Evidence That Can Be Used Against You in a DUI Case

When charged in a DUI case, defendants may fear the case will be open-and-shut if an officer administered a blood-alcohol test.

However, more evidence than just a breathalyzer test can be used against you, and understanding what type of evidence will be used can help you and your legal team mount the best defense.

What Evidence Would A Prosecutor Use Against Me In A DUI Case?

If you’ve been charged with a DUI, the evidence collection begins with the arresting officer who first pulled you over. That officer’s reports and testimonies will go into why they pulled you over, what they observed at the scene, and anything you said, as well as any on-scene tests such as a breathalyzer or other field sobriety tests.

Regarding the officer’s testimony, anything they observed, such as the smell of liquor coming from your breath, if you slurred your speech, or had bloodshot eyes, can be used as evidence against you.

Any evidence of open beer cans or empty liquor bottles from the scene, as well as reports of you driving recklessly, such as swerving or drifting off the road, can also paint the picture you were driving while intoxicated.

In addition to the officer’s verbal testimony, if the officer had a bodycam on or a dashboard camera on their vehicle, the prosecutor may use any footage against you.

Any witnesses who saw you driving may also be called to illustrate reckless driving.

Can I Be Charged for a DUI Without Blood Alcohol Evidence?

You can still be charged with a DUI, even if you deny a blood alcohol test. If you refused the breathalyzer test when pulled over for suspected drunk driving, some consequences would follow, such as an automatic license suspension.

If your case goes to trial, the prosecutor will likely argue to the judge or jury that you refused the test to hide the fact you were intoxicated.

What Should I Do If I’ve Been Charged With A DUI?

If you’ve been charged with a DUI, contact the VanWa law offices right away. Just because you’ve been arrested doesn’t mean you will be convicted.

Our expert legal team understands the nuances of DUI laws in Washington State, working on both sides of the aisle.

We offer clients free consultations to help you get started in defending your case.

After getting a better grasp on your case, we can decide to argue the test results were inadmissible if law enforcement violated your constitutional rights in any way or how the officer, who collected the sample, did not comply with federal or state procedures.

Are You Being Harassed By Your Accuser?

If you’ve been accused of a crime, one of the first pieces of advice your lawyer will give you is not to contact your accuser. However, sometimes the tables turn, and your accuser starts harassing you.

People often use the term “harassment,” however, in the legal world, a specific definition needs to be met in order for law enforcement to step in and help the harassment stop.

What Constitutes A Harassment Charge?

Someone can be charged with harassment if they knowingly threaten to:

  • Inflict bodily injury immediately or in the future to the person threatened or to any other person;
  • Kill your or someone else;
  • Cause physical damage to the property of a person that is not their own property;
  • Physical confine or restrain the person they’re threatening or someone else;
  • Commit any act that would harm anyone physically or mentally.

Harassment can take on many forms, such as cyberbullying, stalking, hate crimes, psychological and sexual harassment. Often a prosecutor can bring domestic violence and harassment charges together.

What Are The Penalties For Harassment In Washington State?

Depending on the level of the harassment charges, a person convicted will either face misdemeanor or felony charges.

Harassment often qualifies as a Class C felony, which can carry a jail sentence of up to five years and a fine up to $10,000. When the harassment charge qualifies as a misdemeanor, it can be punishable for up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Before an official ruling is made in a court, if your accuser is making you feel uncomfortable, you can petition the court for a restraining order.

An anti-harassment order is a particular restraining order only available to victims of harassment.

The anti-harassment order bans the respondent from contacting you, forbids the respondent from keeping you under surveillance, and requires the respondent to stay a stated distance away from your home or workplace. Any state can enforce this order, and you can get the forms at your District Courthouse. However, the court hearings necessary to grant this order may take up to two weeks to schedule.

If you need emergency protection, you can file for a “temporary order for anti-harassment.” The judge will hear your reasoning for requiring such an order the same day.

What Should I Do If My Accuser Is Harassing Me?

If you feel your accuser is harassing you, contact our legal team at VanWa Legal right away.

We offer prospective clients free consultations. During our session, we can discuss how you’re being treated and if it fits the legal definition of harassment.

What is the Difference Between a Misdemeanor and Felony DUI in Washington State?

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can incur heavy fines, license suspension, and even jail time. However, certain factors determine whether Washington State’s legal system deems your infraction a misdemeanor or felony.

Understanding the difference between the two and the contributing factors to how the court classifies a misdemeanor versus felony DUI can help you defend yourself and prepare for what’s ahead.

How Does Washington State Determine Between A Misdemeanor And Felony DUI Charge?

Washington State law determines between a misdemeanor and felony DUI charges based on several factors, such as how many DUI convictions you’ve had in the past, if drugs were involved, and your Blood Alcohol Content test and results.

Felony charges possess more serious consequences than misdemeanors, and typically an “aggravating factor” must be present for the prosecutor to elevate the charge to a felony level. Aggravating factors can include driving without a license, previous DUI convictions, etc.

A court will elevate a DUI conviction to a felony if:

  • the driver has four or more prior DUI related offenses within the last 10 years;
  • a driver has a previous conviction for vehicular assault or vehicular homicide while under the influence;
  • a driver has a prior felony DUI conviction.

What Are The Main Differences Between A Misdemeanor And Felony DUI Charge?

The main differences between a misdemeanor and felony DUI charge rest in the severity of the charges and the consequences. However, all Washington State DUI convictions require some minimum jail time.

In Washington State, a misdemeanor DUI’s punishment ranges from 24 hours to 90 days in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. Your BAC results or if you refused a BAC test will determine the jail sentence length.

A gross misdemeanor’s punishments can range from 364 days in jail and up to a $5,000 fine.

If you’re charged with a felony, the punishment is sentenced under the Sentencing Reform Act guidelines. Under the SRA, your prior DUI convictions within the ten-year window count as “points” against you. With three prior points, the judge will sentence you to at least 13 months of jail time. Felonies are also charged in Superior Court, opposed to District Court for misdemeanors.

What Should I Do If I Am Being Charged With A DUI In Washington State?

If you have been charged with a DUI in Washington State, contact VanWa’s offices right away. Our team has vast experience navigating the complex DUI laws of Washington State.

VanWa’s legal team offers free consultations to prospective clients so you can understand how the details of your case may affect the result.

What Is Legally Allowed by the Police In a Traffic Stop In Washington State?

While driving down the road, few things cause more anxiety than seeing flashing red and blue lights in your rearview mirror.

Maybe you knew you were speeding to get home, or you’re unsure what you did to warrant the police pulling you over.

Regardless, given recent social movements highlighting injustices committed by the police, you may be wondering what police can legally do at a traffic stop and what you should do to help the encounter go smoothly.

What Should I Do If I Am Pulled Over In A Traffic Stop By The Police In Washington State?

If the police pull you over in a traffic stop in Washington State, pull to the right side of the road as quickly but safely as possible. Turn off your engine and wait for the police to approach your car. Refusing to pull over will incur heavy fines and punishment.

Don’t do anything you weren’t asked to do. This even includes giving license and registration until you are asked. If the officer requests you exit your vehicle, do so slowly.

The Washington State Attorney General’s office recommends, “Above all, be cooperative, patient, and polite, following all orders. If you feel that the police mistreated you in any way, call the agency for which the police officer works.

What Can A Police Officer Legally Do At A Traffic Stop In Washington State?

Police officers who make a traffic stop — regardless if you feel the stop was warranted or not at the moment — are legally allowed to do the following:

  • Question the driver
  • Question any passengers
  • Search your vehicle if you’re being arrested, consent to it, or a crime is being committed in plain view

Police officers may make what’s called a “Terry Stop” of vehicles. If the officer reasonably suspects that you committed, are committing, or are about to commit a crime, they can pull you over. The police officer is not required to have probable cause to arrest the individual at that time — reasonable suspicion that the individual is involved in criminal activity is enough.

However, a police officer must always inform you why they pulled you over.

What Can I Say No To During A Traffic Stop In Washington State?

During a traffic stop, you can legally say no to a police officer in the following situations:

  • You lawfully own your vehicle; you may challenge the seizure of the car.
  • You were occupying a parked vehicle, and an officer requests you open the window; you are allowed to refuse social contact.
  • You may deny a sobriety test, but know you will likely face a license suspension and fines.

Police officers also can’t prolong your traffic stop beyond the time “reasonably necessary to complete the stop and write the ticket.”

What Should I Do If I Think The Police Broke The Law During A Traffic Stop In Washington State?

If you think a police officer did something not legally allowed during a traffic stop in Washington State, try to get the person’s full badge number while on the scene. Next, contact an attorney at VanWa’s offices.

We can offer you a free consultation, so you understand what your rights were and guide you on the proper next steps.

Reinstating Your Driver’s License After a Second DUI in Washington State

After being charged or, in many cases, only arrested with a second DUI in Washington State, the Washington State Department of Licensing or courts revoke your driver’s license. Losing your license can affect your ability to get to work, care for your family, and generally disrupt your life.

Enlisting the help of a law firm with a deep understanding of Washington State DUI law can help you reinstate your driver’s license quickly.

Does Washington State Revoke Your Driver’s License After A Second DUI?

Generally, after someone has been caught driving under the influence (DUI) for the second time in seven years, the court will revoke their driver’s license. How long your license is suspended depends on the conditions you were caught under.

It’s important to note that second offenders who are caught driving with a BAC of .08% or more or with a THC concentration of at least five nanograms per milliliter of blood typically face a two-year license suspension.

After being pulled over, if you are a second offender and refuse chemical testing, you will likely face an administrative license suspension of two years or until you turn 21, whichever is longer.

If you have been convicted of a DUI for a second time, regardless of when your prior offense occurred, the Washington State Dept. of Licensing requires you to have ignition interlock devices (IIDs) on your vehicles at least five years.

If a passenger under the age of 16 was in the vehicle at the time of your second offense, you would be required to have IIDs for at least five-and-a-half years.

How Do I Reinstate My License After It’s Been Revoked After A Second Time?

After your second DUI offense, the Dept. of Licensing will set a time for your license to be suspended. Your first option is to let this time frame pass and then provide the court with an SR-22 Financial Responsibility Form and pay a $75 fee. You may also need to pay the fee for a new license.

Your second option is to seek treatment and request a hearing. When you’re convicted of a drug or alcohol-related offense, you will be required to obtain an Alcohol/Drug Assessment Treatment Report from a Washington State certified agency.

At the hearing, you’re allowed to have representation. During the hearing, your level of Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) at the time of the offense will be considered, as well as if you were advised of your rights, if you were operating the vehicle at the time of arrest, and if the officer had reasonable grounds to assume you were driving under the influence.

If the hearing examiner does not rule in your favor, you have the right to file an appeal.

What Should I Do If My Driver’s License Has Been Revoked Because Of A DUI?

If the courts or the Washington State Dept. of Licensing have revoked your driver’s license due to your second DUI offense, contact the Van Wa law firm right away. We offer free consultations to help you obtain the best legal defense for your case.

Our team can help you start the process of getting your license and your freedom back.

Non-Legal Help For Repeat DUI Offenders

When police charge someone with a second DUI, a more profound issue exists — the person likely abuses alcohol and or drugs. Someone who has been arrested multiple times with a DUI is known as a “repeat offender,” and non-legal remedies exist to help them receive the help they need.

What Are The Typical Penalties For A DUI Charge?

DUI charges typically carry penalties such as license suspension, fines, and possible jail time. Diversion programs exist to help rehabilitate the person charged and lessen the criminal charges; however, these are typically for first-time offenders.

For repeat offenders, programs exist to enlist them in an intense supervision regimen to change their behavior and reduce the likelihood of recidivism — as well as avoid jail time.

What Are The Requirements Of Repeat DUI Offender Programs?

The programs meant to help rehabilitate repeat DUI offenders require an extensive commitment from the convicted person and have many requirements that need to be met. While the person must make a significant commitment, the court’s goal is to help the person build healthier habits and avoid entering the jail system.

A typical program will require the participant to provide proof of employment, obey a 10 p.m. curfew, allow a probation officer to make random home visits, and submit to random drug and alcohol testings. The program also requires the completion of a 90-day group treatment program.

According to the American Addiction Center, behavioral therapy, such as group treatment, is one of the most widely used addiction treatment methodologies. Their website states, “it is highly effective and can be used in individual, group, and family settings. Approaches focus on various aspects of addiction, including motivation toward recovery, developing relapse prevention skills, substituting negative and destructive behaviors with healthy and productive ones, offering incentives for desirable behaviors, and improving relationships with others.”

After a person completes these programs, their court usually restores their license with minimal restrictions. The hope is treatment programs also provide a better chance at long-term rehabilitation than jail time for the person suffering from addiction.

What Should I Do If I’ve Been Charged With A Second DUI?

If you’ve been charged with a DUI, classifying yourself as a repeat offender, reach out to VanWa’s law offices right away. We make it our goal to help offenders receive treatment for their addiction and avoid unnecessary jail time.

Our legal team has decades of experience building DUI defenses for clients in Washington. We offer free consultations to clients to help you better understand your chances of winning your case.

Information You Need to Defend Yourself Against a DUI Charge

Perhaps after a fun night out at a bar with friends, you thought you watched your drinking and decided to drive home. However, on the drive home, you were pulled over by a police officer — or worse, you were in an accident involving other people.

If you’ve been charged with a DUI, it’s not an open and shut case; an experienced lawyer can help you defend yourself against a DUI charge.

How Can I Defend Myself Against A DUI Charge?

If you’ve been charged with a DUI, hire a lawyer as your first step. With the help of an attorney who is familiar with your local DUI laws, your defense can include strategies ranging from challenging the chemical tests, proving the officer testimony isn’t accurate, to challenging if the officer had probable cause in pulling you over in the first place.

If your lawyer decides to challenge any chemical tests administered at the scene, first, they’ll explore if the officer informed you of implied consent advisement. If you agree to take a breathalyzer or other chemical test and fail, your license will automatically be suspended in many states. It is the officer’s responsibility to inform you of these consequences before administering the test. Some states also require the officer to give the driver a choice of breath or blood test at the scene. If the officer didn’t offer this option, the court could throw out the test results.

Next, your lawyer will ensure the officer or person administering the test followed state protocols and all the tests were calibrated correctly, and they followed the medical protocol.

The next strategy will utilize any other eyewitnesses to dispute officer testimony about the driver’s erratic behavior or state.

Finally, your lawyer will explore if there was probable cause to pull you over in the first place, which led to the officer administering a chemical test, and if the officer administered your Miranda rights.

What Should I Do If I Need To Defend Myself Against A DUI Charge?

If you’ve been charged with a DUI, call the VanWa offices right away to help you build your legal strategy.

VanWa’s attorneys have defended thousands of DUI cases in front of Washington State courts. Washington State’s DUI laws are nuanced, and a typical DUI case may require multiple expert witnesses and require scientific evidence. We know a good trial attorney is detail-oriented, and that can make or break your case.

We know this can already be challenging for our clients, so we try to provide support through a free initial consultation to understand your case better. If you decide to work with us, we offer flat-fee pricing regardless of how many hearings or work your case requires.

Plaintiff’s Legal Responsibilities in a Domestic Abuse Case

For victims suffering from domestic abuse, removing themselves from the situation can be challenging enough. When victims decide to pursue legal recourse against their abuser, they undertake some legal responsibilities in the domestic abuse case.

What Qualifies As Domestic Abuse?

Depending on the plaintiff’s relationship with the accused, the type of charges and responsibilities that fall on the plaintiff will differ.

For the law to recognize the case as domestic abuse, the plaintiff and defendant must be either married, in a romantic relationship, share a child, living together, or related by blood.

The act of domestic abuse can range from physical abuse, such as slapping and pushing, stalking, or even rape or murder.

What Are A Plaintiff’s Legal Responsibilities In A Domestic Abuse Case?

If a victim wants a protective order or restraining order against their abuser, the victim will need to appear in court. The initial hearing does not require the defendant to be present.

During this hearing, you will need to provide the court with the history of your relationship with the abuser and any evidence of the alleged abuse to help the judge decide if a protective order is warranted. Strong evidence to support your case includes photographs of any injuries, medical records, dates, time, and abuse location.

Once the court notifies you of the temporary order, the defendant may not contact you or see you. The defendant will need to be present at future hearings in regards to the restraining order.

Then, the state or county prosecutor decides to charge the alleged abuser with domestic abuse charges. Often, the court will subpoena victims to testify, at which point during the hearing, you’ll be questioned by the prosecutor and the defendant’s lawyer.

Plaintiffs can choose not to testify; however, since the defendants have the legal right to confront their accuser in court, choosing not to testify can weaken or even dismiss the case.

If the court convicts the abuser, victims often may give a statement before the court, often known as a “victim impact statement,” to help influence the abuser’s sentencing.

What Should I Do If I’m Involved In A Domestic Abuse Case?

If you’re involved in a domestic abuse case, contact VanWa’s legal offices right away. Our top rated attorney and legal team boasts decades of a successful track record in criminal cases.

VanWa offers free consultations to help you understand the services we provide and for us to evaluate your case and offer some guidance.

Tactics Used by Prosecutors in Domestic Violence Cases

In domestic violence cases, child custody, eviction, and jail time are at stake. Approximately 1.3 million women are a victim of domestic violence from their intimate partner each year.

What Is Domestic Violence?

Before understanding how prosecutors will approach a domestic violence case, it’s important to understand what domestic violence encompasses.

Domestic violence is a “catch-all phrase” for murder, assault, stalking, kidnapping, harassment, and more, between people that are blood relatives, married, in an intimate romantic relationship, or lived together.

What Tactics Do Prosecutors Use In Domestic Violence Cases?

Before the trial even starts, prosecutors will hold a hearing for a temporary restraining order to ensure the victim is protected. The defendant does not need to be present during this hearing, and the police will serve them with the order after the judge has signed the order.

First, they will use gather evidence to prove their case. Prosecutors will gather the following evidence to help earn a conviction:

  • Phone records and 911 calls
  • Domestic violence reports
  • Photos of the scene of the crime showing any struggle
  • Medical records and reports that show any injuries the plaintiff suffered
  • Written reports from victims and police officers out of court
  • Compile a list of witnesses who can testify to the violence

Prosecutors will avoid relying on victim testimony alone. The victim may fear the defendant and not want to testify. The victim may not wish to cooperate, and jurors may consider that the victim could be lying.

If the defendant attempts to contact the victim, the prosecutor will employ a witness intimidation strategy by the defendant. This can land the defendant will a harsher sentence, fines, or more jail time.

What Should I Do If I Am Involved In A Domestic Violence Case?

If you are involved in a domestic violence case, hire an experienced attorney right away. VanWa Legal can provide you with the representation you need to navigate through this trying time.

VanWa Legal’s team has handled thousands of cases and a proven track record of winning jury trials.

Don’t fret about paying for our services. First, call our offices to schedule a free consultation. One of our lawyers will contact you within 24 hours to discuss your case. If you decide to work with us, we provide clients with the option of flexible, flat-fee payment plans and can work with you to ensure you can afford the quality representation you deserve.

Information You Need to Mount Your Defense Against a Domestic Abuse Charge

Information You Need to Mount Your Defense Against a Domestic Abuse Charge

Being wrongfully accused of domestic abuse can alter your entire life and feel overwhelming. Hiring an experienced lawyer right away can help you gather evidence to defend yourself against a domestic abuse charge.

What Happens When Someone Is Charged With Domestic Abuse?

If a spouse or family member has accused you of domestic abuse and law enforcement has brought a charge, a court will first put a temporary restraining order in place. The plaintiff can request an ex parte court proceeding, which means the court will hear the plaintiff’s evidence without the defendant present or being notified. To put it bluntly: this proceeding will happen without your knowledge, and then you’ll be served with a temporary restraining order.

Temporary restraining orders typically last ten days. During that time, law enforcement must notify the defendant, and the plaintiff must request an official court hearing where all parties attend.

What Strategies Can Be Used To Defend Against A Domestic Abuse Charge?

Working with an experienced lawyer who possesses an in-depth knowledge of domestic abuse laws will help you curate the best defense for your charge.

First, your lawyer may push for the judge to dismiss the case if the plaintiff’s complaint does not genuinely constitute domestic violence’s legal definition.

Next, your lawyer will check to see if the jurisdictional requirements have been met. This means the plaintiff and defendant must have one of the following relationships:

  • A spouse, former spouse, or former household member
  • The victim of domestic violence must be at least 18 years of age or older, or an emancipated minor, who is subjected to domestic violence by a spouse, former spouse, or any present or former household member
  • The victim and the defendant must have a child or soon be having a child together because one of the two is pregnant
  • The plaintiff and defendant are dating.

If these legal loopholes do not work, the two defenses that remain are self-defense and de minimis infractions. Your lawyer can argue you inflicted injuries on the plaintiff under self-defense because you were legitimately defending yourself against bodily harm.

With de minimis infractions, your lawyer will argue your actions were so minor it does not constitute being considered a criminal act.

What Are Possible Consequences Of A Domestic Abuse Conviction?

If convicted of domestic abuse, several severe consequences await. If convicted, you may face a hefty legal fine, eviction from your home if you currently live with the plaintiff, jail time, or even losing custody of your children.

Do not contact the plaintiff at any time during these proceedings, as this could increase your punishment.

What Should I Do If I Was Charged With Domestic Abuse?

If you have been charged with domestic abuse and feel you have been wrongfully accused, reach out to VanWa Legal’s offices right away. VanWa’s legal team offers free consultations to help you gather information on your case and understand your chances.

If you have been charged with domestic abuse, seek legal advice right away, as these court proceedings often happen quickly. We know that the legal system can feel overwhelming and complicated and want to use our legal expertise to help you defend yourself and get back to your life as soon as possible.