Learn the latest changes in DUI law and outcomes of cases around the state.
No Insurance? Think Twice Before You Drive
Fines and criminal charges can spiral if you're caught driving without car insurance, so you're considering not renewing to save money consider how quickly it can cost more than imagined.Read more →
Recent Vehicular Homicide Case Declared a Mistrial
In vehicular homicide cases the jury need not agree that the person was DUI or Reckless as long as all 12 agree that it was one or the other. They also must decide beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was the proximate cause of death. In this case, the jury did not agree the driver was the proximate case of death.Read more →
Have You Received A Cancellation Of Your Restricted License Without Reason?
After applying, being approved, and granted an Ignition Interlock License (IIL) many have received a letter advising them of their Restricted License being cancelled and told they are no longer eligible.Read more →
What You Need to Know About Your License After a DUI Arrest
When arrested for a DUI, not only do you have the stress of being booked into jail and mounting a DUI defense, but you also need to combat the Department of Licensing's (DoL) action against your driver's license, which is a daunting task and difficult experience for both drivers and defense lawyers alike.Read more →
WA Supreme Court Reverses "No Signal Required" Verdict
A dismissed a DUI case based upon a stop predicated upon a driver’s failure to activate a signal once in a designated turn lane was overturned by the WA State Supreme Court.Read more →
DUI Conviction Reversed Due to Improper Opinion Evidence
Filed WA State Court of Appeals Division Two October 15, 2019: Appellant Court Reverses Conviction Of DUI Due To Improper Opinion Evidence By Officer And Improper Use Of Preliminary Breath Test (PBT).Read more →
Hailey's Law Declared Unconstitutional
This week, the week of October 17, 2019, the Washington Supreme Court Declared the Mandatory Impound Law, After a DUI arrest Unconstitutional. The law is popularly known as Hailey’s Law.Read more →
No Search Warrant Required!
This past summer 2019 the Washington Court Of Appeals began to define what an "exigent circumstances" is, when confronted with a DUI investigation and warrantless blood draws.Read more →
Jonathan Comments on College Admissions Scandal on Global News
Even though I focus my practice on DUI Defense, Criminal Defense is my passion. When contacted by Global News and asked to comment on the systems and cases I was happy to do so.Read more →
Washington Appellant Court, Division 3 Finds That “No Signal Is Required When Turning From Designated Turn Lane”
The Washington Court of Appeals, Division Three dismissed a DUI case based upon a stop predicated upon a driver’s failure to activate a signal once in a dedicated turn lane.Read more →
Monumental change for DUI Arrested Drivers Effective January 1, 2019
Effective January 1, 2019, those arrested for DUI or Physical Control will only have seven (7) days to request a hearing with the Department of Licensing (DoL).Read more →
Interlock Devices — a Violation of Distracted Driving & New Electronic Device Laws?
Is A Department Of Licensing Required, or Court Ordered, Interlock Device A Violation Of Washington State Laws Regarding "Distracted Driving," Or The Newest "Electronic" Device Law?Read more →
July 2017 WA State DUI Law Implementations
July 2017 saw the implementation of changes to Washington State DUI laws, the most significant being a 4th charge in 10 years is now considered a felony.Read more →
The Law Of Minor In Possession (MIP)
A charge of MIP is much more than just possession. With summer in full swing, make sure you know the full extent of the DUI law regarding minors in possession.Read more →
DUI/ Impaired Driving Law Changes in the 2017 Regular Session
On July 23rd, extensive changes to WA State's DUI laws go into effect with the newly signed House Bill 1614. Learn what's been modified and how it might affect you and your case.Read more →
2017 DUI Law Amendments, Part 1
Every year the legislators seek to create new laws and tweak prior laws relating to alcohol and driving. What follows is a brief review of the proposals for additions and changes to WA State DUI Laws in 2017.Read more →
Drunken Driver Sentenced to 6 Years for Crash that Killed an Everson Man
A Whatcom County man was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison this week for vehicular homicide, but will stay out of prison on bond.Read more →
Long Awaited DUI Ruling Fails to Get it Right
At the conclusion of 2016, the Washington State Supreme Court finally released what can be described as one of the most anticipated and important rulings in Washington DUI since the early 1960's. The ruling was to decide whether public safety was more important than the individual rights of a Washington State citizen accused of DUI.Read more →
Whatcom County Vehicular Homicide Case Goes to Deliberation Today
After 6 days of witness testimony including the defendants where he claimed to only have had one beer, jurors will now be deliberating the outcome of this Whatcom County vehicular homicide case.Read more →
The Refusal of a Breath Test is Under Review: 4th Amendment Right or Criminal Action?
This past week, oral arguments at the United States Supreme Court were held on one of the most important issues in DUI law to date: Is refusing to provide a breath sample a separate criminal offense within a DUI charge?Read more →
DUI Legislation 2016
New DUI Laws are once again afoot. The DUI landscape is constantly changing, whether they be complete overhauls or subtle tweaks, there is not a year that goes by without DUI law amendments. This year there are 3 significant changes.Read more →
Breakthrough Therapy May Create New Legal Problems
We are now entering the slippery slope where medical marijuana patients will have to register with a drug database. As Ketamine has historically been known as a party drug, those using it for depression treatment might find themselves suddenly caught up in the aggressive drugged driving enforcement because they merely have it in their systems, and may soon have to register in a database as well.Read more →
You Have The Right To A Lawyer - You Just Do Not Have The Right To A Meaningful Discussion!
The first step in rule interpretation is to read it for its plain meaning. If its susceptible to more than one meaning then the Court will look to what they think it means. That is a pretty obvious approach and it makes sense. As I read the rule it all seems pretty obvious. . .once in custody of police, or in other words once a person is arrested they are to be afforded the opportunity to speak with a lawyer if they want to.Read more →
Do not let the title of this blog fool you, I am not discussing going on vacation and being arrested for DUI, rather I am talking about whether You can remove a DUI from Your criminal record.Read more →
Jonathan Inducted into Worldwide Registry
Worldwide Registry has just issued a press release celebrating Jonathan Rands' thirteen years of professional experience as an attorney. Jonathan was recently inducted into Worldwide Registry, anRead more →
Supreme Court revisits seizures and searches that violate 4th Amendment
This month the United States Supreme Court (USSC) issued a decision the revisits seizure and subsequent searches that violate citizen’s 4th Amendment Right to be free of unreasonable searches. For the last several months the USSC has been affirming our civil rights on the federal level, and in this day and age it is nice to see this jurisprudence.Read more →
What Is SR22 Insurance And Why Do I Need It?
SR22 is a form of insurance that proves or guarantees financial responsibility and this comes about by having had a license suspension or revocation imposed by the DOL. The most common method of a license suspension that triggers SR22 is a DUI arrest AND THEN A DOL ACTION THAT FOLLOWED. It is a common misconception of many that once arrest arrested for DUI you IMMEDIATELY suffer a license suspension or revocation.Read more →
The Presumption of Innocence
The corner stone of our criminal justice system and the Constitutions of County and States is a simple statement – an accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty, and the proof must also be that which is beyond a reasonable doubt. But that does not seem to be the case when it comes to DUI charges.Read more →
2014 DUI Laws Year in Review
2015! I’m a few days date in terms of discussing the New Year and the year in review but better late than never. Time is always of the essence because it feels like you need more, to finish that project or just make it to work on some days. Likewise it takes time to blog and write about the things that matter in my world. With that I will state that it is my new year’s goal to tell you all more about the rule of the law in the DUI world on a more regular basis. So with that promise and with no further delay let me review the busy world of DUI law that was 2014.Read more →
Why Are Lawyers So Expensive? Jonathan's Personal Take
A lawyers job, especially a criminal defense lawyers job is to defend the client at all costs. This means personally and professionally, the line between work hours and personal time is dim. In DUI defense not only does a client face jail time, but they face loss of license, loss of employment, loss of family sometimes, skyrocketing insurance rates, Ignition Interlock fees from 90 days to 10 years!Read more →
Defendants Right to Counsel in Jeopardy Thanks to Washington Appeals Court
It looks like the Appellant Court Of Washington has struck another blow to the rights of DUI defendant’s, as well as other charged with a crime who have the ability to invoke their right to counsel. Only this time, it is Division Two of the Appeals Court that has seen fit to erode another constitutional right, two right to be precise; The right to counsel and the right to confront witnesses. However, this second violation in this case, the right to confront will be addressed in the future, given the unintended length of this analyses.Read more →
Warrantless Searches Justified in Horrible Appeals Court Ruling
Search and Seizure law just took another turn from a constitutional exception to now being protected by the Constitution. Recently, the Washington State Supreme Court reaffirmed the role of Terry Searches. Prior to this case, State Of Washington v. Russell, the Court of Appeals, Division 1-issued a horrendous ruling and analyses in State v. Mecham.Read more →
Bellingham DUI Roadside Sobriety Tests Are Admissible But Maybe Not For Long
April of this year Division 1 of the Washington Court of Appeals not only ignored long standing precedent from the United States Supreme Court, but also, precedent from the WA State Supreme Court.Read more →
Riley v. California: The Constitutionality of Cell Phone Searches
Recently there has been a string of cases issued from the Nation's highest court, The United States Supreme Court, all the way to Washington State's Appellant Court. These rulings all revolve around your extremely private affairs. This series of blogs will not only connect the dots of these cases, but also reconnect us as my practice has taken me away from my previous regular posting.Read more →
What You Need to Know for Your DoL Hearing
When arrested for a DUI, not only do you have the stress of being booked into jail and mounting a DUI defense, but you also need to combat the Department of Licensing's (DoL) action against your driver's license, which is a daunting task and difficult experience for both drivers and defense lawyers alike.Read more →
The Right to Refuse: No Longer can the Exercise of your Right be Used Against You
The Right to Refuse: No Longer can the Exercise of your Right be Used Against YouRead more →
Not Your Average Beer Gut!
When we hear reports of DUI stops, and arrests, and then hear the breath or blood test results, far too many people forget about the presumption of innocence unfortunately. In fact, when people learn what I do they often ask, "how do you defend someone when you can see the test results show them to be guilty?;" Or more often they state: "isn't that unfortunate that you can stay busy doing that?" No not all! This exposes the problem with blind reliance on what is thought to be the truth.Read more →
Boating Under the Influence: Recent Updates to the Law
The world of Boating Under The Influence (BUI) recently received some new legislation thereby creating new law which came into effect last month and while the changes are for all intents and purposes, minor, they appear to be paving the way for future changes. The changes that are in the here and now are as follows. Related Podcast: What does the Law Say About Boating and Drinking? Gross Misdemeanor BUI is now a gross misdemeanor. By contrast, a misdemeanor is a crime...Read more →
United States Supreme Court Tells Police To “Get A Warrant.”
Recently, April 17, 2013, to be specific, the highest court in the land upheld the 4th Amendment Right of drivers suspected of DUI. The ruling, however, is limited to cases where police are looking to draw blood, and does not affect breath test cases in the same manner. The name of the case is Missouri v. McNeely. The facts of McNeeley were as follows: While on patrol at approximately 2:08 a.m., a Missouri police officer stopped Tyler McNeely’s truck after...Read more →
Liar Liar, Pants On Fire!
What follows is a re-post of a recent New York Times story. In most instances when I come across a story worthy of discussing, I will include a link and discuss it at a local level. However, in this instances the integrity of the article would be compromised and so with full accreditation here it is. The title is “Why Police Lie Under Oath.” It is written by MICHELLE ALEXANDER and published in the NY Times Feb 2, 2013. Thousands of people...Read more →
Department Of Licensing “Death Spiral”
I think it was Joe Walsh who famously penned the lyrics: “My Maserati does 185, I lost my license, now I don’t drive…” While Joe was correct in that speeding is one way to lose your license if there are numerous infractions, unpaid or not, there are other ways as well. Below is a review of the “major moving violations,” that contribute to the death spiral, and the creation, or evolution of the Driving While License Suspended, Third Degree, is...Read more →
Holiday Emphasis Patrol And New Year Begins With A Warning To “Drive Sober Or Get Pulled Over.”
It is 2013! Happy New year, and with the new year comes a new anti-DUI slogan of “Drive Sober Or Get Pulled Over,” and I am here to tell you that the “best DUI defense is to not Drink & Drive.” But how about 1 drink and then drive? After all, 1 drink won’t impact sobriety, right? 2 Drinks? The law is .08 so are you not sober at .08? Otherwise, what is the point of the .08 limit? My...Read more →
2012 DUI Legislative Changes: A Year In Review.
There has been much publicity and discussions dedicated to the voter’s will and I-502, but not too long ago, August 1, 2012 to be exact, there were numerous changes to the DUI and Physical Control law that took with little notoriety with the exception of the criminalization of inhalants. What follows is list of all the changes that took effect and to some degree what effect they have had thus far in the world of DUI. Give or take a subsection...Read more →
New Marijuana Law Legalizes But Also Criminalizes.
The New Approach to marijuana use has begun, and December 6, 2012 is the commencement of the legalization of one behavior and the criminalization of another. Specifically, there is a brand new approach to the previously non-existent drug limit in terms of DUI. The new law creates a threshold limit for DUI-Drugs, specifically Marijuana. The concept of DUI by way of drugs is nothing new in the DUI world, but, now there is a THC threshold limit. However, this new...Read more →
Declining To Participate In Any Tests Is The Justification For No DUI Charges Of Judge Despite Typical DUI Evidence.
There is nothing better to bring a dormant blog back online than an outrageous issue. In this instance, it is the ridiculous and outrageous issue of the State of Washington refusing to file DUI charges against Judge Ryan. For those who have not read or heard about this, a link to one of the stories is here. This is outrageous to the point of ridiculousness because the facts of his case, or non-case as it may be, are no less...Read more →
August 17, 2012 To September 3, 2012 Whatcom County Law Enforcement Agencies Will Coordinate DUI Emphasis Patrols.
DUI enforcement campaigns take on many different labels: “Drive Hammered, Get Nailed,” “Nighttime Seat belt Emphasis,” “Target Zero,” “Over The Limit,Under Arrest,” and even “Click It Or Ticket.”Read more →
Understanding ARIDE & Standardized Field Sobriety Tests as a DUI Lawyer
Recently I completed ARIDE training to further understand the DUI investigation process. While this knowledge is something that is generally learned through advanced training sessions, hard-fought courtroom battles, DUI Detection and Standardized DUI Investigation training, and roadside sobriety test training, hands-on labs, and virtually any other form of legal education, it always pays to know more than those who simply carry out the training.Read more →
Courts And Law Enforcement Working To Erode “Right” To Refuse Tests
Each day people are arrested for DUI in Bellingham, Ferndale, Lynden, Mt. Vernon – all throughout Whatcom County and Skagit County – and are unsure what to do. At the first possible moment, when law enforcement begins to investigate, you will need to insist on an experienced and intelligent DUI attorney to help answer questions and advise you through such a critical process. If you are arrested for DUI in Washington State you will be asked to provide a sample...Read more →
Highest State Court To Review Challenge To Suspended Driving Third Degree Case
Police are busy across Whatcom County and Skagit County writing traffic tickets for various traffic and non-moving infractions on a daily basis. When citizens fail to pay traffic tickets Washington’sRead more →
Bellingham DUI Lawyer, Jonathan Rands Honored As 2012 Super Lawyer – Rising Star
Since 2006, Jonathan has been named By Law & Politic Magazine as a Super Lawyer-Rising Star. Jonathan has received this prestigious honor 7 times. The honor is one that is based upon reputation among peers for skill, knowledge, ethical standards, and customer service. The criteria for selection is as follows. The General Survey All Lawyers, state-wide, are asked to nominate the best attorneys who are 40 or under, or who have been practicing for 10 years or less. They are...Read more →
Jonathan Rands, Bellingham DUI Defense Attorney Named As Finalist In 2012 American Business Awards.
The 10th annual Stevie® Awards will be presented on September 17 in San Francisco and at that awards ceremony, Jonathan Rands, Bellingham DUI Defense attorney, located in BELLINGHAM, WA is named as aRead more →
Anatomy of a DUI: Processing at the Jail or Detention Facility & What is Next
Booking into Jail or Release for ArraignmentAfter submitting (or refusing) to a breath or blood test the officer will decide whether or not you will be booked into jail or released with an order toRead more →
Anatomy of a DUI: A DUI Arrest & Breath Test Procedures
Formal Arrest When a law enforcement officer has determined he has probable cause to arrest you for the crime of Driving Under the Influence a typical series of events ensues. Understand that each officer’s customs (good or bad; legal or not) vary and this is a general overview of what to expect. First, an officer will likely tell you to turn around and place your hands behind your back and the officer will apply handcuffs to you. If this command...Read more →
Anatomy of a DUI: The Pre-Arrest Screening
Whether the stop of your car occurs in Bellingham, Mount Vernon, Island County, or anywhere in Washington, once the officer has made a decision to stop the car for some traffic violation there is a face to face contact. In the DUI Detection world and specific DUI training, this is a phase where the officer is supposed to decide if only a traffic infraction should be issued, or if something “else” is going. Meaning, the thought process for the officer...Read more →
Facial Recognition Software
The State of Washington uses facial recognition software in coordination with their driver license, identicard and Enhanced Driver License programs. The Department of Licensing states that “Individuals who fraudulently obtain Washington state driver licenses and ID cards present a serious risk to the safety and economic health of our residents and businesses.” While identity fraud is a serious societal problem that needs to be effectively combated, this ‘mission statement’ can lead to less than effective results. The facial recognition software...Read more →
Bellingham DUI Attorney, Jonathan Rands Completes American Chemical Society Chromatography Training At Axion Labs
The American Chemical Society (ACS) is a scientific society based in the United States that supports scientific inquiry in the field of chemistry. Founded in 1876 at New York University, the ACS currently has more than 164,000 members at all degree-levels and in all fields of chemistry, chemical engineering, and related fields. It is the world’s largest scientific society and one of the leading sources of authoritative scientific information. The group holds a congressional charter under Title 36 of the...Read more →
Anatomy Of A DUI: The Exit
Stop And Exit After law enforcement has made the decision to perform a traffic stop on your vehicle the investigation really has begun. Officers are trained at their law enforcement academy to begin observing indications of criminal activity immediately. Of course, one reason is for officer safety, but between the hours of about 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. officers are always on the lookout for DUI drivers. In the formal training of officers “Phase 1” of DUI detection has begun...Read more →
Anatomy Of A DUI: From Stop Through Breath/Blood Test & Beyond.
In an effort to expose and explain some DUI myths, this will be a series of posts dedicated to explaining how a "typical" DUI begins, and then the course it runs through DUI Prosecutions. Along the way, I hope to point out a citizens rights, obligations, and some systemic flaws. This will be a series of shorter posts in hopes of posting frequently (weekly) in small segments. All DUI prosecutions begin with law enforcement contact in some way shape or form.Read more →
Annual DUI Emphasis For St. Patty’s Day Set To Begin
Every year there are events (Superbowl), Holidays (Christmas, and New Years), and special occasion activities (St. Patrick’s, 5th of May, Halloween, etc.), where State and Local Law Enforcement agencies coordinate and send out DUI emhasis patrols. As the fist special occasion post new years comes upon us, St. Patrick’s Day, an annual local law enforcement agencies will again be taking part in increased patrols to seek out drunk drivers starting March 8 and ending just after St. Patrick’s Day. Starting March 8...Read more →
A Failure To Respect Driver’s And Citizen Rights Is Unacceptable And A Serious Violation.
What ever Happened To Respect And Manners? I have viewed this video on several different sites, and suffice it to say that it has gone viral. I have not been able to confirm the authenticity of the video, but it appears to be an officer’s dash camera and depending on the state laws in the Officer’s jurisdiction, would be subject to public disclosure. It sounds as though the officer mentions “Charleston” and so South Carolina might be a good guess...Read more →
Standardized Field Sobriety Tests: Voluntary, Unfair, And Designed For Trickery.
In 2006 I attended the 24 hour course that all law enforcement officer’s attend to teach them how to “Detect DUI’s.” The training was invaluable. I have used it dozens of times to demystify and deconstruct the process for clients and juries alike. This month I attended the full course again. A refresher course would have sufficed, or perhaps I could have done the instructor course thus allowing me to teach others, but I choose to refresh with the entire...Read more →
United State Supreme Court Revisits 6th Amendment Right To Confront Witnesses. There Will Be State Consequences.
Over the past 10 years the Supreme Court has been interpreting the meaning of confronting a witness. The most recent published analyses was the case of New Mexico v. Bullcoming. That case was specifically a DUI case and the absence of a witness who actually analyzed the blood of the defendant. While this case has had some impact on how the State presents witnesses and subsequent evidence, Judges have not been able to apply the concepts for fear of not...Read more →
Jonathan Rands Completes Annual DUI Defense Advanced Training To Ensure Fair Trial And Use Of Best Evidence.
Late this past summer as well as last month I attended 2 annual 3 day seminars and conference dedicated to trial skills and techniques, as well as advanced understanding and challenging various types of advanced evidence issues in DUI cases. The first of these two was presented by The National College Of DUI Defense, an organization I have been a General Member of since 2005. The conference was held at Harvard Law School and keynote speaker was F.Lee. Bailey. College General...Read more →
DUI Conviction Mandatory Breath Test Fee Increased To 200.00. Ever Wonder Where The Money Goes?
Until recently, the fine for a person who is convicted of a DUI, or crime reduced from DUI were all required to pay 125.00; traditionally this is called the “Breath Test” Fee. This fee is assessed regardless of whether a person actually provided a sample, or refused the test as they are statutorily permitted to do. Upon conviction, when fees and fines for the crime, regardless of whether it was reduced, were all totaled it came to $866.00 for a...Read more →
Washington D.U.I Arrest Now Gets Mandatory Vehicle “Lock-Up!”
Unlike your driver’s license, which may not be suspended, revoked, or otherwise “lost” when you are arrested for a DUI, your car is not so lucky as of July 22, 2011.An Arrest for DUI (RCW 46.61.506)Read more →
United States Supreme Court Case Requires The Right To Confront Witnesses Even In DUI Cases.
Last month the United States Supreme Court (USSC) took another anticipated step in preserving one of the most fundamental and important rights that an accused person is afforded under the Constitution of The United States. The recent case issued by the USSC of Bullcoming v. New Mexico followed in the path of Crawford v. Washington, 541 U. S. 36, 59, and Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, 557 U. S. ___, in clearly defining the right of confrontation, and in so doing, also...Read more →
Bellingham DUI Attorney, Jonathan Rands Honored With Community Service Award From The Association Of Washington Business
The Association of Washington Business today recognized 16 Washington employers that have made volunteerism and community service a priority for their businesses and their employees. Association of Washington Business, formed in 1904, the Association of Washington Business is Washington’s oldest and largest statewide business association, and includes more than 7,400 members representing 650,000 employees. AWB serves as both the state’s chamber of commerce and the manufacturing and technology association. While its membership includes major employers like Boeing, Microsoft and Weyerhaeuser...Read more →
Another Legislative Session, Another Set Of Changes To The DUI Laws
State Capitol. It seems like every year, the previous year’s DUI law changes were simply not enough, so there is more “tinkering” with the DUI statutory landscape. Changes that fix prior legislative oversights,or legislation that becomes is impossible or impractical to actually implement is understandable. Inevitably, however, when the legislature revisits these, it seems to that other changes just have to be made. In fact this past legislative session, some of the most useless and ridiculous bills were proposed and thankfully died at some legislative stage (Roadblocks and Scarlett Letter License plates).Read more →
Bellingham DUI Statistics Misleading.
This past weekend the Western Front and local News Radio, reported the following story: The Washington State Liquor Control Board recently released a list saying 38 people who were arrested for a DUI in 2010 told police they had their last drink at Rumors. Just behind Rumors, 30 people said they had their last drink at The Royal Inn. While this might not surprise some Western students familiar with the Bellingham nightlife, Sheriff Bill Elfo says most DUI problems actually...Read more →
St. Patrick’s Day Brings Irish Luck And DUI Emphasis Patrols
Starting March 11, 2011, through March 20, 2011, law enforcement agencies will join forces throughout Whatcom, Skagit, Island, and almost every other county in Washington for a St. Pat's DUI emphasis patrol. During these calendar days, there will be extra police officers on patrol targeting one single crime — DUI. This local emphasis will not bring any luck to those who drink and drive to the point of being over the .08 limit.Read more →
Breath Test Devices Manipulated To Show Higher BAC Levels.
This past summer the BC government lowered the breath alcohol limit and increased penalties to be imposed on the roadside by police officer’s. Not surprisingly it is now discovered that in the absence of checks and balances to their unfettered roadside police power, the device employed by the officers provide false readings- falsely high readings. Lawyers Claim Faulty Use Of Breathalyzer BY KIM WESTAD, POSTMEDIA NEWS MARCH 4, 2011 A class-action lawsuit challenging impaired driving penalties given out under new drunk...Read more →
New Year Brings Changes To DUI Laws
The title is a little misleading, as the law on DUI in terms of the legal limit has not changed, but rather the laws related to a DUI arrest or conviction have changed. Some may say for the better, while others will strongly disagree. Regardless of the camp you may be in on this, what matters is that those who could not drive previously, now can, but with significant supervision and consequences.Read more →
Can I Get A DUI Riding An Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) On Private Property?
A person may be charged for a variety of things, but the better question is whether a person can be “lawfully” charged and can the charge be lawfully proven? Like many questions of law, the answerRead more →
Ever Wonder What Would Happen If DUI .08 Was Lowered?
There is no need to wonder, as this exact scenario is taking place just a little north of the city of Bellingham, Whatcom County in the Canadian Province of British Columbia (BC). From all accounts, the lowering of the limit is a complete and total disaster. This sentiment is not from the expected opponents of the law, but rather those charged with enforcing the new law — the police.Read more →
Washington Supreme Court Settles Question Of Jurisdiction In Whatcom County DUI Case.
Last week the Washington Supreme court issued their ruling in State v. Eriksen, what appears to many to be a simple case of DUI. However, given the location of the stop and arrest, the case contained an important issue and created a question as to whether a Tribal Officer had the authority to go beyond the tribal lands in making the stop and arrest?Read more →
You Have The Right To Remain Silent, But First, Speak Up!
This summer (June) the United States Supreme Court (USSC) issued a ruling contrary to the longstanding belief that, silence by an accused who informed and warned of the right to remain silent was an obvious invocation of the right. The case is BERGHUIS v. THOMPKINS. Traditionally, a person's silence after being informed of their rights, specifically the right to remain silent made it very obvious that they were exercising that right. The new ruling by the USSC has changed that...Read more →
Criminal Defense Attorneys Are Not All That Bad When Prosecutorial Misconduct Exposed
Ever since I was a young man and decided to be a lawyer those who knew, or asked this standard "occupation" query of any young person, there were always 2 more questions to follow: 1) What kind of lawyer do you want to be? And when the answer I gave was "criminal defense," the second question always followed: "but how can you defend someone who is guilty?" The answer from me was always very simple and quick to leave my lips...Read more →
3 Judge Panel Requires Breath Test Evidence To Comply With Scientific Standards.
Yesterday, September 22, 2010, a King County District Court 3-Judge panel found that breath tests, previously held to be inadmissible for any purposes, opened the door to permitting the test once again. However, before they can be admitted the Judges required that uncertainty must be provided in discovery and to the jury or, upon motion, the breath test results will be suppressed.Read more →
Rules, Regulations, & Repercussions Of The Ignition Interlock License.
In 2009, the legislature made a significant change to the laws for those arrested for DUI regarding the ability to legally drive. New legislation implemented a new type of license for those under suspension due to a DUI arrest or conviction. This new license is called an ignition interlock license (IIL). Previously a person suspended as a result of a DUI conviction or Department Of Licensing (DoL) administrative suspension/revocation had the ability to drive with an ignition interlock device but...Read more →
Island County Judge Requires Prosecution To Disclose DUI Breath Test “Bias & Uncertainty” Disclosed To Jury.
Recently, Island County Judge, P. Strow found in favor of all DUI defendant’s when he ordered the production of breath testing bias. The order for production came in lieu of a order to suppress the tests which is what the defense originally requested when the prosecution had not provided information and calculations regarding the limitations of breath testing. Furthermore, it was ordered that such information be disclosed also to the jury during a DUI breath test trial. The ruling came in...Read more →
Bad Facts Make Bad Law: Felony DUI And Proof Beyond A Reasonable Doubt Reduced.
This week the Court Of Appeals issued a ruling that appears to lessen the prosecutions burden when it decided the issue of prior offenses for the purposes of the felony DUI statute. The ruling came from Division One of the Appeals Court, State v. Paul 2010 . Division One’s decisions are binding authority on all lower courts (Superior, District, and Municipal) that are geographically located north of Interstate 90 and east to the mountains. The only higher state court is the...Read more →
Drive Hammered (Under The Limit) Get Nailed?!
This week in Whatcom, Skagit, Island, and many other counties in Washington State, the “Drive Hammered get Nailed” campaign begins and continues through Labor Day. While the message is clear, — You’ll likely get Nailed by local and state law enforcement if you drive hammered, the actual effect is such that some legally sober driver’s will be caught in this overly wide “net” that is cast by law enforcement. There is no doubt that the enforcement of laws is a...Read more →
Lewis County Deputy Coroner Arrested For Pain Pill DUI.
Recently it was reported that, the woman in charge of examining dead bodies for local criminal cases was arrested in July on suspicion of driving under the influence of pain pills, according to an incident report filed by the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. While many question the wisdom of making such an arrest newsworthy, it demonstrates that members of law enforcement are not immune to DUI and also identifies interesting issues that many are unaware of: DUI means Alcohol and/or...Read more →
Are DUI Breath Tests Solid Science, Or Just “Good Enough For Government Work?”
Last Friday the Bellingham Herald ran the following headline and story: Calibration error puts DUI tests across Alaska in doubt. The article written by James Halpin originated from the Anchorage Daily News and states that “Nearly 2,500 breath-alcohol tests conducted in drunken-driving cases across the state over a period of nearly four years used equipment with flawed quality control standards. As a result defense attorneys say the flawed practice calls into question the accuracy of the test. State officials acknowledge...Read more →
Washington State Supreme Court Still Focused On Citizen’s Privacy.
Although July 4th is a nationally recognized holiday celebrating the freedom and civil liberties of those within the land, July 1, 2010, the State Supreme court celebrated early. In the recently issued case of, State v. Afana, the State Supreme Court followed the US Supreme Court reasoning in Gant (police may search a vehicle incident to a recent occupant’s arrest only if the arrestee is within reaching distance of the passenger compartment at the time of the search) and then added another...Read more →
Has MADD Gone Completely Insane?
Next week, the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on a bill that is described as technology that can help eliminate drunk driving by “turning cars into the cure” through the development of advanced alcohol detection technology. This technology is known as Ignition Interlock Devices (IID). MADD is calling this bill “life-saving.” MADD suggests that it is working to “turn cars into the cure” by supporting advanced alcohol detection technology which will one day allow cars to determine...Read more →
Was Lindsay Lohan Lucky? Washington DUI Probation Violations Much More Harsh.
By the time you read this you have heard the news and perhaps the debate on national legal talk shows: Was Lindsey Lohan treated fairly? Too little, too late? The debate goes on for as long as you care to listen or talk about it. For those who feel that she was treated too harsh consider the MANDATORY consequences of Washington DUI Probation Violations. Strict and specific terms for Washington DUI convictions require the court to order not only a...Read more →
A Meaningless “Right” In Bellingham-Whatcom County
You have just been arrested and provided a breath sample that seems very wrong. There is no way that the printed result could be right. After all how could it be when you only had 1 drink? Or in another scenario, you have spoken with an attorney before you have to give a breath sample and s/he has advised you to give a breath test and then exercise your right to an “independent” test of your choosing and tell the...Read more →
Skagit County Judges Require Scientific Standards In DUI Prosecutions.
Recently, Skagit County District Court Judges David Svaren and Warren Gilbert heard testimony from expert witnesses in support and in opposition to a defense challenge to the admissibility of breath tests due to the lack of adherence to scientific principles. Their ruling requires State Prosecutors to provide evidence of uncertainty in DUI prosecutions where a breath test was given. (Skagit Co Uncertainty Ruling) The defense expert witness, Ashley Emerey, a UW professor, testified that the generally accepted principles in the scientific community...Read more →
DUI Or ADD/ADHD? A Case Of Wrongful Arrest & Prosecution.
In Washington State, prosecuting attorneys do not need a breath test to move forward with DUI prosecution if the driver performed a roadside test. These roadside "Sobriety Tests" are used nationwide to justify arrests, but they do not take into account ADD/ADHD as recognized by the American Disability Act and may likely be the basis of a wrongful DUI arrest or conviction.Read more →
A Violation Of Mandatory DUI Penalty Has Even More Mandatory Punishment.
A DUI or Physical Control conviction requires the Judge to impose a very specific sentence. This sentence is set by the legislature and the judge can go no lower than what is proscribed by statute. What many people do not know is that within these mandatory DUI penalties there are more mandatory penalties for a violation of certain sentence conditions. This "new" DUI Mandatory Sentence will require the court to impose additional conditions of sentence or probation.Read more →
Jonathan Rands Speaks With Tracy Ellis About DUI Law Bi-Weekly On KGMI’s “Legal Docket.”
On May 9, 2010, KGMI introduced the Sunday morning talk show of "The Legal Docket." Bellingham DUI lawyer Jonathan Rands talks with Tracy every other Sunday in hopes of educating the public about the little-understood legal dangers of DUI as well as the widely known and publicized social dangers. In the debut edition, Jonathan's advice is straight forward and simple in explaining how to best avoid a DUI: "Don't drink and drive."Read more →
Will Whatcom County Get A New Breath Test Machine To Prosecute DUI?
New Legislation in the form of House Bill 2465 is Titled “BREATH TEST INSTRUMENTS-RESULTS — ADMISSIBILITY” and it becomes effective this summer, June 10, 2010. The legislation affects the current statute RCW 46.61.506 which is the law that plays a role in determining whether a breath test will be admitted into evidence in a DUI trial and a civil Department of Licensing hearing. The actual change in the law appears fairly minor. These important changes are underlined: Prior to the start of...Read more →
Do New BC DUI Laws Violate Rights?
Given the fact that Whatcom County is on the BC/Canada border, BC’s new DUI penalties should be of some interest to Whatcom County citizens. Regardless of how you feel about DUI, the rights of citizens should never succumb to the zeal of interests groups. These new laws have that appearance. The new “laws” are not really laws, but rather administrative sanctions that are imposed on the roadside without judge, jury, or representation. The introduction of BC’s new administrative procedures is...Read more →
Did You Know That Every Driver Is Being Watched And Recorded?
RCW 46.52.120 states and requires that the director shall keep a case record on every motor vehicle driver licensed under the laws of this state, together with information on each driver, showing all the convictions and findings of traffic infractions certified by the courts. This is then kept together with an index cross-reference record of each accident reported relating to the same person with a brief statement of the cause of the accident and whether or not the accident resulted...Read more →
Can You Be Prosecuted For Under .08? – YES
Washington State has done a good job of publicizing that if you drive at .08 or higher, you will be prosecuted. The State Patrol’s “Drive Hammered, Get Nailed,” “Over the limit, Under Arrest,” “Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving,” and “Nighttime seat belt,” campaigns, are all very effective in putting the dangers and consequences of drunk driving in the minds of Washington drivers. So, knowing this, you have one glass of wine with dinner or maybe a cocktail after work or a...Read more →