Friday, September 24, 2010

DUI attorneys and Seattle Municipal Court Judges

Attached is a link from this weeks Stranger Magazine. It discusses an interesting topic that affects all those accused of misdemeanor DUI offenses in Seattle Municipal Court and the DUI Attorneys that practice there.

Essentially the article discusses how a group of DUI Attorneys in Western Washington have created a political action committee called Citizens for Judicial Excellence and how that have raised over $200K from contributors to use in this next judicial election. The article suggests this political group is targeting Municipal and District Court Judges that are more harsh on DUI defendants.

As a Seattle DUI Attorney I can understand this group is just trying to protect their clients. Normally I dont get involved in politics, but this is an area that affects my livelihood. Its been my experience over the years that there are some Judges, not just in King County but all over that seem to be more harsh than other Judges when it comes down to DUIs. Now the problem I have is not that these particular Judges are known to be strict, but its that some of these Judges do not seem to be impartial. I personally believe it is a great honor to be a Judge in the country. And as a Judge its an obligation to follow the law impartially and act free from bias. This is what our country was founded on, and this is what makes our judicial system work. So if a group of individuals would like to see changes in our judicial system, then I say go for it, and good luck. The beauty of democracy is ultimately the people of the City of Seattle, and King County will determine who sits on the bench next year.

Click here to see a copy of this article.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

DUI breath tests are now admissible in King County

Breath test results are now admissible in DUI cases in King County. They have been previously inadmissible for the past 2 years, so if you have been charged during that time you breath test results should still be inadmissible. However if you have recently been charged with a DUI it now looks like the Prosecutor will be able to use the breath test results against you in a criminal trial. Click here to read the article from the Seattle Times.

Contact my office if you have further questions or would like to speak with a Seattle DUI Attorney about the facts of your case.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Extra DUI patrols for Huskies and Seahawks home openers

The Washington State Patrol and Seattle Police Department will be having extra DUI patrols this weekend. See the Seattle Times article here

Remember if you get stopped and you have been drinking. Politely decline to answer all questions, and politely decline the field sobriety tests. If you get placed under arrest ask to speak with a Seattle DUI Attorney immediately.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Should a person represent themselves in a DUI case?

Lately, I have had several people ask me if they could just represent themselves in a DUI case. Each time I tell them the same thing. You have a legal right to do so, but it is not recommended.

I have been a Seattle DUI Attorney for 5 years. During 4 of those years I worked as a public defender, which means I was in court every single day, dealing with hundreds of clients a month. On occasion I had the opportunity to view people who elected to represent themselves on a DUI charge. Not once did this work to the advantage of the accused. I saw some interesting theories on why they were arrested, but I never saw anyone who actually did this get found not guilty.

There are many reasons why representing yourself on a DUI charge is not a good idea.

First there are numerous rules that you need to be familiar with. Both rules of evidence, and local court rules. A good DUI defense attorney has spent a significant amount of time familiarizing themselves with these rules, procedures, and court decisions.

Secondly a DUI attorney is going to have the experience that you dont. Whether it involves knowing the prosecutor, judges, and police officers. Or having the necessary experience in trial. Experience goes a long way in this field.

Lastly there is a science to defending a DUI. An accomplished DUI attorney will understand this science and be able to mount arguments against it. Defending a DUI is not as simple as saying the accused's ability to drive was not impaired by alcohol. There is a lot more to it than that.

If a person does choose to proceed "pro se" then a Judge will determine whether the defendant is fully aware of their rights, understands that going at this alone will not be a basis for appeal, and they will be held to the same standards as a practicing attorney.

If you are contemplating representing yourself on a Seattle DUI or a Washington State DUI charge, please contact my office immediately. I can certainly help with any questions you may have, and give you my thoughts on how you should proceed. I offer a free 60 minute consultation.

Seattle DUI Defense