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 Avvo.com 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 Avvo.com 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 Avvo.com and named a Superb DUI Lawyer.