Displaying items by tag: DUI

December 22, 2019

Designated Drivers Beware

 

Are you planning to attend holiday parties as the designated driver? Good for you! Just remember that there is some risk in taking on that role if you also use marijuana.

 

Many recreational users of marijuana don’t understand that THC levels remain high enough to be cited for DUI days after their last use. The levels of THC will certainly depend on how often you use, how active you are, how long you have regularly used marijuana as well as other physiological factors. However, it is very important that you understand there is always a risk for prosecution. Even smoking the day before you are pulled over can pose a risk of being charged with a crime—we have seen it.

 

Additionally, don’t think that “just one drink” will keep you free from prosecution. We have represented people arrested by law enforcement for DUI with blows as low as .03 and the State did not drop the DUI charge. This year alone, we have represented more than a dozen clients charged with DUI with blood alcohol at or below .06 under the “affected by” prong of the statute. The State prosecutes these charges just as aggressively as an .08 or above. While the DOL jurisdiction for suspending your license occurs when you blow an .08 or above, the prosecuting attorney will still seek criminal remedies that impact your driving and cost you in terms of fines, restitution, emergency response restitution to the law enforcement agency, and legal fees.

 

The moral of the story—if you use marijuana, you should consider using Uber for your designated driver. Also, the “one drink” plan is not a risk-free plan. The safest plan in terms of avoiding a criminal charge and getting home safely is to stay off the road if you use any marijuana or plan to indulge in alcoholic beverages.

 

Have a safe and crime-free holiday season! We want the Christmas tree to be the only twinkling lights you see.

 

If an issue does arise, do not hesitate to contact our office. While we handle auto accidents all over the State of Washington, we primarily handle criminal matters in Kitsap County and Pierce County as well as all cities in between. We have office in Bremerton, Poulsbo, and Gig Harbor for your convenience and offer free consultations. Over the holidays, we will have the office phone forwarded to our cell phones so do not delay in seeking legal advice if you or a friend need help.

Published in Witt Law Group Blog
November 19, 2019

DUI and Corpus Delicti

In Latin, Corpus Delicti means “body of the crime.” It is a procedural safeguard that we have in our legal system that basically means that a person may not be convicted of a crime unless it is first proven that a crime has actually occurred. In other words, the State needs to demonstrate that something bad happened as a result of a violation of the law, and that the defendant was the one who violated it. There are two elements of Corpus Delicti in every offense: (1) a wrong has occurred, and (2) the wrong is the result of a specific person’s criminal act.

Historical Context

“Body of the crime,” as one can imagine, has to do with a murder charge. The idea is that, without a body, there is no proof that a crime has been committed. People can suspect that a murder was committed, but without a body, it is difficult to prove element 1 above – that a wrong has occurred. How does the State prove that the missing person is not just on an unannounced vacation to the Bahamas?

What About a Confession?

The Corpus rule receives the most discussion and debate when a person confesses to a crime that has been committed. A person’s confession as to the commission of a crime is not sufficient evidence to convict a person of a crime unless there is independent evidence that the crime being investigated was committed by the confessing individual.

The Corpus Delicti Rule is a Safeguard

The rule is meant to prevent the prosecution of mentally unstable people who admit to crimes for attention or notoriety. And it is also in place to reduce the use of interrogation tactics that tend to strong-arm confessions.

Do you remember the convicted pedophile who confessed to the 1996 murder of child JonBenet Ramsey? The Boulder Police Department did not find his DNA matched and it appears the confession was not perceived as trustworthy. This does not mean other law enforcement agencies would do the same thing or put so much emphasis on DNA. It is possible that a Prosecutor would try to charge the person based solely on the confession. While it seems far-fetched that people confess to crimes they did not commit, it does happen. The Corpus Delicti rule is one safeguard in protecting the veracity of the criminal justice process and keeping truly innocent (and perhaps mentally ill) people from being convicted for a crime they did not commit while allowing the actual perpetrator to go free.

What Does This Mean For A DUI Charge?

Assume two or more people are driving in a car. For one reason or another, the driver accidentally drives into a ditch. A passer-by sees the accident, and calls 911. At the same time, all of the occupants get out of the car and walk up to the road. When the police arrive, no one is left in the car. The policeman asks, “who was driving the car?” – to which Joe Suspect raises his hand and says he was the driver. Mr. Suspect is arrested. Throughout the investigation it is determined that he was under the influence of alcohol. Mr. Suspect is then prosecuted for DUI.

So How Does The Corpus Rule Work?

Continuing on with the same example from above, Ms. Defense Attorney realizes that Mr. Suspect is being prosecuted based solely on his confession. There is no independent evidence that Mr. Suspect was the driver of the car. There were multiple people in the car, and it could have been any one of them. Ms. Defense Attorney files a Corpus Motion and the case is dismissed.

What Officers Can, But Often Forget, To Do

In more cases than not, law enforcement officers stop investigating who the driver was once they obtain a confession. What officers can, but neglect to do, is: (1) check who is the registered owner of the car, (2) check who’s pockets the keys are in, (3) check for seat belt marks on people’s shoulders (this can indicate who was the passenger versus who was the driver), (4) check the seat position of the driver (is the person confessing very tall, yet the driver’s seat is adjusted for a short person?) and (5) ask other individuals who were witness to the accident to corroborate the events.

These small efforts can shut down a Corpus defense, but law enforcement typically does not make this final investigative effort. They believe once there is a confession, the case is closed. That is incorrect and law enforcement’s lack of diligence can be used to great advantage by a suspect accused of DUI.

This is a complicated area and you will need an experienced DUI attorney to help you. If you are accused of DUI or any other criminal offense, do not hesitate to give our office a call. We have offices in Gig Harbor, Bremerton and Poulsbo for your convenience. If you found this blog interesting, CLICK HERE to read more on similar topics. 

Published in Witt Law Group Blog

If you are facing a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Physical Control charge in the State of Washington, you may be eligible to enter a rigorous but rewarding treatment plan commonly known as a Deferred Prosecution. A successful Deferred Prosecution ends with the current charge(s) being dismissed, but not everyone is eligible to enter a Deferred Prosecution. The three major factors that determine whether or not a person may be allowed into a Deferred Prosecution are (1) you can not have done a previous Deferred Prosecution, (2) you have to believe that, without such treatment, you have a high likelihood to reoffend, and (3) you must be diagnosed as alcohol or drug dependent.

Benefits of a Deferred Prosecution


•The case is dismissed.


•There is no jail time.


•More often than not, even initially reluctant people at the end of the Deferred Prosecution report that is was a very positive experience.

Downside to a Deferred Prosecution

• You are only eligible to enter the program once in your life. If you mess it up, even at the beginning, that was your only shot.


•You are waiving substantial rights upon entry of a Deferred. If you fail, it is much easier for the State (or City) to convict you. If the Court deems that you are out of compliance, the Judge simply reads the Officer’s narrative of the events – no trial is held.


•In entering a Deferred, you have created a legal record that you are alcohol and/or drug dependent.


•The entrant bears the cost of the Deferred Prosecution program (some insurance companies will pay for the treatment).


•Even if successful, the Deferred Prosecution will be counted as a “prior offense” if an individual gets charged with a subsequent DUI.


•The entrant will only be allowed to drive a motor vehicle with a functioning Ignition Interlock device.

RCW 10.05.010 Eligibility


(1) In a court of limited jurisdiction a person charged with a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor may petition the court to be considered for a deferred prosecution program. The petition shall be filed with the court at least seven days before the date set for trial but, upon a written motion and affidavit establishing good cause for the delay and failure to comply with this section, the court may waive this requirement subject to the defendant's reimbursement to the court of the witness fees and expenses due for subpoenaed witnesses who have appeared on the date set for trial.


(2) A person charged with a traffic infraction, misdemeanor, or gross misdemeanor under Title 46 RCW shall not be eligible for a deferred prosecution program unless the court makes specific findings pursuant to RCW 10.05.020 or section 18 of this act. Such person shall not be eligible for a deferred prosecution program more than once; and cannot receive a deferred prosecution under both RCW 10.05.020 and section 18 of this act. Separate offenses committed more than seven days apart may not be consolidated in a single program.


(3) A person charged with a misdemeanor or a gross misdemeanor under chapter 9A.42 RCW shall not be eligible for a deferred prosecution program unless the court makes specific findings pursuant to RCW 10.05.020 Such person shall not be eligible for a deferred prosecution program more than once.

RCW 10.05.140 Conditions of Granting


As a condition of granting a deferred prosecution petition, the court shall order that the petitioner shall not operate a motor vehicle upon the public highways without a valid operator's license and proof of liability insurance. The amount of liability insurance shall be established by the court at not less than that established by RCW 46.29.490. As a condition of granting a deferred prosecution petition on any alcohol-dependency based case, the court shall also order the installation of an ignition interlock. To help ensure continued sobriety and reduce the likelihood of reoffense, the court may order reasonable conditions during the period of the deferred prosecution including, but not limited to, attendance at self-help recovery support groups for alcoholism or drugs, complete abstinence from alcohol and all nonprescribed mind-altering drugs, periodic urinalysis or breath analysis, and maintaining law-abiding behavior. The court may terminate the deferred prosecution program upon violation of the deferred prosecution order.

RCW 10.05.150 Program requirements (Per Statute)

 A deferred prosecution program for alcoholism shall be for a two-year period and shall include, but not be limited to, the following requirements:


(1) Total abstinence from alcohol and all other nonprescribed mind-altering drugs;


(2) Participation in an intensive inpatient or intensive outpatient program in a state-approved substance use disorder treatment program;


(3) Participation in a minimum of two meetings per week of an alcoholism self-help recovery support group, as determined by the assessing agency, for the duration of the treatment program;


(4) Participation in an alcoholism self-help recovery support group, as determined by the assessing agency, from the date of court approval of the plan to entry into intensive treatment;


(5) Not less than weekly approved outpatient counseling, group or individual, for a minimum of six months following the intensive phase of treatment;


(6) Not less than monthly outpatient contact, group or individual, for the remainder of the two-year deferred prosecution period;


(7) The decision to include the use of prescribed drugs, including disulfiram, as a condition of treatment shall be reserved to the treating facility and the petitioner's physician;


(8) All treatment within the purview of this section shall occur within or be approved by a state-approved substance use disorder treatment program;


(9) Signature of the petitioner agreeing to the terms and conditions of the treatment program.

Program Requirements (Per Treatment Providers)


The Washington State Treatment providers have a more succinct way of explaining the requirements. They break the two year period into three phases:


• Phase 1: Intensive outpatient treatment consisting of a minimum of seventy-two hours of treatment in a maximum of twelve weeks.


• Phase 2: Not less than weekly outpatient counseling, group or individual, for a minimum of six months following the intensive phase of treatment.


• Phase 3: Not less than monthly outpatient contact, group or individual, for the remainder of the two-year deferred prosecution period.


Once a person completes the two year treatment portion, they graduate into the three year non-supervised portion. During the three year period, the person’s obligation is simply to remain crime free and continue to abstain from the use of alcohol or non-prescribed drugs.

Sample Forms For Treatment Providers

Attached please find (1) a template for the Deferred Prosecution Treatment Program, and (2) the Committment to Provide Treatment, which the agency providing the treatment is required to sign. 

 pdfSample Deferred Prosecution Treatment Plan

 pdfSamle Commitment To Provide Treatment


Witt Law Group is a Kitsap County based DUI Defense law firm. If you have a question that pertains to a DUI in Kitsap County or any of the cities therein, please do not hesitate to call one of our top rated Kitap DUI lawyers.

Published in Witt Law Group Blog

If you or a friend are in need of DUI defense, you have likely called around to several firms. For many years, the going rate for defense in Kitsap County has always been the same fee. However, in recent months, we’ve seen a noticeable increase in out of county firms advertising and charging huge legal fees. Some claim to have an office in the area but most do not. Consequently, they don’t come up under organic searches. They run Google Ads that appear at the top or very bottom of page one. There are 2 important differences from outside firms and local Kitsap area law firms:


1. The outside law firms will quote you anywhere from $5000 to $7500 for DUI defense. This is at least double, if not triple, the average price of defense. One reason for this is the cost of rent and advertising for an “outside” law firm. They pass along the high cost of rent in Seattle or Tacoma to their clients. Additionally, to compete with their big city law firms, they must also run ads that cost tens of thousands of dollars more than smaller counties, like Kitsap.


2. The most troubling aspect that we’ve witnessed is the assumption that paying triple the fee is somehow providing the client triple the experience. Sadly, the contrary seems to be true. We’ve seen many very inexperienced attorneys appearing on behalf of these outside area firms.


What to do?


1. Ask if you can meet them in Kitsap County. Do they actually have an office in Kitsap and are they available locally for your needs.


2. Ask for the name of who will appear on your behalf. Be certain that your fee is contingent on the experienced attorney appearing. This means the person has been a former prosecutor and/or done private defense for a minimum of 5 years.


3. Ask for specifics! How many criminal jury trials has your attorney done? Will they try to send someone else on their behalf? Explain that you are not wanting to hire anyone who will then substitute an attorney with experience of less than 5 years and 50 jury trials.


4. Ask if they are familiar with the Kitsap or Bremerton Court pleadings. This is a trick question. Everything is computerized in these courts and, from our observations, none of the out of county defense attorneys know how to use the local programs. This exposes their inexperience in Court and is a big disadvantage.


If the firm cannot answer these questions or will not guarantee the experience of their attorneys, keep calling around!


Normally, we would let the competition fade out on their own mistakes. However, we have taken numerous calls from outside firms asking Ryan to cover their hearings. They take an enormous legal fee and then ask local attorneys to do a “professional courtesy” by appearing at the Arraignment and other pretrial hearings for their clients. They simply are not doing the work. Then, when they can’t get the case dismissed or strike a compromise with the prosecutor, they try to charge another enormous trial fee. It’s terrible for the client and terrible for our profession.

Published in Witt Law Group Blog
July 06, 2019

Physical Control

In Washington State, the crime of Physical Control has essentially the same consequences as a DUI conviction. People often wonder what Physical Control is.


The Elements Are Not Defined


The Statute (RCW 46.61.504) does not exactly define the elements of Physical Control. Courts have been known to use the definition that the defendant “is in a position to physically regulate and determine movement of the vehicle.” The most common scenario is when a person decides to stop driving and either wait out their impairment or sleep it off. People will pull over to the side of the road or pull into a parking lot. Often, people go to sleep. Following an arrest based on these facts, Courts determine that people sleeping in their cars with the engine running are in physical control of the vehicle.


Affirmative Defense of “Safely Off The Roadway”


There is a Statutory Defense to Physical Control. If a defendant can prove by a preponderance of the evidence that they moved the vehicle safely off the roadway, that is a complete defense to the charge. The definition begs the question – what constitutes “safely off the roadway”? The definition is left to the trier of fact, meaning the jury. The legal community (meaning prosecutors and defense) typically believes that a safely off the roadway defense has merit when the defendant has moved the vehicle off of the roadway and it presents no present danger to the community. The defense can even be present when the engine is running. This is a broad idea of the defense and most fact patterns are different, but the defense is often available if the defense attorney knows what to look for. It can mean the difference between a conviction and a not guilty verdict.


Get The Best Possible Defense For Your Physical Control Case


At Witt Law Group, we have been practicing DUI and Physical Control defense for 15 years. We have handled hundreds, if not thousands, of these cases. We provide defense in Kitsap and Pierce Counties. We have offices in Gig Harbor, Bremerton and Poulsbo.

Published in Criminal Defense
April 22, 2019

Summons For A DUI

I received a summons for a DUI.  What should I do? 

Historically, when a person was arrested for DUI, he or she would be taken into custody or, alternatively, directed by the arresting officer to be present in Court the next date Court was in session. The initial appearance or arraignment for the DUI was typically on the Monday following the arrest. This has been the common practice for decades. Rarely, would a defendant be mailed a Summons regarding a DUI charge and, certainly, not six or nine months after the initial arrest. Over the course of the last year, this has all changed.

Why The Change In Practice?

The legalization of marijuana has changed how law enforcement and lawyers handle criminal charges. Following the passage of Initiative I-502, law enforcement and policy makers have been in a constant race to keep ahead of the issues that “legal” marijuana creates.

What is The Change?

For a large portion of DUI arrests, law enforcement is now drawing blood. Since so many citizens partake in the use of marijuana, it logically follows that a DUI suspect might be impaired due to THC. Without a blood draw, there is no definitive way to know if the person has smoked or ingested marijuana.


Unfortunately, when a DUI suspect has their blood drawn, the result is not available immediately, as it is with a BAC machine measuring alcohol. Consequently, the arresting officer will simply file a report, submit the blood to the toxicology lab, and then forward that information to the Prosecutor’s office. Despite the fact that the suspect is technically “under arrest” during the process, he or she is not booked into jail and does not remain in custody. Furthermore, the suspect will not be directed to appear in Court. The reason for the change in protocol is twofold.


The primary reason for the change in protocol is simply logistics. It takes several months for law enforcement to receive the result from the blood draw. The blood samples must be sent to the Washington State Crime Lab, which is providing those results in approximately four months. We have seen results come back eight months later!


The second reason for the change is that the delay in blood results creates a subsequent legal challenge. The Court and the Prosecutor must comply with a suspect’s speedy trial rights, which is 90 days following the arraignment. If the Prosecutor’s office charges a case immediately following the arrest, this means they must be ready to take the case to trial within the 90 day window. Clearly, with their evidence at the toxicology lab for four or more months, this wouldn’t work. The Prosecutor would lose all of these cases based on the legal challenge from any competent defense attorney. Therefore, it is imperative that the Prosecutor delay the arraignment.

Community Safety

Once upon a time, the Prosecution believed in the importance of getting a DUI suspect into Court quickly, so that they could set “conditions of release.” In other words, cases were prioritized to ensure community safety. Historically, on a Monday following a DUI arrest, the Prosecutor would request that the Court order a defendant to consume no alcohol or non-prescribed drugs. After I-502, the priority of community safety has changed. Without a faster turn around time from the toxicology lab, the Prosecution must alter strategy to comply with the rights of the accused. Simply put, the State cannot charge a person without evidence ready to take to trial.

Real World Consequences

Hypothetically, a person can be arrested in January and wait in limbo for many months to know whether their recreational marijuana use met the 5 ng/ml standard for a DUI. After several months pass, most people think their blood sample was fine. Since the suspect is released the night of the blood draw with no instruction on when (if at all) to go to Court, he or she believes life can go on as normal.


In May, a job opportunity arises out of state that the individual can’t pass up. The person moves on with life and that means a new address. Since many months have passed, the person does not think to leave a forwarding address or contact Washington Department of Licensing. Six months later, when the DUI is charged, a Summons is mailed to the last known address. Not surprisingly, the person misses the court date listed on the Summons. Now, a Bench Warrant is issued for their arrest. Additionally, the individual also fails to receive the information regarding the 7 day window to request a Department of Licensing Hearing to challenge their license suspension and, therefore, is now driving on a suspended license.


As you can see, there are many frustrating challenges that flow from the delay in blood results. Unfortunately, this “hypothetical” is actually happening to many Washington citizens everyday.

What Should I do?

First and foremost, keep your address up to date with the Department of Licensing. Once your case is charged, the Prosecutor will give the information to the Court Clerk’s Office and they send out the Summons. They send the Summons to the last known address provided to DOL.


Second, get ahead of the DUI charge. When we are hired for a DUI and there is no date set, we typically advise our clients to take some proactive steps. We will consider whether, in a particular case, an alcohol evaluation or a DUI Victims Impact panel might be beneficial to complete before the arraignment date. Additionally, we keep in regular contact with the Prosecutor’s Office so we know as soon as the case has been charged. There are strategies that we employ that can make the arraignment – and the remainder of the case – go much more smoothly.


There are too many pitfalls to go through this process alone. If you have received a Summons for a DUI, or you were arrested and have not yet received a Summons, give our office a call for a free, confidential consultation.

Published in Criminal Defense
April 20, 2019

Marijuana DUI

When Washington State added marijuana per se limits to the DUI statute, they unintentionally created a legal paradox. While an alcohol-related DUI is based on science, the marijuana DUI standards are based on fear. The marijuana standard of 5 ng/ml is simply an arbitrary number based on no clear understanding of THC on impairment.

When the marijuana DUI law was created, it was generally agreed upon that the 5 ng/ml standard did not truly measure impairment. Attempted measurement of impairment is too subjective based on many physiological factors that differ from person to person. The origin of the 5 ng/ml standard is not impressive. Rather than a basis in agreed upon science, it is the result of clamoring from multiple special interest groups.

No Correlation Between Per Se Standard and Impairment

Marijuana does not have a steady burn off rate in our bodies like alcohol does. After an individual uses marijuana, even long after they are no longer “high,” the THC is stored in fat cells and slowly released over days or weeks. The “high,” or impairment, may only lasts a short period, but the measurable amount THC remains for a much longer period.

The Marijuana DUI Statute

The statute that is used to criminalize marijuana and driving is simply a modified version of the decades old DUI statute. RCW 46.61.502 was modified in the following ways to regulate marijuana:

RCW 46.61.502

(1) A person is guilty of driving while under the influence of … marijuana … if the person drives a vehicle within this state:
(b) The person has, within two hours after driving, a THC concentration of 5.00 or higher as shown by analysis of the person's blood made under RCW 46.61.506; or
(c) While the person is under the influence of … marijuana; or
(d) While the person is under the combined influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor, marijuana, and any drug.
(2) The fact that a person charged with a violation of this section is or has been entitled to use a drug under the laws of this state shall not constitute a defense against a charge of violating this section.

Similarities

The marijuana DUI is a gross misdemeanor, just like the alcohol DUI. The requirements upon sentencing are similar as well. An individual convicted of a marijuana DUI will also need to obtain an alcohol and drug evaluation, follow through with treatment, and complete a DUI Victim’s Impact Panel.

Differences

Difference 1 is the timeline. The timeline is much different with a marijuana DUI. With an alcohol DUI, an individual typically goes to Court for a first appearance on the next judicial day. The criminal process starts immediately. With a marijuana DUI, the Court process may not start for 4 to 8 months. Long enough where the individual can forget about it – and then they receive a summons in the mail. The reason for this long delay is that the arresting officer will send a suspect’s blood sample off to the Washington State Crime Lab. The Crime Lab doesn’t turn the result around for many months. Then, once the result is received by the arresting officer, it is finally sent off to the local prosecuting attorney’s office, who will ultimately charge the case.

Difference 2 is the presence of a warrant. In the great majority of marijuana DUI cases, the root of the blood result is a warrant. For law enforcement, obtaining a warrant is a specialized process fraught with pitfalls where law enforcement is prone to make errors. If an error can be exposed in any part of the warrant application process, then the result of the warrant (the blood result) can be thrown out.

Marijuana DUI cases are defensible. If you have been charged with a marijuana DUI case, you need to contact an experienced DUI defense attorney right away. You do not want to wait the 4 or 8 months until the case is charged. Within the first several days there are strategic decisions that need to be made (should you go obtain your own independent test?) and timelines that need to be recognized (do I need to request a DOL hearing within 7 days?). These decisions are critical and can not be revisited once it is too late. 

If you have a question about a marijuana DUI case, call our office for a free, confidential consultation.

Published in Criminal Defense

Typically most resolutions of a DUI charge require a chemical dependency assessment. Below is a list of treatment providers most commonly used by our clients. These providers can be quite busy and it may take several weeks to get your assessment so please don’t delay in making your appointment.

 

Action Counseling

729 Prospect Street, Suite 200

Port Orchard, WA

P: 360-895-1307

F: 360-895-4805

 

Peninsula Counseling

3214 50th St. Ct. NW, Suite D305

Gig Harbor, WA 98335

P: 253-851-4600

F: 253-851-4602

 

Suquamish Tribe Wellness Program

18490 Suquamish Way, Suite 107

Suquamish, WA

P: 360-394-8558

F: 360-598-1724

 

The Right Choice Counseling

1740 NE Riddell Road, Suite 170

Bremerton, WA

P: 360-373-4077

F: 360-792-0362

 

You are free to use any treatment provider approved by the Court. It is important that the provider you choose is reliable as far as processing reports and communicates in a timely way with our office. If you have questions about a specific treatment agency or need to use an agency outside of this list, feel free to contact our office.

 

Please remember that we would prefer 7 days advance notice and possibly more if you have an out of area assessment provider.

 

If you click on the links provided, you will find the current list of all approved treatment agencies by Kitsap County and Pierce County.

Published in Witt Law Group Blog

One of the hardest parts of being arrested for a DUI is the challenge of having an ignition interlock device (IID) required for driving. If you’re a parent, there is the embarrassment of explaining that you really don’t want to carpool anymore (i.e. you don’t really want to blow going down the road with the neighbor’s kids in the car). Perhaps you drive a company car and have to explain to your boss that you’re going to need to install the IID in the company’s vehicle. Some may not let you do it and you will be required to put miles on your personal vehicle. But, in addition to the incredible inconvenience, there is a sizable financial commitment that is required. There is an expense associated with installing it in your car as well as a maintenance expense. For the above reasons, the notion of installing an ignition interlock device is very stressful for most clients.

 

Unfortunately, for most persons arrested for DUI, it is highly likely that the ignition interlock will be required. It can be required as a condition of release set by the Court (your blow was really high so the judge adds it to your conditions of release), as part of your sentence after being convicted, as part of your alternative resolution (a contract you enter into with the State), and as part of the Department of Licensing (DOL) administrative suspension. The DOL can suspend you because you did not request your hearing, you requested your hearing and lost, or you refused to blow into the breathalyzer at the time of arrest. There are a few scenarios where the requirement for an IID may not be the case.

 

Hypothetical #1

You were arrested for a DUI below the .08 standard. You might think you can’t be prosecuted for the DUI but you’d be wrong. The DUI statute allows the prosecutor to prosecute under the “effected by” prong of the statute. We used to see quite a few low blow DUI arrests in Bremerton but it can happen anywhere—it’s up to the Prosecutor in the area. However, the good news is that the Department of Licensing does not have jurisdiction over these cases. Their jurisdiction pertains to arrests made where the breathalyzer result is .08 or above. Therefore, in this low blow scenario, you could enter into some agreement with the Prosecutor to avoid a conviction on your record or you could go to trial and be found not guilty on the criminal charge and, in both cases, there would be no IID requirement.

 

Hypothetical #2

If you request your DOL hearing and win, there will be no administrative suspension that would trigger the IID requirement. Then, let’s suppose your defense attorney is able to get you an alternative resolution. These are called different things in different counties but some of the common names are pretrial diversion agreement (PDA), continuance without findings, or a stipulated order of continuance. These resolutions allow for your defense attorney to argue that you don’t need an IID as part of the conditions of your contract with the state. If successful, you will have no administrative or criminal IID requirement.

 

Hypothetical #3

As a small variation on hypothetical #2, let’s assume you won your DOL hearing but you had a high blow so you end up with an IID as part of your initial conditions of release. Since conditions of release are conditions set by the judge to secure that you will reappear for court and not be a danger to the community, they are not necessarily part of your final resolution. For example, at the time of your arraignment (your first appearance), you are given the IID requirement because you blew a .15, but months later, you enter into a PDA for 3 years (meet certain conditions in the contract—i.e. don’t get arrested again, comply with treatment suggestions, pay fines, etc.) and the Prosecutor can choose to remove the IID requirement as part of the PDA. So, you could start the case with an IID in your car but, several months later, you might be allowed to remove it.

 

This topic can be quite confusing and certainly not intended to be legal advice. As you can imagine, there are so many variations in DUI arrests that, if you want to know the likelihood you are going to be suspended and required to install an IID, you need to talk with an experienced criminal defense lawyer about the specific facts surrounding your arrest. There are other scenarios where an IID might not be required but it is very fact specific. If you have questions about your DUI, please give our office a call for a free consultation.  Witt Law Group is a DUI / DWI defense law firm with offices in Bremerton and Gig Harbor Washington. 

Published in Witt Law Group Blog

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

https://www.idrivesafely.com

https://ntsi.com/washington/

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

Published in Criminal Defense
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