Sunday, December 28, 2014

How often can you expect to have Court on a DUI case?

One of the most common questions I get asked as a Seattle DUI Attorney is how many times will I have to go to Court for my DUI case.  The answer is pretty simply.... It depends.   Here are the factors that will determine how often a defendant would have to go to Court for a DUI case.

If the DUI gets reduced to a lesser charge or something along those lines and a plea deal is negotiated then obviously there may not be that many Court dates.  Typically in this situation a defendant will have to attend at least 3-4 court dates.  The first hearing would be the arraignment, there may be something called a pretrial hearing where the defendant will enter the plea deal, and then there would be a sentencing hearing.  So depending on the number of pretrial hearings it potentially could be 3-4 dates.  

If the DUI gets set for trial then there could be many court dates.  Again like the previous example there would be an arraignment, a pretrial hearing, but instead of a sentencing hearing there would be a few other court dates.  The next hearing would be a motion hearing.  This is where a motion to dismiss or suppress evidence would be litigated.  The next hearing would be something called a readiness hearing or omnibus hearing.  Basically this is just where the parties go in front of the Judge and announce whether the trial will actually commence on the date chosen or whether it will be moved.  Then of course the trial date.  

I would say depending on the jurisdiction and how busy they are if a case gets set for trial that will include anywhere from 10-30 additional court dates.  For example I recently has a DUI jury trial here in Seattle and my client and I appeared approximately 30 times before the trial actually started.  This is actually a lot and not the norm but sometimes it happens.

About the author:  Matthew Leyba is a DUI Lawyer in Seattle.  He is the owner of Leyba Defense PLLC a DUI law firm. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

What are the three standardized field sobriety tests administered in a DUI investigation

Have you ever wondered what the three standardized field sobriety tests are in a DUI investigation?  Well today is your lucky day.  DUI Attorney Matthew Leyba and answer this question and offer a basic overview in layman's terms of how they are administered and what the police officers look for during their DUI investigation.

The standardized field sobriety tests are a battery of three tests that have been standardized by the National Highway Safety Administration.  Back in the day this organization did a few studies based on these tests and determined they were the most reliable.  The reason the term "standardized" is used is because the purpose of these tests is to be administered the same way every time.  Meaning a DUI police officer administering this test in Seattle will be administering it the same way a DUI officer would be Florida.  

So what are the tests:

The first test administered is the horizontal gaze nystagmus test.  If you have ever seen this test in the movies or on the side of the road it is the "eye" test.  What the Officers are looking for his nystagmus.  Nystagmus is the involuntary jerking of the eyeball as it moves side to side following an object.  It kind of looks like a marble rolling across sand paper.  It bounces.  The officers are trained to look for a total of 6 clues, 3 in each eye.  First they look to see whether the jerking occurs, secondly whether it occurs at the furthest the eye can look to the side, and lastly whether the jerking occurs prior to a 45 degree angle.  

The second test generally administered is the walk and turn test.  This test is exactly how it sounds.  The officers look for a total of eight clues during this test.  Whether the subject loses balance in the instruction position, starts too soon, misses heel to toe, stops walking, raises arms, steps offline, fails to take the 9 mandatory steps, and fails to make the correct turn between the first nine steps and the second nine steps.

The third test administered is call the one leg stand.  And like the walk and turn test this test is exactly how it sounds.  The Officer has the subject stand on one leg, keep their arms to the side, count out loud until they are told to stop, and stare at their raised foot which is 6 inches off the ground.  The things they look for are raising the arms, putting foot down, hopping, swaying side to side.  

So there you have it.  Those are the magical standardized field sobriety tests.  Please keep in mind this is simply a blog and not a manual or thesis.  I could probably write a few pages on each test, but thats not what I wanted to do.  

About the author:  Matthew Leyba is a DUI Lawyer in Seattle.  He is rated a perfect 10 out of 10 by, and named one of the best Seattle DUI lawyers by the Seattle Met Magazine. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

3 reasons you should always request a DOL hearing following a DUI arrest

Often times I meet with potential clients and one of the first questions they ask is whether they should challenge the proposed license revocation that follows a DUI arrest.  Usually they say they spoke with another attorney or a friend and there is a small chance of prevailing.  Due to this they would rather save the money it costs to challenge the proposed revocation and just deal with it.  In my opinion that is incorrect thinking and here are 3 reasons why.

Additional collateral consequences you may not be aware of

Even if you don't drive and you take the bus everywhere.  Having a suspended license due to a DUI can still cause problems down the road.  Here are a few

  • SR22 insurance will be required for at least years
  • A reinstatement fee will need to be paid when eligible to get license reinstated
  • A driver may need to take both written and driving tests again
  • A driver could be deemed inadmissible to Canada
  • A driver may not be allowed to rent a vehicle for at least 5 years
  • Increase in regular insurance coverage
  • Much, much more

Interview police officers involved without prosecutor

One of the main reasons I always tell people to challenge the suspension following a DUI arrest is that is where I personally conduct a majority of my investigation for the DUI case.  Because the DOL hearing is like a mini trial you can subpoena witnesses to appear and question them under oath.  In most DOL hearings I subpoena at least the arresting officer.  The reason I do this is two fold.  First if they don't appear and they were properly served a subpoena 9 out of 10 times the suspension will get dismissed.  Secondly if they do appear I get a free deposition with all of the prosecutors witnesses without the prosecutor being there, and everything is recorded.

It's helpful with negotiation

Sometimes I have found the ruling from DOL to be helpful during the negotiation with the Prosecutor in an attempt to get the DUI reduced to a lesser charge.  Obviously if a driver prevails at the DOL hearing and the suspension gets dismissed based on some kind of legal issue that is great.  But even if the suspension gets upheld sometimes Prosecutors are receptive to the idea of reducing the DUI knowing full well that the driver is not getting off scott free and they will face a license suspension.  

Obviously challenging a license suspension is an uphill battle.  However I honestly believe there is more benefit to challenging the suspension and the benefit of it outweighs any cost or the nominal fee.

About the author:  Matthew Leyba is a DUI Attorney in Seattle, WA.  If you have been arrested for a DUI feel free to contact our law firm to set up a free consultation with a DUI Attorney.  You can also learn more about Leyba Defense PLLC from our website.  

Sunday, November 2, 2014

What degree is a license suspended after a DUI conviction

If a driver gets convicted of a DUI here in Washington State.  Then they face at least a 90 day drivers license suspension if it was a first offense DUI and they took the breath test.  Obviously the length of the license suspension can vary depending on the particular facts in the case including the breath test level, or whether they refused the test.  In Washington State there are essentially three different types of drivers license suspensions.

Like I stated above there are essentially three types or degrees of drivers license suspensions here in Washington State.  Here is some basic info on the different types
  • Driving while license suspended in the third degree.  This carries a max penalty of 90 days in jail and a $1000 fine.  If convicted of this offense there is no additional license suspension.  Typically people get this suspension for unpaid traffic tickets, failure to pay child support, etc.  More from financial stuff.
  • Driving while license suspended in the second degree.  This carries a max penalty of 364 days in jail and a $5000 fine.  If convicted of this offense there is an additional 1 year drivers license suspension.  Additionally it counts as a serious traffic offense that could result in a longer license suspension.  Typically people get this suspension for a DUI conviction, DOL administrative action, or a reckless driving conviction.  
  • Driving while license suspended in the first degree.  This carries a max penalty of 364 days in jail and a $5000 fine.  It also carries a mandatory jail sentence if convicted.  Additionally if a driver becomes suspended in the first degree their license license is at least 7 years.  To get to this level a driver needs to accumulate 3 or more serious traffic offenses in a period of 5 years.  These include any vehicular assault, vehicular homicide, reckless driving, DUI, or driving while license suspended in the 2nd degree.
Obviously there is more to these types of suspensions that I just wrote.  But these are the basics.  Anytime a person gets charged with either driving while license suspended second or first degree the goal should always try and get it reduced to a third degree charge.  That would be a best case scenario.

About the author:  Matthew Leyba is owner of Leyba Defense PLLC, a DUI law firm located in Seattle, WA.  He is currently rated a perfect 10 out of 10 by, and has been recognized as a rising star in the field of DUI defense by the Seattle Met Magazine. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Top reasons to hire DUI Attorney Matthew Leyba

I know, I know this isn't supposed to be some kind of sales pitch marketing blog but a blog where any and all DUI topics are discussed.  However as the owner of the law firm sometimes I just have to do this in order to run my business.  As much as I don't like it please forgive :)

So without further adieu here are the top reasons why you should hire Leyba Defense PLLC if you or someone you know gets arrested for a DUI in King County.

Leyba Defense PLLC exclusively represents people charged with DUI

If you google DUI Attorney you will literally see hundreds of Attorneys out their claiming they practice in this area of law.  And they might, but they also focus on business law, family law, personal injury, etc.  DUI Defense is just a side practice for them and therefore they do not have the necessary experience that comes with exclusively focusing and studying one area of law.  Think about it.  If you needed heart surgery would you go to a general physician or would you go to a heart surgeon.  The same thing applies for Attorneys.   

Leyba Defense PLLC limits the number of clients he represents

Leyba Defense PLLC was founded on the principle that we would run a small practice focusing entirely on the clients and to effectively do this we have to limit the number of clients we represent.  Obviously we still have to make money to run the business, but we are not like so many other DUI firms out there that try to get as much clients as possible to make as much money as possible.  We have a certain number of clients that we represent.  If you come to us and we are at that number then unfortunately we will not take the case.  It's the firms motto and that is why we are able to get such good results for our clients.  Less clients equals more time to spend individually on each case which equals better results.  It's simple math.  

Leyba Defense PLLC has a high success rate in defending DUIs

If you check out our website we have a pie chart detailing the last 100 DUI cases we have represented and what the results were.  Many of the cases have either been reduced to negligent driving 1, reckless driving, or in some cases even dismissed.  The proof is in the pudding and we are the only firm around that post every results we get for our clients.  Good and bad.  Some so called DUI firms out there will post a DUI dismissal or a DUI not guilty, but there is a reason they only show you 2 out of the last how ever many cases they have defended.  Anybody can get a good result once in a while, but the best DUI Attorneys sustain that success over time.  Now every case is different and not every case gets reduced or dismissed.  But most of the time Leyba Defense PLLC is able to work out a plea bargain that is in our clients best interests.

So there you go.  The top reasons why Leyba Defense PLLC is the right firm to represent anybody charged with a DUI in the Seattle area.  

About the author:  Matthew Leyba is the owner of Leyba Defense PLLC, a DUI law firm located in Seattle.  He has been named one of the best DUI Attorneys in Seattle by the Seattle Met Magazine.  He is also rated a 10 out of 10 by

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Funding shortage causes WA low income drivers to lose IIDs

If you get convicted of a DUI in Washington State you will be required to have an ignition interlock device on any vehicle you drive.  The time frame varies depending on the number of prior times a driver has been required to have an IID.  But it can range from 1 year to 10 years.  The Washington State legislature created a program to allow low income drivers to get reduced rates on IIDs that are subsidized from other drivers paying for the ignition interlock license.  Unfortunately this may be coming to an end.

The funding has dried up unexpectedly due to the money for the program somehow getting funneled into another program for prison inmate treatment.  How it worked was if a driver was convicted of a first time DUI then they would be required to get an ignition interlock device.  They would have to apply for what is called an ignition interlock license in order to drive during that one year.  The license itself costs $20 a month to maintain.  That $20 went into a pot that was reserved for those drivers who could not afford the IID due to their financial situation.  

Because of the loss of these monies it is being reported that over 2000 drivers are going to lose their ability to maintain the ignition interlock license because they will not be able to afford the ignition interlock device.  At that time they will be faced with two options.  Either not drive or choose to drive in violation of the mandatory sentence.

Unfortunately this seems to be nothing more than politics.  It is a little surprising since DUI cases have been such a hot button issue for the past few years.  With many law makers crying about increasing the penalties and keeping drivers off the road following a DUI arrest.  Well these very law makers are the ones who screwed over the very people they are trying to protect by losing this money set aside for this program.  I guess it just shows you votes are more important to them than the actual issues they are "crying" about.

Here is the link to the news article where I saw this if you're interesting in reading.    

About the author:  Matthew Leyba is a DUI lawyer in Seattle, WA.  His practice focuses on representing those charged with DUI and other related offenses.  He has been name one of Seattle's Best DUI Lawyers Rising Star multiple times by the Seattle Met Magazine.  He is also rated a 10/10 by  If you need a DUI Lawyer in Seattle call Leyba Defense PLLC.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Star Wars type alcohol DUI laser device coming to a City near you...Maybe

A new fangled Star Wars type laser device used to detect alcohol vapor has been created by Scientists in Poland.  This is some pretty crazy yet fascinating technology that has been developed.  Essentially its a laser device that can detect alcohol vapor like that which has been exhaled by someone who's been drinking.  Now the kicker is supposedly it can be detected inside a moving vehicle as it passes by the handheld device. 

This device is in the very early stages of development.  I guess it was successfully tested by aiming the laser at a car as it was passing by.  The car's interior had been filled up with alcohol vapor, my guess is probably a whole lot of this stuff.  Although I'm not quite sure what the alcohol vapor was but it was supposed to simulate someone's breath after they had been drinking.  

My guess is something like this is far off from ever being implemented by law enforcement.  The article I read about it pointed out several issues that have not been figured.  

First it doesn't appear the device could differentiate from a driver and a passenger.  Imagine getting pulled over for a DUI by this thing and the driver is stone cold sober and acting as the designated driver.  You think some 4th amendment issues there, probably.

Secondly there was some countermeasures that could be implemented.  For example opening the windows, or having tinted windows the laser could get through.  Additionally what if somebody was smoking or there was some other kind of vapor inside.  How could this laser get through.

As I stated, I highly doubt something like this gets implemented in the near future.  However you never know.  In the jurisdiction I practice, Seattle, WA DUI's are becoming more and more targeted.  It's just not people over the legal limit, but anyone who has any kind of alcohol in their system are being stopped, detained, and arrested.  

I know I sound like a broken record but it is not a good idea to drive in Seattle, WA if you have had anything to drink.  It won't matter to the Seattle Police nor the City of Seattle Prosecutor's office if you're under the legal limit.  They will still come after you so don't take the risk. 

If you're interested in reading more about this crazy laser device, here you go

About the author:  Matthew Leyba is a practicing DUI Attorney in Seattle, WA.  He has been named on of the best Seattle DUI Attorneys numerous times by the Seattle Met Magazine.  Additionally he is rated a perfect 10 out of 10 by

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

When is an IID required in a Washington State DUI case

If you have been arrested for a DUI in Washington State.  Then chances are at some point during this unfortunate situation you may face the possibility of having to get an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle.  Seattle DUI Attorney Matthew Leyba discusses the three times when this may occur.

First the most obvious and most common is if the individual gets convicted of a DUI.  Whether its through a guilty plea or a conviction following trial it doesn't matter.  An ignition interlock device is a requirement following a conviction for DUI in Washington State.

Now the time requirement can vary depending on whether there have been any prior DUI convictions.  For example if its a first offense DUI conviction then the IID requirement will be 1 year.  If there has been a prior IID requirement from a DUI conviction then the IID requirement is 5 years.  If there have been 2 or more prior IID requirements then the third time is a 10 year requirement.

The second time an individual may face an ignition interlock requirement is if the drivers license gets suspended and they want to continue to drive via a restricted drivers license.  For example in WA State if a drivers license gets suspended for day 90 days the driver may be eligible to continue to drive if they get an IID installed in their vehicle, apply for the ignition interlock license, and give the WA DOL proof of a SR22 insurance certificate.

In this type of situation the IID would only need to be installed during the license suspension.  So in WA State if a license gets suspended for 90 days then the IID only needs to be in for 90 days.  Once the suspension is up the driver can get the IID removed and go pay a reinstatement fee at DOL to get a new drivers license.

The third time an individual may face an ignition interlock requirement is if it gets imposed at the DUI arraignment as a condition of release.  What this means if a Judge requires a defendant to install an IID or stay in jail while the DUI case is pending.  Well then the IID needs to get installed while the DUI charge is pending.

About the author:  Matthew Leyba is a DUI Lawyer in Seattle.  His practice consists of representing those charged with DUI and other DUI related offenses.  For more information you can view his website here

Thursday, May 22, 2014

What is a "nolo contendere" plea in a DUI case

If you have been following the news lately, specifically news related to the NFL.  You undoubtedly will have seen that Aldon Smith of the San Francisco 49ers recently resolved his criminal problems via a "nolo contendere" plea.  He entered this plea to three felony counts and two DUI counts.  If you like you can read it about it here.  So what is this "nolo contendere" plea and how does it work?

Well first of all what does it mean.  "Nolo contendere" is a latin phrase that translates to no contest.  In certain U.S. jurisdictions this type of plea is allowed where a defendant enters this plea of no contest.  Neither admitting guilt nor disputing the charge.  It effectively works as a guilty plea in the sense the charges still result in a conviction, the defendant is still sentenced as if they pleaded guilty.  Unlike a guilty plea however the defendant may not be required to allocute the charges.

So why we Aldon Smith do this.  If you followed his cases then you know there was a lot of evidence stacked up against him.  Due to the string of criminal offenses, plus his notoriety he problem wasn't going to be them.  This was a way for him to take responsibility but not admit guilt.  Its a technicality but still shows some accountability on his part.  

Now this is a Washington State specific blog.  So if you're wondering whether Washington State would allow a "no contest" plea on a DUI case.  Unfortunately not.  However we do have what is called an Alford Plea.  Many view it the same as a no contest plea.  Although there is different terminology.  

In an Alford Plea on a DUI case here in Washington State.  A defendant would say they believe there is enough evidence to convict them of the DUI.  Therefore they wish to take advantage of the Prosecutors sentence recommendation and enter an Alford Plea.  They understand it will result in a conviction the same as if they went to trial.  

How often does an Alford Plea happen in DUI cases here in Washington State.  Not many.  In my 10 years I think I have only entered one Alford Plea.  Most times Prosecutors will not allow it because they want the defendant to actually say they are guilty.  Additionally if a person is pleading guilty to a DUI or even a lesser charge they probably don't believe they are completely innocent.

However an Alford Plea is an option a defendant would have in Washington State.  If it is something that interests anyone facing a DUI in King County, WA and you're reading this blog feel free to contact my office and we can discuss the pros and cons of it.

About the author:  Matthew Leyba is a DUI Lawyer in Seattle, WA.  He is rated a perfect 10 out of 10 by, a lawyer rating service.  Additionally he has been repeatedly named a Rising Star in the area of DUI Defense by the Seattle Met Magazine, an honor less than 2.5% of all lawyers receive in their respective field of practice.  Contact Leyba Defense to find a DUI Attorney in the Seattle area.   

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

DUI suspect in Spokane arrested for DUI following plea to vehicular asault

In a case of you would have to see it to believe it.  A man in Spokane, WA recently was arrested for DUI on the same day he pleaded guilty to vehicular assault.  Yes you read that correctly.  A man in Spokane, WA was out on $93,000 bond until his sentencing on the vehicular assault case, when he decided he had to booze it up one last time and got arrested for DUI and hit and run.  

This has to be one of the most stupid things I have ever read.  I understand people make mistakes.  Trust me, nobody understands more than I do.  Im a DUI Attorney in Seattle, so I understand.  But when you enter a guilty plea to a vehicular assault charge, you're out on bail pending sentencing, and then you decide it's a good idea to get drunk and then drive.  I'm sorry but that is just pure stupidity.  

Because of that guys actions.  The plea he entered is in jeopardy.  He will probably get the high end of whatever is sentencing range.  His bond will most likely be remanded and he will remain in custody until his sentencing.  Oh and his new DUI.  I'm pretty sure regardless of the facts his bail will be extremely high, plus he can forget about getting any deals on that case.  

Whenever I have a client in this position.  Where they are either out on bail pending sentencing, or they are free on their own personal recognizance pending sentencing I tell them one thing.  And one thing only.  Stay out of trouble.  If you have to stay in your house the entire time then do it.  If you feel compelled to drink stay home.  Heck I have even told a client if they cannot following my advice and they are going to go out and drink call me and I will either pay for a cab or come and pick them up.  You wouldn't believe the decisions some people make because of this disease.  

Anyway here is a link to the article if you want to check it out.  Spokane man gets DUI.   

About the author:  Matthew Leyba is a DUI Lawyer in Seattle.  If you're facing a DUI Arrest and looking for a DUI Attorney then give me a call.  I have been repeatedly recognized as one of the best DUI Attorneys in Seattle by the Seattle Met Magazine.  I'm also rated a perfect 10 out of 10 by, a lawyer rating service.  You can read more about me here.   

Monday, May 19, 2014

Is Affluenza real?

Well another rich guy seemingly got off on his DUI and now there is an uproar by the general public over the sentence.  And the term "affluenza" has been raised again.  In case you didn't hear it the first time.  "Affluenza" was an actual defense coined by a defense attorney in the defense of a texas teen who received rehab at a luxurious 4 star resort rather than go to jail.  This time the term  is being thrown around here in Washington State due to a sentence a repeat DUI offender received last week.

I have to say as a Seattle DUI Attorney I'm slightly miffed by the general public's reaction to this latest case.  Long story short.  A guy driving a Ferrari gets into an accident, leads police a high speed, subsequently pleads guilty to DUI, and gets work release in lieu of 24 hour confinement in jail.  Basically he leaves jail in the morning.  Goes to work and runs his business which employs many people.  Goes back to jail and spends the night.  Gets up and does it all over again.

The people that are upset need to realize a couple of things.  First a DUI carries a max penalty of 1 year in jail here in WA State.  That is what this guy agreed to.  The max penalty, he couldn't agree to do more.  Secondly work release is a common alternative given to those in custody.  I have seen homeless folk get granted that type of sentence from a Judge (now whether they actually qualified is a different story).  Lastly there is a reason this guy got that sentence despite his prior DUI arrests.  The case most likely was dog shit for the Prosecution.  They offered a plea deal because there was proof problems.  That is how the system works.  If a Prosecutor cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt a defendant is guilty than they ethically shouldn't proceed to trial.  

This is just my opinion.  Yes Im a DUI Attorney in Seattle.  But I'm also a resident of the State of Washington and I still feel safe despite this guy going to work in the mornings.

Here is my website.  

Thursday, May 15, 2014

New definition of what constitutes a "prior offense" for DUI sentencing purposes in WA

Last month a major DUI law was changed in Washington State when it comes to DUI sentencing.  The bill responsible SB 6413 drastically alters what can be considered a "prior offense" when it comes to DUI sentencing.  Prior to this change the law was pretty clear.  Now not so much in opinion despite what the bill set out to accomplish.

As I stated prior to this law if you were arrested for a DUI then your sentence for the most part was determined based on the number of "prior offenses" you had.  For example lets say you were arrested for a DUI in Seattle in 2008.  That DUI charged was reduced to Negligent Driving 1.  You then were arrested for a DUI in 2010.  The DUI in 2010 would be considered a second offense DUI because the first case originally was a DUI then it got reduced. 

Essentially if you got arrested for a DUI and that charged was reduced to another criminal offense then it was considered a prior offense.  Pretty straight forward, right.  Well SB 6413 changes all of this.  Now a prior offense can include any of the following: driving a commercial vehicle while under the influence, a BUI, operating an aircraft while under the influence, operating an off road vehicle while under the influence, and my favorite operating a snowmobile while under the influence.  

As a DUI Lawyer in Seattle, I have to say I do not understand what this accomplishes.  All of these offenses do not carry any of the consequences a DUI does other than being a criminal charge.  So why are they treated the same as a DUI when it comes to sentencing.  Why not stop there?  Why not include any alcohol related offense?  A minor in possession of alcohol, or an open container?  Obviously I am being factious, but you get my point. 

Unfortunately the DUI laws just happened to get a lot tougher in Washington State and this new law only shows how difficult things are becoming.  

About the author:  Matthew Leyba is a DUI Lawyer in Seattle, WA.  He is the firm owner of Leyba Defense PLLC a DUI law firm located in the heart of downtown Seattle.  He practice focuses on representing those charged with DUI and DUI related offenses.    

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Can you drive a vehicle if your license gets suspended from a DUI in Washington State

The most common question I get asked is whether you can drive a vehicle if your drivers license get suspended due to a DUI.  In Washington State the answer yes.  However there are certain conditions that can apply that may or may not restrict your ability.  Keep reading to learn how you can continue to drive lawfully following a DUI in Seattle or Washington State.

The first question that needs to be asked is what type of license suspension are you dealing with.  Basically there are three types that would be applicable in Washington.  

  1. Administrative license suspension from the DOL
  2. Drivers license suspension for a reckless driving reduction
  3. Drivers license suspension following a DUI conviction
So if you're facing an administrative license suspension than you have two options.  You can choose not to drive and then apply for your drivers license following the suspension period.  Assuming of course there are no other holds or actions against the drivers license.  The second option is you can apply for the ignition interlock license which would allow you to drive during the period of suspension.  

To qualify for this license the applicant needs to do four things.  Fill out the application for the license, second the DOL a check for $100, get SR 22 insurance, and get a functioning ignition interlock device in the vehicle.  It usually takes DOL about 3-5 business days to process the application and approve the ignition interlock license.  

If you're facing a license suspension for a reckless driving conviction.  Then you need to apply for both the occupational license, unless the suspension was a reduction from DUI.  Then you need to apply for both the occupational and ignition interlock license.  Its the same application but there are different conditions (i.e., ignition interlock device requirement).

If you're facing a license suspension for a DUI conviction.  Then you really only have one options.  That is apply for the ignition interlock license.  See the section above on how to do that.  

About the author:  Matthew Leyba is a DUI lawyer in Seattle, WA.  He has been rated a perfect 10 out of 10 by and listed as a Superb Seattle DUI lawyer.  He also has been repeatedly recognized as a Rising Star in the area of DUI Defense by the Seattle Met Magazine, an honor only 2.5% of all lawyers are given.  You can read is bio here.   

Monday, March 24, 2014

Interesting article from American Bar Assoc Journal on DUI cases and McNeely

The American Bar Association recently posted an article in the April edition discussing the future of DUI laws in light of the McNeely ruling.  It's not too often that the ABA journal takes up issues in DUI defense and/or prosecution, so as a Seattle DUI Lawyer I had to check it out.  Additionally it has been making its way around the Prosecutors office as well, so that was another reason I wanted to read it.  

In case you're not familiar with the McNeely ruling by the US Supreme Court.  The Court held police officers may not take blood samples from drivers who refuse to provide them voluntarily, unless they have a warrant or some kind of "exigent circumstance" exists.  The Court also went on to state that the dissipation of alcohol from the drivers blood is not an exigent circumstance, although it is a factor to consider.  

The ABA journal discussing some interesting insight into the future of DUI cases and how the McNeely ruling may affect DUI laws going forward.  The article started off discussing a DUI case in King County, WA (where I happen to practice).  Basically the Prosecutors in that case decided not to offer the defendants blood test in their case and chief due to the McNeely ruling and reached a plea deal to a misdemeanor down from a felony. 

The article then went on to discuss possible ramifications with States that have implied consent laws and whether or not they would be valid still.  Since some DUI Attorneys believe States won't be able to make waiving that right a condition of driving privileges.  And if that is the case then Prosecutors won't be able to use a drivers refusal as a consciousness of guilty and argue to a jury the reason they refused the test was because they knew they were over the legal limit.  

The article then went on to discuss issues like the time it takes to get a warrant.  Whether some jurisdictions have the resources to actually get the warrants, what happens if they do and done.  Some of the hurdles these jurisdictions will have to overcome, etc.  

Overall I thought it was an interesting article.  Another interesting topic it raised was Marijuana DUI cases and how the warrant requirement would affect those cases.  The Prosecutors interviewed from the article discussed how Marijuana exists an individuals blood stream relatively quickly assuming they are not a regular user.  Additionally the Prosecutors said most people don't immediately use marijuana and then get into their car, but wait several hours.  

I think the Marijuana portion of the article was kind of BS.  But you can read it yourself.  Here is a link to the article and if you get the ABA journal it will be in their April edition.

About the author:  Matthew Leyba is a DUI lawyer in Seattle.  Rated as one of the best Seattle DUI Lawyers by and repeatedly recognized as a Rising Star in DUI Defense by the Seattle Met Magazine, an honor only 2.5% of all Lawyers in Washington State receive.  You can check out his bio here.   

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Don't act like the "Biebs" if facing a DUI

In case you haven't heard Justin Bieber was arrested for a DUI in late January of this year.  As more time has passed some of the facts of the arrest are being disclosed to the public through the media.  Not surprisingly the "Biebs" wasn't too smart and did exactly what you're not supposed to do when facing a DUI arrest.  So where did he go wrong?

The first thing he did wrong was admit he had consumed alcohol, marijuana, and prescription drugs earlier.  Now I'm not a proponent of denying completely you had consumed alcohol when questioned by a police officer.  I think a driver can admit to having one drink for a couple of reasons.  First it shows a driver is not being dishonest about the consumption.  Especially if it is evident the driver had consumed alcohol.  Secondly it is not illegal to consume alcohol and drive.  However should an investigation officer for a DUI continue to ask follow up questions the driver should immediately request to speak with a experienced DUI Lawyer.  

The second thing the Biebs did wrong was agree to perform the field sobriety tests.  Every DUI Lawyer out there will say to politely decline these tests.  They will not help in any way and are only used against you.  

Lastly and most importantly the Biebs was a jerk to the investigating officer.  From what little I read it doesn't sound too bad.  But he did make a couple of smart ass comments to the investigating officer that could potentially hurt him down the road of the case were to go to trial, or even during the negotiation with the Prosecutor.

Remember if you're being investigated for a DUI chances are you will get arrested.  So do yourself a favor and politely decline to answer any follow questions, politely decline any field sobriety tests, and most importantly don't be a jerk or a smart ass to the arresting officer.  You will not help yourself in any way by acting like that.

About the author:  Matthew Leyba is a DUI lawyer in Seattle.  He has been named a Rising Star repeatedly by the Seattle Met Magazine in the area of DUI Defense, an honor only 2.5% of all Lawyers in Washington State receive.  Additionally he is rated as a 10/10 by and named a Superb DUI Lawyer. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

What not to do when being investigated for DUI

I recently made a blog post on a similar topic, What not to say during a Seattle DUI arrest, on my other blog.  However that blog post got me thinking about some of the DUI cases I have represented in my career.  If you practice DUI Defense then you know what I mean, those crazy cases where you're reading the police report or watching the video and see something that makes you cringe and say "I wish you didn't do that."  So without further adieu here are some things that you should never ever do if you're being investigated for a DUI in Seattle, or anywhere for that matter.

Now if you're an avid reader of this blog then you know not to answer any questions without first speaking with a DUI lawyer, not to do any field sobriety tests, and not to take any breath or blood test without first confirming with a DUI lawyer.  So I will not discuss that here.  Instead this will be some things that people often say or do that they can control. 

First of all don't be a jerk to the investigating DUI police officer.  Yes, I realize being investigated for a DUI would be one of the worst moments of anybody's life.  However everything you say or do will be used against you in your criminal DUI case.  So do yourself and your DUI lawyer a favor and just be polite.

Secondly if you see lights pull over.  I can't tell you how many people continue to drive once they see lights.  Either they don't believe they are getting pulled over, or they try to find a safe place to park.  Either way a DUI Prosecutor will inevitably say the reason the vehicle did not pull over immediately was because the driver was affected by alcohol and their reaction time was slower because of it.  I know this is bullshit, but it still doesn't change the fact that is what a Prosecutor will argue to a jury in a DUI trial.

Lastly whatever you do stay awake when you're in the back seat of the patrol vehicle while you're being transported to take the breath test.  I know it's late at night.  You might be tired.  You might be closing your eyes because your upset.  But the second you close your eyes the DUI Officer will see that and will try and make it sound like you were passing out, or falling asleep.  Then guess what a DUI Prosecutor will use that against you.  So do yourself and your lawyer a favor and try to stay awake.

Obviously every DUI case is different and these are just a few of the main things I see that people can control.  

About the author:  Matthew Leyba is a DUI Lawyer in Seattle you can view his website here.  He has been repeatedly named a Rising Star among Seattle DUI Lawyers by the Seattle Met Magazine, an honor less than 2.5% of all Lawyers receive.  Additionally he is rated as a 10/10 and named a Superb DUI Lawyer by

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Over celebration following Seahawks awesome win

The Seattle Seahawks are headed to the Superbowl.  Let me repeat that.  The Superbowl.  How awesome is that.  Unfortunately lost in the awesomeness that was the dramatic win.  King County Troopers were hard at work doing their best to stop possible DUI drivers in the Seattle area.  Were they successful?  Well the numbers are in and I would say yes there were successful.

After the Seahawks game King County Troopers arrested 16 DUIs.  Keep in mind this is just King County and mostly in the Seattle area.  I couldn't find the numbers for Snohomish and Pierce county DUI arrests.  Before you say that doesn't seem like a lot.  To put things in perspective.  The previous two Sundays had 7 DUI arrests in King County total.  

Clearly the game played a major factor in the increase of DUI arrests.  In fact I was watching the news and one local Seattle bar, who I won't name closed early due to the patrons having "too much."  Both the Seattle Police and the Washington State Patrol advertised there would be an increase in DUI patrols.  In fact they post it on twitter, facebook, and the overhead signs in both Hwy 99 and I-5.  So it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone they were out in full force.  

If you have found yourself in the unfortunate position of being one of these unlucky 16 keep in mind things could have been much worse.  No vehicular homicide or vehicular assaults were reported.  

If you were arrested in King County for a DUI the first thing you need to do is find a DUI lawyer who can help you during this time.  Even speaking with one a good one will help put your mind at ease and explain some of the process to you.  This is especially important if you have never been in trouble before.  A DUI arrest in King County can be a daunting process but if handled correctly there can be relatively little blow back in the end.  

About the author:  Matthew Leyba is a DUI lawyer in Seattle.  He has been voted as a Rising Star in DUI defense by his peers according to the Seattle Met Magazine, an honor less than 2.5% of all Attorneys receive.  Additionally he is rated as a 10/10 and "Superb" by when it comes to Seattle DUI lawyers.    

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Suspected DUI driver on I-5 attracts 15 separate DUI calls

On New Years Day a driver who was weaving on I-5 in Pierce County caused 14 separate 911 calls from other drivers.  It appears the driver was driving pretty erratically on the freeway including traveling on the shoulder, crossing lanes without signaling, and traveling at inconsistent speeds.  Now even though Im a DUI lawyer in Seattle, I'm all for making the streets safer in our State.  And despite what I do Im not in favor of drinking and driving.  However lately I have been seeing an increase in these types of phone calls from citizens and it has me concerned.  

In fact I recently blogged about this on my website and how a 911 caller reported a suspected drunk driver in Seattle that turned out to be a Seahawk football player.  The football player was followed all the way into downtown by the 911 caller and was eventually stopped and arrested for DUI by the Washington State Patrol.  

As stated above lately I have been seeing this more and more.  I think it is in large part due to the negative publicity that DUIs have been getting in King County since the beginning of last year.  Remember we had two separate vehicular homicide cases in a matter of weeks.  Both of these drivers have prior DUIs and were in violation of court ordered ignition interlock devices.  In response to those incidents as well as some others the media, the general public, and the State Legislature demanded change in the DUI laws.  It seemed like every time I turned on the news or read the paper there was something DUI related and how we needed to toughen our laws to prevent these types of incidents from occuring.

The laws were changed, so Im not going to rehash that.  But what has also been a direct correlation to the media frenzy is the rise in 911 callers.  These "vigilantes" are in some cases following suspected drunk drivers, and conducting citizen arrests.  Most of the time however they are reporting the driver to the police based on nothing more than some weaving within the lane.  

In fact in the past year I have had several former clients involved in these kind of fact patterns.  And the concern I have when these "vigilantes" decide to report a drunk driver in the hopes of getting them arrested is the fact they have no idea what they are talking about.  For ever 911 call that was like the one I described in my first paragraph there are probably 50 more where the alleged drunk driver is not actually drunk.  In fact every case I have ever represented where there was a 911 caller the breath test ended up showing the driver was not over the legal limit.  And in most cases the driving was due to something else like playing with the radio, making a phone call, or fiddling with GPS.  

Did those people that called the police on the driver prevent a DUI in Pierce County.  Perhaps.  But think of all the other times people get stopped, detained, and in some cases arrested when they have done nothing illegal by having a drink and then deciding to drive home.  As I stated in my blog on my website.  Nowadays you not only need to worry about law enforcement, but also the "vigilante" 911 caller.  Remember if you had a glass of wine at dinner or a single beer while watching a football game, you decide to drive home and on the way there you get a text message look down at your phone a cross the lane divider.  If one of these vigilantes is behind you, they will call 911.  You will eventually get stopped by the police and arrested for a King County DUI.  Regardless of what your alcohol level is.  

About the author: Matthew Leyba is a DUI lawyer in the Bellevue Seattle area of Western WA.  He has been named a Rising Star in the field of DUI defense by the Seattle Met Magazine, an honor less than 2.5% of all Attorneys receive.  He also is rated a 10/10 by among Seattle DUI lawyers.   

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Can the outcome of a high profile DUI case affect future normal first time DUI cases

Last Friday a high profile vehicular homicide case was resolved in a favorable manner for the defense.  And unfortunately for anyone else who is facing a DUI in King County the favorable result of this vehicular homicide case is going to have a negative impact on any DUI case going forward.  Why and how will this occur?  First let me explain what happened last Friday.

So in 2012 a 21 year old man from Buckley struck and killed a 16 year old boy while under the combined influence of marijuana and oxycodine.  The boy was simply walking with his girlfriend on the side of the road when this horrific accident happened.  A blood test revealed the driver had nearly two times what is now the legal limit of marijuana in his system.  He also had the oxy which was probably had the most impact on his ability to drive.  

Seems like a pretty open and shut case for the Prosecution, huh?  I mean these are the cases people are all up in arms about in Washington State.  It's why the State Legislature went on a witch hunt last year by attempting to change the DUI laws in Washington State to make them the toughest in the nation.  It's why other high profile vehicular homicide cases have been in the news, and the public has rejoiced when the defendants in those cases were sentenced to prison.  

Well this case apparently has some legal issues and the King County Prosecutors office felt like there were some proof problems.  So they offered a sweet deal where the vehicular homicide charge would be reduced to three misdemeanors.  Guaranteeing the defendant will not serve any time in prison.  So I guess good for that guy.  He was able to beat his vehicular homicide charges.  He got lucky a US Supreme Court case nullified his blood test results.  On the other side the victims family doesn't feel like justice was served and there has been a public backlash because of this (just read the comments section in the Seattle Times).  

So to get back to my original question.  Would a high profile vehicular homicide case like this, where the defendant seemingly got off, affect the normal first time non accident, non felony DUI case?  In my opinion as a DUI lawyer in Seattle the answer is absolutely yes.  And here is why?

First as a DUI lawyer if you have ever done a jury trial you can attest to the negative feelings that most jurors have in jury selection towards DUIs.  Especially in King County with all the high profile cases we have seem to be getting in the past year.  People want to get tough on DUIs.  They want the defendants to pay.  And unfortunately they cannot separate the felony homicide DUI case, from the first time offender who happened to barely blow above the legal limit.  They are out for blood and it is the first time offender who is unfortunately going to pay.  

Secondly when it gets out that a major Prosecutors office is giving away deals like this.  It hurts every other DUI case in that jurisdiction.  You think when the Prosecutor is in the news and the headline implies they weren't tough enough on a high profile King County DUI.  You think the Prosecutors office is going to take that.  No they are going to be more tough on DUIs.  They are going to show the media, the general public, and anyone else that questions their stance on this type of case that they are not easy on these particular charges.  

Unfortunately because of that I believe when a first time offender walks into Court.  In a case where there was no accident, it was not a felony, they have no prior history, and they barely blew above the legal limit.  They are now going to be subject to a more overzealous prosecution that in all honesty is completely unfair.  I fear they will be made an example of all in an effort to show the media and the general public that this Prosecutors office is tough on DUI's.  We have already kind of seen this with the change in negotiating policies in the past year or so. 

Now I don't mean to paint a bleak picture if you're reading this and currently facing a DUI charge or if you have recently been arrested and you're doing some research.  But this is certainly a side issue that whether it's fair or not will impact your case.  Having a DUI lawyer who understands that and can build a defense around it will be worth their weight in gold.  IMHO.   

About the author: Matthew Leyba is a DUI Lawyer in the Seattle Bellevue area of Washington State.  He has been rated as a 10/10 by among Seattle DUI Lawyers, and was recently named a Rising Star in the field of DUI Defense by the Seattle Met Magazine, an honor less than 2.5% of all Attorneys receive.