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How I Fight and Win Traffic Tickets

Posted Thursday, August 8, 2019 by Andrew Charles Huff

This question is one I’m asked by clients, friends, and colleagues who don’t practice traffic defense and my answer is always the same…a thousand different ways.

When I first review the discovery documents of any case, I look at the face of the ticket to ensure required information is present.

There are specific filing deadlines that have to be met by the court and prosecutor.

There are jurisdictional requirements for a court to hear a case. For example, Seattle Municipal Court could not hear a case cited in unincorporated King County.

A check of the alleged dates to see if everything is consistent, such as whether the violation date is the same as the date the ticket provided to the driver.

I examine what the officer’s qualifications and training in conducting traffic stops and operating a Speed Measuring Device (SMD).

The many foundational issues such as when the Speed Measuring Device (SMD) was calibrated and checked for accuracy by the citing officer and the results.

It is imperative to find as many issues as possible to show the court the prosecutor has not met their burden of proof. Remember, unlike a criminal case, the burden of proof is much less…a preponderance or “more likely than not” the state has met their burden.

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Boating Under the Influence-This is a Crime

Posted Thursday, August 1, 2019 by Andrew Charles Huff

Summer time in Washington means more boats out on the water…and many times this includes enjoying an alcoholic beverage while on the waves. But like driving a car, if you are stopped for Boating Under the Influence you will face gross-misdemeanor charges same as a DUI. This means that you can face up to 364 days in jail and a $5,000 penalty. However, unlike a regular DUI, there is no driver’s license suspension and you have no obligation to take a breath test.

Here are important points about Boating Under the Influence:

A BUI conviction does not require carry mandatory jail time or fines

A BUI conviction does not carry a driver’s license suspension.

A Boating Under the Influence conviction does not have an ignition interlock requirement.

After an arrest for Boating Under the Influence arrest, a refusal of a breath or blood test at the police station can carry a civil fine between $1000 and $2,050.

Although Boating Under the Influence is different from a DUI charge, you should never take an arrest lightly because it is a criminal conviction that will appear on your record.

When you are out on your water craft, police must have probable cause to stop and conduct an investigation on your boat, including during the emphasis patrols that occur on Lake Washington, Lake Union, and Puget Sound around Seafair Weekend.

If you are stopped and arrested for Boating Under the Influence, call my office immediately and let’s discuss your case. I have handled many of these cases and all successfully. Just remember to always be safe out on the water.

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DUI and License Suspensions

Posted Friday, July 19, 2019 by Andrew Charles Huff

A charge of Driving Under the Influence or even a simple traffic ticket can potentially put your driver’s license at risk if you don’t take proper action. The Department of Licensing (DOL) process is confusing and complex with hard deadlines.

You can face a possible license suspension over the following actions:

  • Provide a breath alcohol level of .08 of higher
  • Refuse the provide a breath test when offered
  • Your blood draw that is above the legal limits for alcohol and/or THC
  • Fail to take any action on a traffic ticket you received

Different Types of License Actions

A person’s license can be suspended by either the Department of Licensing (administrative) or by the courts as a result of a criminal conviction. If you are arrested for Driving Under the Influence and you do not request a hearing with the Department of Licensing, your license will be suspended automatically and you lose your right to challenge the action. A letter from DOL will be mailed to your last known address that will tell you when your suspension starts and when it finishes. Always make sure to correct any address changes by going to: dol.wa.gov.

You have a Right to Challenge a License Suspension with DOL

When you are arrested for DUI, you have a limited amount of time to request a formal hearing with DOL. The arresting officer should have given you a piece of paper that says, “Request for DUI Hearing”. If they did not, you can download this form from the Washington DOL website. You must complete your DOL DUI Hearing Request Form and mail it to the address on the form. This administrative hearing with DOL is a hearing that I handle for you as part of my representation. This is a telephone hearing that focuses on just four legal issues. The request for a hearing needs to be postmarked to DOL within seven days along with a fee of $375.

These issues can be very tricky and somewhat confusing since you are dealing with both a civil administrative hearing along with your criminal proceedings in court. Call my office anytime at 206-729-3477 to discuss your matter.

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DUI Blood Test Results-How to Fight Them

Posted Thursday, July 18, 2019 by Andrew Charles Huff

Since the state of Washington legalized the personal use of marijuana, I have seen a steady rise in arrest for those suspected of smoking too much weed and driving a vehicle. Whether or not you are at the legal limit of 5 ngs of THC, you can most likely anticipate to be prosecuted if arrested for driving after smoking.

Unlike alcohol, THC is tested directly in your blood and not through your breath. This requires your blood to be drawn and tested at one of the state’s toxicology labs. But like breath testing for alcohol, there are many areas to challenge the results and keep them out as evidence.

  • Guidelines for collection, transport, preservation and storage of the blood sample were not in compliance

  • The person who drew the blood was not properly certified

  • The blood sample was mislabeled and cannot be conclusively be identified

  • A second sample was not obtained by police for defense to have retested

  • A retest by an independent lab show significant discrepancies between the two results

  • The blood vial was tampered with or not properly sealed during preservation or transport

  • The blood kit’s expiration date has expired

  • The blood results were artificially inflated because the lab technician tested only blood serum or plasma instead of the whole blood

  • When preparing your arm for the blood draw, officials did not use proper or approved cleaning agents, such as rubbing alcohol

  • Excessive preservative in the vacuum tube may result in an inaccurate reading

The above are some of the many challenges to I look to make in ever blood draw case with the goal of showing the court the evidence is invalid or inaccurate. This can result in cases being either reduced or dismissed because the prosecutor cannot meet their burden of proof.

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Traffic Ticket in Pierce County? Here’s What To Do

Posted Thursday, July 18, 2019 by Andrew Charles Huff

I regularly represent folks who have received speeding and other traffic tickets in the Tacoma and unincorporated Pierce County area. This is an active area for law enforcement to regularly stop drivers and issue tickets for speeding, failure to stop, not using a signal, negligent driving, etc.

When issued a ticket in Pierce County, make sure to check the “Contested Hearings” box and mail the original ticket back to the court within 15 days after making a copy of the front. The court will then schedule a hearing and notify you and counsel of the hearing date and time. Remember that you do not need to appear for this hearing since counsel can appear for you.

Tickets issued in Pierce County should be mailed to:Pierce County District CourtCivil-Infraction Division930 Tacoma Ave S Room 239Tacoma WA 98402

Pierce County normally sets their Contested Hearings calendar for mornings at either 9:00 am or 10:00 am at the Tacoma courthouse.

The Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office normally does not send a prosecutor to represent the state in Contested Hearings for traffic tickets. This means there is no one to respond to the various motions to dismiss the ticket we make before the judge, which is beneficial because the judge has to rule on the motion without the prosecutor responding with a counter argument.

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