attorneys would have no reason to know how to do that. It really just comes down to experience.

As prosecutors and defense counsel, our attorneys have handled thousands of infractions. We certainly have experience on our side. When you hire an attorney at Witt Law Group, all of the stress and guess work disappears. In fact, in most cases, you only need to make a single phone call to our office and everything else is taken care of. No time off of work. No worries about discovery. No worries about your defense.

Whether it’s speeding, operating a motor vehicle without insurance, no tabs, improper lane usage, speeding too fast for conditions, negligent driving in the second degree, failure to abide by a traffic control signal, equipment violations (no mud flaps, broken taillights), skateboarding, defective exhaust, tinted windows, violation of restricted license, no seat belt, noise violation (speakers too loud), talking on a cell phone or use of an electronic device, littering, or failure to secure load—we handle them all!

If you would like further information about how a defense attorney can help you with your ticket, attorney Ryan Witt has a video with further explanation.

When a person hires us to handle their infraction, we want them to be familiar with our "infraction protocol."  It will help you understand what we do and what to expect in the following weeks and months. 

CLICK HERE FOR OUR INFRACTION PROTOCOL  

We look forward to assisting you with you infraction!  Witt Law Group is a personal injury and criminal defense law firm with offices in Bremerton and Gig Harbor, Washington.