Top 10 Reasons to Hire a DUI Attorney in Tacoma, Seattle, Olympia

Top 10 Reasons to Hire a DUI Attorney for Tacoma, Seattle, Olympia

  1. Mandatory minimum fines
  2. License suspension
  3. BAC test issues
  4. Deferred prosecution
  5. Probable cause
  6. Court monitoring
  7. Electronic home monitoring
  8. Mandatory drug alcohol classes
  9. Experienced trial attorney
  10. Expert witnesses

1. There are mandatory minimum fines and jail sanctions if you are convicted.

2. Even if you are just charged with a DUI, the DOL can suspend your license. A DUI attorney can appear at that hearing for you potentially prevent your license from being administratively suspended.

3. There can be legal issues with the field sobriety tests and BAC test that an experienced DUI attorney can use to your advantage.

4. You may be eligible to use a deferred prosecution. If you successfully complete the deferred prosecution, your DUI case will be dismissed. A DUI attorney will help you decide if this route is the best choice for your case.

5. Did the police even have a reason to pull you over the in the first place? Many police officers have dash cams that view your driving. A DUI attorney will quickly be able to access this video and analyze whether you ever should have been pulled over in the first place.

6. If convicted of a DUI, the court can monitor you for 5 years. You want a DUI attorney that will help you for that entire time to make sure you follow the court’s orders.

7. Did you know that even at the first court date you could be required to have electronic home monitoring (house arrest with alcohol monitoring), an ignition interlock device, or a special kind of insurance called SR22 insurance? Whether your answer is yes or no, a DUI attorney can help you navigate this complicated system.

8. If convicted, the Court will require you to take drug or alcohol classes. These can last for months and potentially be expensive. DUI attorneys are familiar with the treatment agencies to help pair you with the best one for your situation.

9. If your case goes to trial, you want an attorney by your side. Horwath Law has experience winning tough DUIs.

10. Have you ever seen Law and Order where that doctor or toxicologist testifies? You may need an expert witness to help you win at trial or get the best plea bargain. A DUI attorney is trained in working with expert witnesses and knowing who is qualified to assist with your case.

We’re here to help you. Call us today!

TOP 10 Reasons to Hire a Washington Domestic Violence Attorney

If you are charged with a domestic violence crime in Olympia, Seattle or Tacoma, it is imperative that you hire a domestic violence attorney.

You could be facing many negative consequences, and domestic violence attorneys have the experience and insight to help you through this charge. If you have been charged with a domestic violence crime, your first call should be to Horwath Law.

  1. Possible prison time.
  2. Personal liberties taken away.
  3. Inaccurate 911 calls.
  4. No contact orders.
  5. Witness tampering.
  6. Trial proof.
  7. Plea negotiation.
  8. Evidence procurement.
  9. False allegations.
  10. Child Protective Services issues.

1. Most importantly, if convicted of a domestic violence crime, you could be facing jail or prison time and thousands of dollars in fines.

2. If convicted of a domestic violence crime, you will lose your right to possess firearms and may have to give the Court a DNA sample. You could also have to contact the court every time you want to leave the state.

3. Witnesses or alleged victims often times call 911 to report an incident. There are evidentiary issues that domestic violence attorneys are familiar with to exclude these 911 calls from being used at trial.

4. Often times a judge will impose a no contact order so a domestic violence attorney can help with getting that order lifted or prevent the order from being imposed in the first place.

5. Domestic violence attorneys have investigators who can interview witnesses to the incident. If you have been charged with a domestic violence offense, if you talk to a witness or alleged victim about your charge, then this could be witness tampering. Witness tampering is another crime itself.

6. Domestic violence attorneys know how to look at the elements of a crime and analyze what can actually be proven at trial.

7. A prosecutor may have you try to plead guilty as charged with treatment and other classes, but a domestic violence attorney knows how to negotiate on your behalf to get you the best outcome.

8. A domestic violence attorney will be able to quickly get a copy of the police report, 911 calls, and any other evidence that the prosecutor may try to use against you. A public records request on your own to get these materials could take weeks or months.

9. People can make false allegations against you, and the police will arrest you. A domestic violence attorney can disprove these allegations.

10. If a domestic violence allegation is child abuse, CPS may become involved. Although the allegation is a criminal issue and dealing with CPS is a civil issue, a domestic attorney can help lessen the impact of the charge to try to lessen any problems with CPS.

Find out more about Olympia, Seattle and Tacoma Domestic Violence Attorneys.

Medical Reasons for a High Breath Test – Diabetes and DUI

Did you know that the symptoms of alcohol intoxication and diabetes are very similar?

Alcohol can immediately increase blood sugar; however, over a period of hours, blood sugar can actually be lowered. This can cause a diabetic reaction and mislead an officer into thinking that a driver is quite drunk. Their diabetic reaction can cause outward symptoms such as: tiredness, flushed face, drowsiness, impaired coordination, and dulled mental alertness. In addition, ketones on the breath can cause bad breath, which would smell like the “odor of alcohol on breath” to an officer. Even someone who is diabetic, who just has low blood sugar, can exhibit: slurred speech, slowed movement, and impaired motor control.

If a diabetic person were to then take a blood alcohol breath test, the acetone in their breath may cause an erroneously high reading. One study found that the subjects with diabetes had acetone levels high enough to produce a breath alcohol reading of .06.[1] That is almost above the legal limit of .08. Also, these breath machines will think that ketones on the breath are actually alcohol. Even though these breath machines have “interferent detectors” (meaning detectors that can determine if a different chemical other than alcohol is present in the machine) those detectors are usually ineffective because they are not trained to detect ketones.

Prosecutors will also attempt to predict what someone’s BAC (blood alcohol content) was at the time of driving by using a certain mathematical process called retrograde extrapolation. Bottom line, is that this process may be unreliable in the case of a defendant with diabetes because insulin increases the rate of burning off alcohol.

DUI Defense Attorneys have had success using diabetes as a defense at a DUI trial to get a not guilty verdict or to get a better plea deal from the prosecutor. [2] The Attorney’s at Horwath Law has successfully used diabetes as a defense to get a DUI amended to a lesser charge, thereby avoiding a costly trial for their clients.

If you or someone that you know has been charged with a DUI, Reckless Driving, Physical Control, or Negligent Driving in Washington, Horwath Law wants to take the time with you and your medical history to get the best results for your case. Contact us today.

[1] Mormann, Olsen, Sakshaug, and Morland, Measurement of Ethanol by Alkomat Breath Analyzer; Chemical Specificity and the Influence of Lung Function, Breath Technique and Environmental Temperature

[2]Drunk Driving Defense Fifth Edition page 190-193 and 327-329 by Lawrence Taylor

DUI Washington Attorney – Best Practices

Police officer giving a roadside sobriety test to a drunk driver.

 

A person driving under the influence often times does not realize that they have consumed too much alcohol to drive until it’s too late. Unfortunately, they do not realize the consequences of their actions until they are arrested for driving under the influence or in a vehicle accident or worse.

You have to find a DUI attorney in Olympia, Seattle and Tacoma if you find yourself arrested for driving under the influence.

According to the laws in the state of Washington, a DUI will never be expunged from your criminal record and carries with it mandatory jail and license suspensions as well as significant fines. A DUI is typically a gross misdemeanor, but it is as complicated to defend as a felony case. This is because a DUI case involves the merging of scientific evidence, police testimony, and issues of constitutional law.

When an officer suspects DUI, they begin the process of a DUI arrest with a Breath Test (BAC). But, a breath test isn’t entirely accurate because it is not an exact science. The detector used can be fooled by interferences.  Liquid inside your mouth (mouth alcohol) even if it’s just a drop can cause the device to give an artificially high BAC end result. Additionally, poorly fitting dentures, loose fillings, untreated cavities, or a tongue piercing could all cause a fault in the BAC readout. To minimize the chance of this officers are requires to conduct an “observation period” where the police officer will check your mouth, and then you cannot eat or drink until the waiting period is over and you have completed the breath test; otherwise, the food or drink could interfere with the breath test. Talk to your lawyer and explain to them if you burped or threw up during the waiting period, because that could make it look like you were under the influence even if you were not.

There may also be constitutional issues for your attorney to raise.  While in some places, a police officer can randomly stop passing vehicles, in Washington, a police officer needs to have a valid reason to pull you over. They can’t stop passing cars without suspicion. Once they’ve pulled your car over, the police must have probable cause to arrest you for DUI. In order to determine if the constitutional requirements had been met, your DUI lawyer will evaluate the police reports, the in-car video, and probably interview the arresting office.

Your lawyer will also attempt to determine whether the “facts” provided by the officer are true of if there are any flaws in his narrative. Your lawyer will compare his side of the arrest with witness testimonies and the provided evidence. If there are details that don’t correlate it could be used to your advantage. A DUI conviction is very serious. If you have been arrested for DUI, it is vital that you hire a DUI attorney to begin your defense right away, so contact Horwath Law now.

Defending Against False Domestic Violence Accusations in Seattle / Tacoma

If you’re currently being accused of domestic abuse, you know how it can affect every aspect of a person’s life. It just doesn’t ruin your reputation; it can ruin your entire life. Your loved ones refrain from getting in touch with you, you might lose your job and fail to find another, and then it is the constant downward spiral straight to the bottom.

Why Are Domestic Violence Accusations So Powerful?

Well, to put it shortly, the general population frowns upon anyone who is accused of domestic violence. It doesn’t matter if they’ve seen any form of proof; they make up their mind that the person is nothing but a violent animal.

Being faced with domestic violence charges can be heartbreaking for most people. Usually, the alleged victims are close to the person that is charged with violence and this can really be overwhelming for them. We’ve seen quite a few clients that were incredibly frustrated because their name is being dragged in the mud because of some well thought-out plot designed by a person they loved and, in most cases, they still do.

Why Do People Make False Domestic Violence Accusations in Seattle / Tacoma?

Generally, the most typical reason would be that the person that’s pretending to be the victim is actually mentally unstable and needs help. But, there are quite a few other motives as well.

There’s always a chance that the accuser is set out to seek vengeance. If they think that you cheated on them or in some way insulted them, they might be out to destroy your entire life because of it.

And, the second most common reason would be in case of a divorce when there are children involved. Child custody proceedings are going to be pretty easy for the jury if one of the two spouses is accused of domestic violence. This is a strategy that a lot of people use and it can work wonders if the court believes their accusations.

You need to understand that the faster you can get why someone filed false charges against you, the faster you can get rid of them. Obviously, the best way to dismiss false domestic violence accusations is to contact one of our attorneys. But, before you do that, we’ll talk a bit about defending yourself against these allegations so your situation can become slightly perceivable.

How Can You Defend Yourself Against these False Accusations?

First of all, the best way to defend yourself is before the case actually starts. We can always tell when a relationship with someone is taking a bad turn, whether it is your spouse, girlfriend, or even your children. If you’re dealing with emotionally unstable people, you can expect that they’ll plan something impulsive to ruin your life. That’s just how their mind works. Revenge is their coping mechanism and there’s nothing you can do to rectify that. However, what you can do is start preparing for a possible trial. Let’s talk about everything you can do if you think your sour relationship could end in a court proceeding.

Consult a Legal Attorney in Seattle / Tacoma

There are attorneys specifically designated to dealing with domestic violence cases. Look for good attorneys in your area and go in-depth to explain your dilemma. Most Seattle / Tacoma firms offer free-of-cost consultations, so it’s a good idea to talk to one even if you don’t hire them. They can provide invaluable information regarding your situation, and this expert outlook might just save you from a possible conviction.

Protect Your Valuables

This is a common problem among the people that are accused of violence. They don’t know how far their loved ones can sink in the motive to destroy their reputation. You need to realize that there is a person that will go to great lengths to ensure a conviction. And, your documents like your driver’s license, birth certification, car titles and money are something they tend to steal. While it might not seem like much at the moment, missing these documents could be difficult for you down the road.

Talk to Your Friends and Family

As we said earlier, even being accused of domestic violence is good enough to destroy your relationship with the people you know. That’s why you need to come clean with them before anything happens. They’re going to know about your dysfunctional relationship with the alleged victim soon enough. It’s much better if they find out from you instead of the T.V. or the neighbors. You should explain your situation to them and tell them how they could get in a lot of trouble shortly. The whole motive of this point is to ensure that you are not alone in your struggle for your freedom. You’ll have people on your side to explain how unstable the alleged victim actually is.

Protect Your Login Information

Securing your social media accounts and cell phones is extremely crucial. We’ve seen a lot of cases where the alleged victim uses your phone to send themselves threatening messages. Since the court will not have any way to know that the texts are doctored and that will be groundbreaking for the victim’s case. So, make sure they have no way to show that you threatened them otherwise it won’t take long for the jury to decide that you are indeed guilty.

Closing Thoughts

This is all very complicated stuff and we won’t be surprised if you still can’t understand certain aspects of it. It is probably a very difficult time for you and you should know that there are people that could do wonders to improve your current situation. You can visit Horwath Law to consult with one of our experts or you could contact us online. We can assure you that you will understand the current scenario much more easily.

Domestic Violence No Contact Orders

On April 26th, 2018, The Washington State Supreme Court paved the way for how judges can impose domestic violence no contact orders.

They decided in State v. Granath that “Under RCW 10.99.050, a court of limited jurisdiction lacks authority to issue a domestic violence no contact under that exceeds the length of the underlying sentence, which can be up to 5 years.”

What does this even mean?

Let’s start with the different types of no contact orders in King / Pierce County that the court can impose.

First, a judge presiding over a criminal case can impose a pretrial domestic violence no contact order. In misdemeanor cases, judges often impose a pretrial domestic violence no contact order when a defendant has been accused of an assault domestic violence charge, harassment domestic violence charge, or malicious mischief third degree domestic violence charge. This order will prohibit the defendant from having contact with a victim, and the order could last for up to five years. If the defendant violates this order, then he or she can be criminally charged with violating a no contact order.

A judge presiding over a criminal case can impose a post-conviction domestic violence no contact order when a defendant has been convicted of a domestic violence offense as a result of a guilty plea or guilty verdict at trial. If the defendant violates this order, then he or she can be criminally charged with violating a no contact order.

This is where that Supreme Court decision comes in. When a person is convicted of a domestic violence crime, the court can place he or she on probation for up to five years and impose a no contact order for that length of time as well. However, if the court decided to only place them on probation for two years, the length of the time that the not contact order could remain in place could only be two years also. Before, a no contact order could remain in place for a longer period of time than the defendant’s probation.

A pretrial and post-conviction domestic violence no contact order should not be confused with a civil protection order. The two types of civil protection orders that one could seek in Pierce County are: a harassment order or stalking protection order. The judge, who issues these orders, does not do so as a result of someone being charged with a crime. Instead, if a person felt that they were being harassed or stalked, they could fill out a form and submit it to the district or superior court to have the judge review it. There would then be a hearing to determine if the judge finds reason to impose either type of order. If a judge does impose either type of order, someone can be criminally charged for violating this type of order.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a violation of a no contact order in Tacoma, Lakewood, or anywhere in Western Washington, please contact Horwath Law right away.

Misconceptions About Assault And Domestic Violence

Lakewood, Tacoma, WA Assault Charges

On May 9th, 2018, a Lakewood man was charged with second degree assault for allegedly causing his 3 month old girl to have brain hemorrhages and several broken bones.

When you read that news headline, I’m sure many of you wondered what a second degree assault actually means and thought that there is only one universal assault charge. This is a misconception. There are actually many categories of assaults that range in their penalties.

There are 4 main types of assault charges:

1. Assault 1 is Class A Felony.

A person is guilty of assault 1 when with intent to inflict great bodily harm he or she: (a) Assaults another with a firearm or any deadly weapon or by any force or means likely to produce great bodily harm or death; or (b) Administers, exposes, or transmits to or causes to be taken by another, poison, HIV virus, or any other destructive or noxious substance; or (c) Assaults another and inflicts great bodily harm.
*For more information on what is classified as assault 1 search RCW 9A.36.011.

2. Assault 2 is typically a Class B Felony.

A person is guilty of assault 2 when he or she: Intentionally assaults another and thereby recklessly inflicts substantial bodily harm; or (b) Intentionally and unlawfully causes substantial bodily harm to an unborn quick child by intentionally and unlawfully inflicting any injury upon the mother of such child; or (c) Assaults another with a deadly weapon; or (d) With intent to inflict bodily harm, administers to or causes to be taken by another, poison or any other destructive or noxious substance; or (e) With intent to commit a felony, assaults another; or (f) Knowingly inflicts bodily harm which by design causes such pain or agony as to be the equivalent of that produced by torture; or (g) Assaults another by strangulation or suffocation.
*For more information on what is classified as Assault 2 search RCW 9a.36.021.

3. Assault 3 is a Class C Felony.

A person is guilty of Assault 3 in many of the following circumstances: assaulting a bus driver, transit operator, nurse, law enforcement officer, assaulting someone in a courtroom, etc.
*For more information on what is classified as Assault 3 search RCW 9a.36.031

4. Assault 4 is a Gross Misdemeanor

To convict the defendant of the crime of assault in the fourth degree, each of the following elements of the crime must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt:
(1) That on or about(date), the defendant assaulted(name of person), and
(2) That this act occurred in the [State of Washington] [City of ] [County of ].

*For more information on what is classified as assault 4 search WPIC 35.50.

Domestic violence:

Often times assault charges are accompanied by domestic violence tags. The term “domestic violence” does not necessarily mean that you were “domestically violent.” The term domestic violence is attached to a charge when the charge involves: a family or household member, spouse, registered domestic partner, roommates, people in a dating relationship, and the list goes on.
*For more information on what is classified as domestic violence search WPIC 2.27.

Felony versus Gross Misdemeanor

Felonies carry prison time, meaning a year or more in jail whereas Gross Misdemeanors carry a maximum of 364 days in jail and a $5000 fine.

So the next time that you hear the word “Assault” in the news, you’ll know that not all assaults are treated equal in the eyes of the law.

If you or someone you know has been charged with Assault in Tacoma, Lakewood, or anywhere in Western Washington, please contact Horwath Law right away.

Huge Win for DUI Defendants

Typically when a prosecutor intends to present a forensic or toxicology report, they must subpoena the person who actually did the work that produced the report.  However,  in DUI cases, prosecutors have successfully been allowed to admit the report without the supporting testimony.  DUI defense attorneys challenged this approach arguing that admitting the test without the actual testimony of the person who prepared the results violates a defendant’s Sixth Amendment rights under the Confrontation Clause.

On June 23rd the United States Supreme Court ruled that those accused in all criminal prosecutions have the right to be confronted by adverse witnesses, including lab technicians who analyze blood samples for DUI prosecution.  Bullcoming v. New Mexico,131 S.Ct. 587 (2010).

In a 5-4 decision, the Court reversed a ruling from the New Mexico Supreme Court that accepted the trial testimony of a different forensic analyst who neither tested the accused’s blood sample or prepared the report of the resulting blood alcohol level. In the opinion of the Court, this procedure denied the accused the opportunity to cross-examine the actual analyst involved in the testing and certification.

Proper Passenger Etiquette on a DUI stop

Yesterday morning a 45-year-old Seattle woman gave Kitsap County sheriff’s deputies and Bainbridge Island police officers an earful early Tuesday after her boyfriend was arrested for DUI.  According to the Kitsap Sun, at 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, the officers pulled over the driver of a van because they recognized him and knew his driver’s license was suspended. The stop led to the man’s arrest for DUI. Officers soon discovered that a woman was in the back of the vehicle when she “screaming at the top of her lungs” and kicking her legs in the air.  Not wearing pants or shoes and believed to be highly intoxicated, the woman “continued this screaming of vulgar insults non stop,” officers said.
The woman was seated on a curb but soon began running for the patrol car in which her boyfriend was seated. Officers took her to the ground and placed her under arrest. Deputies had to use leg restraints on the ride to jail, in which she continued her tirade using “colorful terms” and made threats. She had also urinated on at least two officers before being booked into jail on suspicion of obstructing a law enforcement officer, the documents said.

While most of us know that urinating on officers will get you no where, it does raise the question, how should one behave if they are a passenger that is getting pulled over? Officers will likely request passengers to provide identification but passengers are free to refuse to provide identification however, this can lead to additional problems. If the police officer has reasonable suspicion that there may be drugs, weapons or other contraband in the vehicle, the passenger may also be arrested and detained. Passengers who choose to provide identification willingly to an arresting officer will likely have their names run in the system for warrants or outstanding tickets.

The best thing for a passenger to do is keep quiet and at the soonest possible time ask the officer if they are free to leave.  If the passenger is unfortunate enough to have an independent  reason to be arrested they at least are afforded the same rights to challenge the basis of the stop as the driver is afforded.  So, things might turn out okay for our Ms. Urinating Seattle woman because the basis of the stops seems suspect.