Understanding Bail in Domestic Abuse Cases

When accused of domestic violence, Washington State requires mandatory arrest when probable cause exists.

This means the alleged accuser faces defending their innocence, as well as posting a hefty bail sum before being allowed to walk free pending trial. If you’re worried about posting bail in a domestic abuse case, you have a few options available to you.

What Are The Conditions Of Bail In A Domestic Abuse Case?

Depending on the severity of the charge and the alleged abuser’s record, a judge will rule in the following ways; the alleged abuser is

  • released on own recognizance, with no bail, which means the accused promises to return for future proceedings
  • released on own recognizance, with bail
  • detained until the pending trial is completed
  • released only if bail or cash bond is paid
  • not allowed to contact the victim
  • not allowed to have any firearms pending trial
  • not allowed to possess or consume alcohol or drugs while pending trial
  • subject to random urine analysis or drug and alcohol assessments
  • subject to pretrial supervision

If you live with your accuser and the judge demands a no-contact order, you need to find temporary housing during the trial.

How Can I Pay For Bail In A Domestic Abuse Case?

A judge will set bail for alleged domestic abusers based on previous offenses and their crimes’ severity. Bail may be set at a lower amount the accused can quickly pay in cash.

However, for larger bail sums, the accused can reach out to friends and family for help or work with a bond dealer to pay for their release. Typically, you’ll need to pay about 15 percent of the total bail amount for a bond dealer to post your bail.

What Should I Do If I Need To Post Bail In A Domestic Abuse Case?

If you or a loved one have been arrested for domestic abuse, contact the legal team at VanWa Legal right away to help you navigate your case, discuss your options for posting bail, and push for a speedy release.

Van Wa Legal’s team boasts vast experience in criminal defense cases and specifically domestic abuse. We specialize in Washington State law and can help you understand what you’re up against. Washington prosecutors take domestic abuse allegations very seriously and push for conviction, so you’ll need someone as equally vigilant on your side.

Bond already presents as a hefty expense, so VanWa Legal offers free consultations to potential clients. We can help you create a proper defense, petition for a no-contact order to be dropped, and help with your unique domestic violence case.

 

Have You Prepared Your Estate For When You Die And What Should You Consider Making Sure You Have Done Sooner Rather Than Later?

Preparing for one’s one death can feel challenging to grabble with, but properly preparing your estate will help your loved ones navigate your passing without the added burden of determining what your wishes would have been.

How and when you prepare your estate may differ based on your age.

Read more

Things to Remember in a Washington DUI Investigation

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Things to Remember in a Washington DUI Investigation

By Vancouver WA DUI Defense Attorney Roger Priest

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Hi, my name is Roger Priest and I’m a local DUI attorney in Vancouver, Washington with Vanwa Legal PLLC. Today, I want to talk to you about a question I often get from clients. Which is, What are my rights? What are my obligations if I’m pulled over by the police for a DUI?

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Basically, What do I have to do and what don’t I have to do?  It’s just a good question because it can be scary to deal with the police but the first right that you should always consider is your right to be quiet. Ultimately cops it is their job to ask you questions and to try to build a case against you to get you convicted. And it is your constitutional right to tell them that you wish to invoke your right to the fifth amendment which is your right to remain silent.

So, how do you do that? Well, first and foremost you have to understand that answering their questions truthfully is going to hurt your case, every time. And some people often tell me well, I just wanted to do what the cops told me to do because you know, they’re in a position of authority. But it’s important you understand that that will hurt your case. So, don’t do it!

What does that mean though? You certainly shouldn’t lie to the police, if you lie to them it will hurt your credibility in your case and it could also potentially lead to additional criminal charges.

So, what do you do? Just say, “I want to remain silent.” that tells them succinctly that you are invoking your right to remain silent and they will stop asking you questions. It will not get you into any trouble and it can only help your case.

How about field sobriety tests? Let’s talk about those next. They are voluntary but you must understand that if you refuse them, that can be used against you. Typically, an argument might be made at trial that you refuse the field sobriety tests and so, therefore, that means that you knew you were drunk or you knew you were guilty.

Well, if you do the field sobriety tests, understand that that will make your defense attorney’s job harder. It will make the case less defensible.

It’s easier sometimes to explain why you refuse to do field sobriety tests than it would be to simply try to explain why you failed the field sobriety tests.

And you don’t be afraid to explain yourself if the law enforcement officer asks you to do field sobriety tests, it is a-okay to tell them that you have a medical reason that would prevent you from doing it or inclement weather, you’re not going to do it out in the rain which is very common here, if you’re afraid of being hit by cars on the side of the interstate you can cite that as a reason why you’re not willing to do it and you can also throw me under the bus and say that you’ve talked to an attorney and you’ve been advised that the field sobriety tests are stacked against you.

So, another thing that people consider, you will be asked oftentimes to provide a breath sample roadside in a portable breath testing device. You need to understand that that breath testing device is not admissible at trial.

So, there is no good reason to do it. It can’t be used against you if you don’t provide a sample but if you do provide a sample it can later be used to justify an arrest. The officer and a probable cause hearing can argue that it gave him reason to arrest you and that can hurt your case.

Again, doing it will make it harder for your attorney to defend your case and you always want to be careful with sneaky language by the officer. They’ll often say, “I just want to make sure you’re okay to drive” or you know, “If you don’t blow on this I’ll have to make my arrest decision based off of just the information I know”. And that can make it feel scary like you’re going to get arrested if you don’t do it but understand that if you provide a breath sample even if it’s below the legal limit you may very well be getting arrested anyway. So you would be better served not to provide them this evidence. Especially considering it can’t be used against you and you won’t get any trouble declining.

The most important this is asking to talk to an attorney. You, after being arrested have the right to call an attorney and oftentimes they will provide a list of attorneys that you can call. You can also call a specific attorney if you have someone in mind like me. There are literally zero downsides to asking to speak to an attorney. First and first and foremost, you’ll learn what your rights and obligations are, what you do and don’t have to do and you can ask tough legal questions that you don’t know the answers to.

Additionally, delay can be your friend. As your blood-alcohol concentration falls during the time that you’re talking to an attorney. That could ultimately lead to a more defensible case or a more negotiable case. And additionally, by invoking your right if the law enforcement makes any mistakes and not providing you one. That will also prison defenses that you can rely on later.

With regard to the breath test at the station, this second breath test not the roadside but at the station. You do have the right to refuse that test but it can lead to more punishment. What does that mean?

Well, the pros and the cons are; it is easier to win at trial if you refuse a breath test than if you blow over the legal limit. So, there are some benefits sometimes to refusing however, a refusal can cause you to serve more jail if you’re convicted and it will lead to a longer license suspension in most cases. So, there are some definite trade-off there.

Blood testing, this is important in drug DUIs but sometimes an alcohol DUIs as well. First and foremost, you should never volunteer your blood. Oftentimes law enforcement will ask you to agree to a blood test as part of their investigation. That gets them an out of having to seek a warrant.

If they ask to draw your blood, make them get a warrant. First and foremost the delay will be to your benefit in the time that takes them to do the paperwork and if you agree, you will not be able to later complain that the blood draw was taken incorrectly because you have effectively agreed to it.

Now, if they ask for a breath test. Instead, you can ask for a blood draw in addition to the breath test. By law, you have the right to additional testing. If you are released after the breath test, you have the obligation to get it on your own but oftentimes if you’re going to be booked into jail for a second or third lifetime DUI they have an obligation to help you obtain a blood test and if they don’t, that can cause serious problems for their case later. So, it’s always a good idea to ask for a blood test especially considering that a blood test is more accurate than a breath test.

I hope that was helpful and if you have any more specific questions, please feel free to give me a call. We offer a free consultation on every DUI case.

Thanks and have a wonderful day!
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If you have questions about your particular Marijuana DUI or other DUI charge, don’t hesitate to call VanWa Legal PLLC to schedule a free consultation.  We are happy to help.

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If You Have Been Charged With A DUI In Clark County or Vancouver WA, Time Is Of The Essence!

Call Our Office To Speak With Attorney Roger Priest Immediately.

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What to Expect From a Washington DUI Conviction

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What to Expect From a Washington DUI Conviction

By Vancouver WA DUI Defense Attorney Roger Priest

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Hi, I’m Roger Priest. I’m a local criminal defense attorney here in Vancouver, Washington with Vanwa Legal PLLC and today I want to talk with you about a question I get from a lot of my clients. I often get asked, What should I be worried about if I get convicted of a DUI? What are the consequences? So, there’s a number of things that you need to keep in mind that will likely happen if you’re convicted of a DUI but there are basically five majors things to be keeping in mind. So, let’s talk about them.

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First and foremost, if you’re convicted of a DUI in the state of Wahington, DUI carries what they’re called mandatory minimum sentences. That means that no matter what the judge has to give you at least this much time for sentence.

DUI, unfortunately, carries a mandatory minimum sentence of one(1) day jail for a first offense, that can be converted into fifteen(15) days of house arrest. And if there are aggravators like a high BAC or refusal it actually be more time required in jail. And if you’re hit with a second offense you could be looking at a quite a bit more and mandatory minimum sentences up maybe even more than a month in jail. And it gets even progressively worse for a third offense so that’s something to keep in mind.

The second thing you need to know is that you will be facing five(5) years of probation. So, typically when on probation there are gonna be a number of things you need to do. First, the court is going to require that you do alcohol treatment, you’ll also have to attend what it’s called, The Victim’s Panel. And often times, you need to be aware that bad behavior while on probation can actively cause you to go back to jail or certain things like driving while suspended or driving without insurance. So, it’s very important that you understand what the terms of probation require so that you don’t have to go back to jail.

The third major way that a DUI can affect you is with a license suspension. So, on a first offense, you will most likely be facing either a ninety(90) day license suspension, a one(1) year license suspension or two(2) year license suspension depending on the facts of the case and that can get progressively worse. On a second offense, it can be between two(2) years and three(3) years. And on a third offense, it could be up to four(4) years.

The fourth major way that a DUI conviction can affect you is the fact that Washington now requires that you have an ignition interlock device installed in your car. An ignition interlock device is a breath testing device, it hooks up to your ignition system and you can’t start the car or continue to drive the car without providing random breath tests at specified intervals.

So, for a DUI conviction in the state of Washington, the first time you’re convicted you will have to have the ignition interlock device installed for a year. If you’ve previously had to have it installed for another DUI conviction the second time around you’ll have to do for five(5) years and it can go up to ten(10) years from there as well.

Lastly, the fifth major consequence of a DUI in the state of Washing is that you will have to carry SR-22 insurance. SR-22 has basically added insurance protection that you have to pay for. It is required for thirty-six(36) months for a DUI and the rates it’s hard to say because every insurer charges a little bit differently. So, it’s certainly something you’d want to contact your insurance provider and you can call around for a competitive quote as well. As well as if you ever let that lapse it will automatically resuspend your license and if you’re on a DUI probation that could be bad news. So, always something that keeps in mind.

So, I hope this has been informative if you have more specific questions or if you’d like to talk to a local DUI attorney like myself, Please give us a call here at Vanwa Legal, a free consultation is always available and we’d love to hear from you.

Thanks and have a great day!
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If you have questions about your particular Marijuana DUI or other DUI charge, don’t hesitate to call VanWa Legal PLLC to schedule a free consultation.  We are happy to help.

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If You Have Been Charged With A DUI In Clark County or Vancouver WA, Time Is Of The Essence!

Call Our Office To Speak With Attorney Roger Priest Immediately.

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Can I Expunge a Washington DUI

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Can I Expunge a Washington DUI?

By Vancouver WA DUI Defense Attorney Roger Priest

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Hi, my name is Roger Priest and I’m a local DUI attorney in Vancouver, Washington. And today I want to talk to you about a question I get from a lot of clients and a lot of prospective clients. Which is, Can I expunge a DUI? Expungement is the process of asking the court to withdraw a guilty finding and sentencing and allow you to wipe out or erase that conviction so no longer shows on your criminal history.

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Typically, an expungement in the state of Washington requires that: You’ve never ever availed yourself to an expungement before. That you don’t have any criminal convictions since the crime that you’re trying to get expunged went on your record. As well you can’t have any pending criminal charges. And additionally, you can’t be subject to a restraining order in a civil or criminal matter. As well, is you must have already completed all terms of your sentence including jail, probation, fines, and fees in any restitution. And typically, there’s a waiting period which depends on the type of crime.

In short, a DUI Conviction in Washington cannot be expunged, unfortunately. The Washington statute 9.96.060 specifically prohibits expungement of a DUI or a physical control conviction. Now, that does mean you can’t get a DUI? Dismissed through an expungement? It depends. If your DUI was reduced as part of a plea there may be crowns to get it expunged, but if you were convicted of the DUI charge itself you will not be able to get it expunged.

So, one typical reduced charge that I see often times, is a DUI reduced to the charge of negligent driving in the first degree, if you were convicted of the reduced charge then you would be able to get that expunged if you met all of the expungement criteria that I previously mentioned. But in addition, you have to wait ten(10) years from the arrest date and during that time you cannot have had any subsequent alcohol or drug violations. So the waiting period is a lot longer but you can get it expunged off your record. Additionally, you sometimes see a DUI reduced to reckless driving if that happens it’s very much the exact same process as negligent driving, you have to wait the ten years and meet all the criteria and not have had any subsequent alcohol or drug violations.

If your DUI was actually reduced to a charge other than negligent driving or reckless driving you may not have to wait ten years. So, it’s important to know exactly what you were convicted of and talked to an attorney about the specifics of your case. If it was reduced one of these charges, then you would just need to meet the normal expungement criteria.

I hope this has been helpful if you’d like to talk more about your case and whether you qualify for an expungement of your criminal charge, please feel free to give me a call. I offer a free consultation on every case and I look forward to speaking with you soon.
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If You Have Been Charged With A DUI In Clark County or Vancouver WA, Time Is Of The Essence!

Call Our Office To Speak With Attorney Roger Priest Immediately.

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Understanding A Washington Marijuana DUI

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Important Things to Remember If You Are Facing a Cannabis DUI Charge

By Vancouver WA DUI Defense Attorney Roger Priest

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Marijuana DUIs in Washington, although not new, are becoming more common in Washington since marijuana was legalized in 2012.  They are still far from as prevalent as alcohol related DUIs, but it pays to understand how they work so you can avoid arrest and prosecution.  Unlike alcohol, marijuana use doesn’t often smell as much.  If you drink alcohol, it will permeate your breath and body.  As you drive, it will fill up the cabin of the car.  If you are pulled over after drinking it is common that the officer will be able to smell it on your person.

[/av_textblock] [av_hr class=’default’ height=’50’ shadow=’no-shadow’ position=’center’ custom_border=’av-border-thin’ custom_width=’50px’ custom_border_color=” custom_margin_top=’30px’ custom_margin_bottom=’30px’ icon_select=’yes’ custom_icon_color=” icon=’ue808′ av-desktop-hide=” av-medium-hide=” av-small-hide=” av-mini-hide=” av_uid=’av-9jnv3c’] [av_textblock size=” font_color=” color=” av-medium-font-size=” av-small-font-size=” av-mini-font-size=” av_uid=’av-jrwece4q’ admin_preview_bg=”] Marijuana definitely has a distinct smell if you smoke the plant itself, either in the car or soon before driving.  Otherwise, however, ingesting edibles or using a vaporizer pen to use marijuana renders it impossible to smell.  So, unlike an alcohol DUI, officers will not be able to immediately identify a potential DUI on smell alone.

Most marijuana DUIs start off with some level of suspicion based on the driver’s physical characteristics or inability to track the conversation with the police officer.

Common signs are red or squinty eyes, cotton-mouth, and confusion or slow reaction timing.  However, for the most part, marijuana usage is harder to detect than drinking.

First, marijuana impaired drivers are objectively safer drivers than alcohol impaired drivers.  Marijuana impaired driver studies have shown that participants follow traffic rules better, drive slower and typically are more cautious.  One of the benchmarks of alcohol consumption is that it reduces inhibitions.  This usually means that drivers drive faster, don’t use their blinkers, get distracted and more.  Practically speaking, this leads to a higher chance of being pulled over for a reason other than DUI.  Because marijuana impaired drivers tend to follow more traffic laws while driving, they get pulled over at a lower rate.
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Field Sobriety Tests for Marijuana

The standardized field sobriety tests developed for DUIs in the seventies were designed specifically with alcohol in mind.  Although there is some applicability to generalized impairment, they are far poorer at detecting marijuana impairment than alcohol impairment.  Specifically, the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (pen-eye test) is only designed to detect alcohol impairment and will not show marijuana impairment at all.  Nystagmus (an involuntary jerking of the eye that is being tested for) will occur after drinking alcohol but not after consuming marijuana.

The Walk and Turn and One Leg Stand tests are more generalized motor-skill tests that can show basic impairment not connected with any particular class of drug.
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Portable Breath Test

One of the most successful roadside tools for detecting DUIs is the portable breath test.  However, this tests only for alcohol use.  There is no technology to test for direct evidence of marijuana use without a blood draw.


Blood Tests

Because blood testing is the only solid way to help prove marijuana consumption, officers who suspect a marijuana DUI will typically quickly ask a suspect to consent to a blood draw.  The constitution protects us all from unreasonable searches.  Taking your blood for drug testing is a search, so you are not required to do it without a warrant.  An officer may ask you to do it in order to avoid having to do the paperwork necessary to seek a warrant.  If you agree to do it, you waive your constitutional protections an cannot later complain if that evidence is used against you.  Therefore, it is never wise to agree to give up your blood voluntarily.  If you are sober, then making them arrest you and get a warrant might even lead to a lawsuit against the police.  If you have been using marijuana or other drugs, then you should definitely make them get a warrant to protect your legal rights.  If you volunteer your blood, you are effectively asking them to convict you of a DUI.  There are no upsides to agreeing to do a blood draw.  MAKE THEM GET A WARRANT.
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The THC Legal Limit

Washington has adopted a legal limit for marijuana DUIs of 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood drawn.  The problem with this “legal limit” is that it is arbitrary.  It is not based on any valid scientific consensus or reasoning.  The alcohol legal limit is based on a lot of research over decades.  Because Washington rushed to make a similar “legal limit” rule for marijuana DUIs after it became legal, they effectively pulled a number out of thin air.  In fact, there is great debate in the scientific community about the effectiveness of a legal limit approach.

Marijuana does not work the same way as alcohol so it is therefore hard to adopt similar methods of regulating its use.  Marijuana attaches to fat in the body after use and will actually stick around for a lot longer.  As your body breaks down its fat reserves, THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) will actually “leach” back into the blood stream days and weeks after use.  For people who use it daily, it can compound quickly and you can have over the legal limit in your blood on days you haven’t even used the drug.  So, it is possible to be entirely sober and be above the legal limit in certain circumstances.

Additionally, the manner in which you use marijuana can make a great difference in how much THC is in your blood.  Eating THC will actually not show up in your blood as much, even though you may be extremely impaired, while relatively light use from smoking show a greater THC component than eating it.

To compare it to drinking, it would be like if shooting tequila affected your blood alcohol concentration half as bad as drinking beer, even though tequila actually impaired you worse.  This is why the legal limit is unfortunately not a good indicator of impairment.  Considering the law aims to punish impairment and not an arbitrary line in the sand, it does a poor job of actually hitting its target.

Because of the nature of the DUI law, a constitutional challenge to the Washington Marijuana DUI framework may be necessary to resolve this issue.  It doesn’t help the average person in Washington who is simply trying to follow the law.  The best advice for now is don’t drive after using marijuana.  This may not be comforting to a regular user who worries about getting a DUI charge when they aren’t under the influence.  However, understanding how the law works and your rights when facing a DUI investigation can help you best avoid having to go to court to defend against a DUI.
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If you have questions about your particular Marijuana DUI or other DUI charge, don’t hesitate to call VanWa Legal PLLC to schedule a free consultation.  We are happy to help.

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If You Have Been Charged With A DUI In Clark County or Vancouver WA, Time Is Of The Essence!

Call Our Office To Speak With Attorney Roger Priest Immediately.

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5 Important Things to Remember If You Are Facing a DUI Charge

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5 Important Things to Remember If You Are Facing a DUI Charge

By Vancouver WA DUI Defense Attorney Roger Priest

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As a DUI lawyer, I consult with a lot of people.  Through the years, I’ve heard the same questions over and over.  Because prospective clients often don’t know these keys concepts about a DUI case, I thought it would be helpful to write an article about the five most important things to keep in mind if you are ever facing a DUI investigation or case.

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1 – You have the right to remain silent regarding all questions that might incriminate you.

If you are pulled over and an officer starts asking whether you’ve been drinking alcohol or using drugs, you are being investigated for a DUI.  The officer is trying to get you to admit you’ve been using drugs or alcohol in order to build a case of DUI against you.  The officer might be recording you on audio or video during this questioning.  That video will later be shown to a jury at your DUI trial to help prove the case against you.

If you have been drinking at all, there is no answer you can give that will help you here.  If you are honest and admit to drinking, you are incriminating yourself.  If you lie to the cop, it will hurt your credibility at the DUI trial later.  Also, it is a crime to knowingly make a materially false statement to an officer during their investigation.  So what should you do?

You can and should tell the officer that you wish to exercise your right to remain silent.  While you are at it, you should ask to talk to an attorney as soon as possible.  Perhaps you think this is “not being cooperative” and that it will get you into more trouble.  You are wrong.  First, the cop is not your friend so don’t walk on egg shells to appease them.  Second, you cannot talk your way out of the situation, I promise.  If you talk to them you will be making their case stronger against you.  If you tell them you want to exercise your right to remain silent, they must by law stop asking you questions that are designed to get you to incriminate yourself.  Of course, be polite and respectful, but be firm and tell them you want to invoke your right to remain silent and that you will not be answering any questions.

This will not stop them from asking you to do field sobriety tests, asking you to take a roadside breath test, or potentially making an arrest.  However, neither will answering all their questions.  I have handled hundreds and hundreds of DUI cases and cops don’t let people go with a warning for DUI anymore.  This isn’t the 1970s.
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2 – You Don’t Have to Do Field Sobriety Tests, But Refusing Them Can Be Used Against You

Officers may ask you to do Field Sobriety Tests during a DUI investigation.  Why?  They want to collect evidence that you are impaired.  They will often say, “I just want to make sure you are OK to drive.”  Perhaps you believe this means you’ll be allowed to drive home if you simply pass the tests.  However, if you’ve had more than a couple of beers, you will not pass the tests.  They are designed to be very difficult to pass.  Many sober people cannot pass the test.

During Field Sobriety Tests you will be given dozens of instructions to follow and the officer will fail you if you even miss two of the instructions.  If you think simply completing the test is passing, you are wrong.  Most people I meet with think they did OK on the tests.  However, the police give them a failing grade.  The deck is stacked against you and whether you pass or fail is a subjective decision left only to the cop to decide.  There is no way to go back and check his work.  Often the tests are not recorded, so it’s the cops word only.

So, what happens if you refuse the Field Sobriety Tests?  However, it is important to understand what refusing to participate in the field sobriety tests will mean for your case.  Washington case law allows a prosecutor to use your refusal to participate in field sobriety tests against you in a later trial.  They will be allowed to argue that you would have done the tests if you were sober.  They will argue that the only reason you refused the test was because you knew it would show that you were guilty.

How do you combat this argument?  It is all about how you frame the issue.  Nothing requires you to do the tests in the rain or the cold.  If an officer asks you to do the field sobriety tests, you are free to agree under certain conditions.  You can say, “Sure, I’ll do the tests if my passenger can video record the tests.”  The officer will likely refuse to allow the passenger to get out of the car for safety reasons.  However, if the prosecutor tries to argue that you only refused because you were guilty, that argument will look stupid given that you actually agreed.  Another thing you can say is that you have an attorney who told you that the tests are bogus and told you not to do the tests given their unreliability.  It will be much easier to argue to a jury that the tests are unreliable because they are not recorded and purely subjective based on what the officer says.  Lastly, if you intend to take the breath test, you can simply tell them that a breath test is better evidence and you’d rather just do that.  Remember however that a breath test can hurt your case if you blow over the legal limit.
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3 – Roadside breath tests are inadmissible at trial against you, but can be used to prove probable cause

If the cops ask you do take a roadside breath test in one of their portable breath tests, you should refuse.  By law, they must tell you that the test is not admissible at trial against you.  What does that mean?  If you blow over 0.08% on a portable breath test, a jury at a later trial will not be provided that information.  First, the portable breath tests produce no record of the results, so it would simply be the cop’s word as to what the results were.  Also, the tests have not be scientifically validated as accurate.  For those reasons, they can’t be used against you at trial.

You may ask, well why not take the test then?  The reason is simple.  Cops also have to have probable cause to make an arrest.  Imagine you are pulled over for speeding.  Imagine when the cop asks you to take a breath test, you invoke your right to remain silent.  Imagine also that you refuse to take the field sobriety tests unless you can record them.  They may have very little evidence that you are impaired at that point.  However, if they ask you to take the roadside breath and you agree, you will be helping them to establish probable cause.  Probable cause means that the officer has enough reason to believe more likely than not that you have driven while impaired.  It certainly helps their cause if they can say that you blew over the legal limit.

I know I said that they cannot use it against you as evidence at trial.  However, a probable cause hearing is a different type of hearing.  It can be used against you at a probable cause hearing.  So what does this mean?  It means there is no good reason to agree to the portable breath test.  I often hear cops tell clients that they are being offered the portable breath test and that it is voluntary.  If the client asks whether they should take it, the officer will say, “If you don’t take it, I’ll have to decide whether to arrest you based on what I’ve seen so far.”  This subtly suggests that taking the test will somehow make sure you get to go home if you pass.  However, law enforcement routinely arrests people who blow below the legal limit.  Taking the test will basically never get your out of a DUI charge.  So, take it at your own risk.
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4 – You have the right to speak to an attorney at the point you are under arrest

You can ask for an attorney during the traffic stop, but the officer is not required to stop his DUI investigation to let you use your telephone.  He can proceed with asking you to do field sobriety tests, requesting a portable breath test, or making an arrest.  However, the officer cannot proceed with questioning you after you ask for an attorney.  Therefore, the officer would have to avoid asking you whether you’ve been drinking, how much, and where, etc.

Typically, you will have to wait to talk to an attorney until you get back to the police station.  However, this is good, because you have an absolute right to contact an attorney before proceeding with DUI processing.  Usually, the officer will give you access to a list of attorneys if you don’t have a specific attorney you wish to call.  If none answer, you can insist on having a phone book or your phone to keep looking for an attorney to talk to.  The police may try to push you to proceed with DUI processing (breath test, etc) before you’ve reached an attorney, but you are free to keep demanding the opportunity to contact an attorney.

An officer may try to say your insistence on speaking with an attorney constitutes a refusal to take a breath test, but you will have a very defensible position to challenge the DUI if they take this position.  Regardless, you should never waive the right to talk to an attorney before proceeding with DUI processing.  If you choose to waive this right, you can and likely will make a mistake that you will later pay for.
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5 – You have the right to additional testing, including a blood test

If you are offered a breath test, you must also be advised that you have the right to additional testing, including but no limited to a blood test.  A blood test is the most accurate indicator of blood alcohol concentration.  Therefore, it pays to seek a blood test.

If you are not booked in jail, the police often have no duty to help you obtain additional testing.  You have the right to take a taxi to get your own blood test.  However, if you are booked into jail and request a blood test, the police have a duty to help you obtain a blood test.  The reason is that by not helping you, they essentially make it impossible to get the test.  Being stuck in jail makes it impossible to take advantage of your rights.  Why is this important?  If they interfere with your right to get a blood test, it can lead to dismissal of the criminal charge altogether.
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If You Have Been Charged With A DUI In Clark County or Vancouver WA, Time Is Of The Essence!

Call Our Office To Speak With Attorney Roger Priest Immediately.

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5 Major Consequences of a Washington DUI

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5 Major Consequences of A DUI In Washington State

By Vancouver WA DUI Defense Attorney Roger Priest

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1 – A Washington DUI Carries Mandatory Minimum Sentences

If you are convicted of a DUI, you will have to serve jail, house arrest, or both. For a first time Washington DUI, you must serve at least day in jail or fifteen days of house arrest. If there are aggravating circumstances the sentence can be higher. For a second offense or subsequent offense the mandatory minimum sentences can be much higher. In some cases, it might be Additionally, it may be possible to negotiate your DUI down to an offense that does not have a mandatory jail sentence.

This will be difficult if not impossible to do on your own, so it pays to hire an experienced DUI attorney if you are facing a DUI charge.

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2 – 5 Years of Probation Including Alcohol Treatment

If you are convicted of a DUI in Washington, you will typically be placed on probation for a term of five years (unless the court sentences you to the maximum sentence of one year). The court has discretion to decide what type of probation is required. Probation generally falls into two categories: bench and active probation.

Bench probation is what most first-time offenders and some second-time offenders will get. Bench probation means that the court itself supervises you. This type of supervision is much less intrusive than active probation. Typically, your case will be “monitored” by the probation department simply to make sure you do the things the court tells you to do.

An average DUI may require that you obtain an alcohol and drug assessment from a Washington approved treatment agency and follow through with whatever treatment is recommended. This treatment can range from a one time informational class to months and months of treatment. You will also likely be required to attend a victim’s panel where you hear about the potential impact a DUI can have on society. In some cases you may also be required to pay restitution to victims if your DUI caused injury or property damage. Depending on the facts of the case, the court can also impose other conditions of probation that it thinks are necessary to make sure you don’t reoffend.

Assuming you complete all of the tasks in a timely fashion, your probation will transition into a dormant status once you’ve completed each requirement. If you don’t do the conditions quickly, you can face potential probation sanctions from the court for failing to follow the court’s instructions. Repeated failures can also lead a bench probation to be converted into an active probation.

Active probation is typically much more involved. You will be assigned a probation officer who actively monitors that you are following the court’s orders and not violating any laws. You can be required to regularly meet with your probation officer. You may also be required to randomly submit to alcohol and drug urinalysis testing. Modern urine tests can test some drugs for weeks after use and can test for alcohol usage for up to a week. If you are found to have violated the terms of your probation, you can face sanctions from the court (i.e., jail, house arrest, or work crew). Furthermore, your probation officer can order you to come in for surprise visits. You might be at work and ordered to drop everything and come in the same day. Obviously, this can negatively affect your job if your employer cannot afford to have you randomly unavailable for work.

Although probation is five years for a DUI, the court does have discretion to allow you to get off of probation early where you have completed all of your conditions of probation problem-free. Also, you can petition the court to move an active probation down to bench probation if you can prove to them that active probation is no longer necessary.
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3 – License Suspension

Being charged with a DUI can lead to a suspension of your license both administratively and criminally. If you are charged with a DUI and either blow over the legal limit or refuse to take the breath test at the police station or jail, the Department of Licensing will take action to suspend your license. They will try to suspend your license for 90 days if you simply blow over the legal limit. They will try to suspend your license for one year if you refuse the breath test.

Additionally, if you are convicted of a DUI in court, your license can be suspended for 90 days, one year, two years, or more based on the circumstances.

You might be able to avoid a license suspension if you challenge the administrative action against you and ultimately don’t get a DUI conviction. If you want to challenge the administrative suspension, you must submit a request for hearing within seven days of your arrest. If you wait too long to challenge the suspension, you lose the right to challenge the suspension.

It is also important to remember that simply getting your license suspended doesn’t mean you won’t be able to drive. Washington offers a restricted license that will allow you to continue to drive over the term of the suspension. That Ignition Interlock License requires you install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle and obtain SR-22 insurance. Despite these downsides, the license will let you drive under no time or purpose restrictions, so you can continue to drive wherever life requires you to.

Refusing to take a breath test in a DUI case can cause you a two year license suspension in the criminal case on a first offense. This is a lot longer than the potential 90 day suspension for simply blowing over the legal limit. Additionally, a DUI refusal conviction requires more jail than a conviction for a regular DUI charge.

Despite this, a DUI refusal case can be harder to prove in trial for the prosecution. Without a breath test over the legal limit, a jury may be left wondering whether they actually proved you were impaired. Although a refusal can be argued as evidence of guilt, it is far less reliable as evidence than a breath test proving you were over the legal limit.
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4 – Ignition Interlock Device

If you are convicted of a DUI in Washington, you will be required to obtain an ignition interlock device. An ignition interlock device is a breath testing machine that goes into your car to make sure you don’t drink and drive.

Washington law requires that you obtain an ignition interlock device for your vehicle for one year for a first offense. For a second offense with a previous ignition interlock requirement, the term jumps to five years. For a third requirement, you have to have the device for ten years. Additionally, you can only drive a vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device for that required period. Until you can show proof that you had the device installed for the required term, being caught driving without an ignition interlock device is itself a criminal offense and will be a violation of your DUI probation. Startlingly, each violation of this condition requires a 30-day sentence for your violation of probation.

The take away: just don’t risk it.

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5 – A DUI license suspension will require SR-22 insurance for 36-months

A license suspension resulting from a DUI will require that you obtain SR-22 insurance. SR-22 insurance is additional coverage based on your high risk driving record. Once you can get your license reinstated, you must maintain proof with the Department of Licensing that you have this additional insurance coverage. If you let it lapse, your license will be re-suspended until you provide proof that SR-22 has been again obtained.
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If You Have Been Charged With A DUI In Clark County or Vancouver WA, Time Is Of The Essence!

Call Our Office To Speak With Attorney Roger Priest Immediately.

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Can the Judge Waive My Criminal Fines and Fees?

Dealing With High Criminal Court Costs

By Criminal Defense & Personal Injury Attorney Roger Priest

Criminal Fines and Fees
Criminal Fines and Fees Can Leave You Down and Out

In the recent case of State v. Blazina, the Supreme Court of Washington considered whether legal financial obligations assessed against two criminal defendants were properly imposed. RCW 10.01.160(3) states that courts cannot order defendants to pay criminal court costs unless the defendant is or will be able to pay them. Courts are required to consider a defendant’s financial resources and the burden that payment of costs will impose on a defendant before they can be assessed.

Read more