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Officer: Traffic Laws Regularly Broken

Posted Wednesday, September 26, 2018 by Andrew Charles Huff

I have spent many hours sitting court for various matters and occasionally will chat it up with a police officer while waiting for my case to be called. In speaking with officers who enforce traffic laws, here are the violations they tend to see more than others:

No Turn Signal – Specifically, drivers will occasionally turn onto a road and then immediately move to the far lane without establishing yourself in the nearest lane first. State law requires that you pull into the closest lane possible when making a turn. Once established in this closest lane, then you can signal to move into the next lane.

Traveling in Left Lane - State law requires you to stay right unless passing. It’s something that happens far too often that drivers can get pulled over for.

Not Signaling in Time - Washington traffic law requires you to signal for at least 100 feet before switching lanes or merging. That’s really not a lot of distance at 60 miles an hour, but it’s more than most of us see.

Roundabouts – We are seeing more of these roundabouts out there and some drivers and some drivers are confused about how they work. Here is the simple rule: if you are entering the roundabout, you must yield to traffic already in it.

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Arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI)? Here's What to Do

Posted Wednesday, September 19, 2018 by Andrew Charles Huff

Would you know what to do if you were arrested for a DUI in our state? If you or someone you care about has been arrested for DUI, you’re probably overwhelmed with what to do next. If you find yourself in this position, here are the Top 5 things that you need to do (or not do) after your arrest:

*1. Read all the paperwork you were given*You were probably given a few documents such as a breath test ticket, possible court date and a DOL Hearing Request Form. Take the time to read these documents because the time, date and location of your next court hearing could be included, especially for Seattle cases. That hearing could be as early as the day after your arrest, and missing a court appearance will only add another layer of complication to your situation.

*2. Understand that you only have 20 days to request your Department of Licensing Hearing*You also should have been provided a document called the “DOL Hearing Request Form.” This allows you to request a hearing challenging a potential license suspension based on your breath test or alleged refusal to take one. This hearing with the Department of Licensing is separate from any criminal charge against you such as Driving Under the Influence. However, challenging your license suspension is part of my representation and this hearing is normally conducted over the phone in my office as your attorney.

*3. Do not turn to the police officer or prosecutor’s office for help*Once you have been arrested, you automatically find yourself in a court system that has two sides. You are on one side and the police and the prosecutor are the ‘other side.’ As much as you may like to believe otherwise, the ‘other side’ does not have your best interests in mind – it is simply not their job to look out for you. For any questions about your case, only speak with an experience criminal defense attorney.

*4. Do not rely on the internet for legal advice*I think we all fear the unknown, and of course you are going to turn to the internet to look for information about your situation. The problem is that, while some sites have accurate information, others do not. Some sites present unrealistic best or worst case scenarios, some are outdated, and others, unfortunately, are just flat out wrong and misleading. The best way to get reliable and accurate information is through an experienced DUI attorney.

5. Find the DUI attorney that is right for you

When choosing an attorney to represent you in your case, you should choose an attorney who works regularly in the DUI world, and is knowledgeable and experienced in this area of law. DUI defense is a very specialized area of practice and you need someone with this experience.

When choosing an experienced attorney, look at how long the attorney has been practicing in this area and whether they have a prosecutor’s background to give perspective.

Trust your instincts. You need to have complete trust in your attorney and their ability to provide you the most effective representation.

The Law Office of Andrew C. Huff is exactly the right firm to help good people facing DUI charges. Please call me anytime at 206-729-3477.

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Domestic Violence Allegations-What You Need to Know

Posted Wednesday, September 12, 2018 by Andrew Charles Huff

I deal with cases involving allegations of domestic violence on a regular basis and I have seen first-hand the harm caused by violence against others. At the same time, I have also witnessed completely innocent behavior elevated to a crime by false allegations.

In any case involving domestic violence, there are always the potential results such as separation, divorce and custody proceedings as one spouse may use an allegation of domestic violence to gain a legal advantage. In this situation, you need an experienced domestic violence attorney to help you.

*What exactly is DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?*Potentially, any crime committed by one “family or household member” against someone in the same family or household could potentially constitute domestic violence. Some examples are assault, false imprisonment, property damage, reckless endangerment, stalking, and violating protection orders. As expected, Washington courts take allegations very seriously when the label of “domestic violence” is attached and the penalties can be more serious.

*Who is considered “family or household members?*Washington state law considers a family or household member to be:

  1. Adults related by marriage or blood
  2. Ex-spouses
  3. A child’s parents
  4. Persons 16 years of age or older who reside together or who previously resided together
  5. Persons 16 years of age or older who have or have had a dating relationship
  6. Persons with a biological or legal parent-child relationship (grandparents and stepparents)

When a report is made of a domestic violence allegation, responding police officers must arrest a suspect if that officer believes a domestic violence crime has been committed. Additionally, officers must arrest a person suspected of violating a “no contact” order.

Penalties for Domestic Violence**Domestic violence crimes in the state of Washington can be either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the offense. For all misdemeanor convictions, the penalties include a maximum 90 day in jail sentence and a $1,000 fine. A “gross misdemeanor” is punishable with up to 365 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. Finally, a felony domestic violence conviction can carry more than a year in jail. Additionally, anyone who is convicted of assault as a crime of domestic violence may not own a firearm or obtain a concealed weapons permit in this state. Violating this provision constitutes a felony.

*Can the victim “drop” a domestic violence charge?*This notion of a victim successfully requesting any charges be dropped is false. Once charges are filed, the only person who can “drop” the charge is the prosecutor. Instead, the case can still proceed even if the victim declines to testify or cooperate depending on other evidence.

Fighting a Domestic Violence Charge

In any criminal charge, prosecutors must prove beyond any reasonable doubt the defendant’s guilt. In a case that many times depends on the testimony of the victim, this burden of proof isn’t always easy to meet, especially if the victim does not wish to cooperate with the prosecutor. A good defense attorney can discredit a phony accusation or in some cases might claim self-defense – or that you were defending yourself or personal property – as your defense strategy. After reviewing the details of the charge against you, I will work to develop a defense that is both appropriate and effective. If you are innocent, we will fight the charge and potentially seek a dismissal.

If you are accused of Domestic Violence…

Do not contact or confront your accuser in any form. Any type of contact can potentially be used against you.

Do not post your thoughts about the case on any type of social media, such as Twitter or Facebook. While this might be tempting, anything you post could be distorted and used against you.

Think of witnesses who will vouch for your character and testify on your behalf about specific accusations.

Call my office immediately and let’s get started on your case.

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Ignition Interlock Devices-When Are They Required?

Posted Friday, September 7, 2018 by Andrew Charles Huff

If you have been arrested for a DUI in Washington for the first time, you are probably trying to educate yourself on an area of the law that is probably new to you. You are probably discovering that an arrest for DUI can be a very expensive and time consuming problem to have to deal with.

One potential consequence of a DUI arrest or conviction is the court’s use of ignition interlock devices. There are several scenarios where either the court or the Department of Licensing will require that you not drive a vehicle without a functioning Ignition Interlock Device (IID). One of the new requirements for an IID is that it must be equipped with a camera to verify who the person providing a breath of air into the device.

Here are the situations in which you might be required to have an Ignition Interlock device:

  1. Pretrial Release: At a first appearance before a judge, the court has the authority to require you to have an IID while your case is pending as a condition of your release, similar to imposing bail.

  2. Prior DUI Charge: If you are charged with a DUI and had faced a previous charge within seven years, the court will require that you have an IID in your vehicle while your case is pending.

  3. DUI Conviction: The current law requires that you have an IID in your car for a minimum of a year following a DUI conviction or guilty plea.

  4. Deferred Prosecution: A person who seeks a two-year treatment option called a deferred prosecution is also required to maintain a functioning IID for a minimum of one year.

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Traffic Tickets-You Can Protect Your Record and Insurance Rates

Posted Friday, August 24, 2018 by Andrew Charles Huff

It’s never a pleasant experience driving along and suddenly seeing those flashing lights in your rearview mirror. Many people look at their speedometer and realize either they were indeed over the speed limit or that they that were not speeding. Whether it’s a speeding violation, improper turn, HOV violation or any other traffic ticket, you can keep these off your driving record and protect your insurance rates.

WAC 308.104.160 designates specific tickets as either “moving” or “non-moving” violations. A “moving” violation generally occurs whenever a traffic law is violated by a vehicle in motion. Some examples of moving violations are speeding, running a stop sign or red light or failing to signal. A “non-moving” violation by contrast is usually related to parking or faulty equipment, among other things. Typically, “moving” violations affect a person’s insurance and driving privilege, whereas non-moving violations typically have no such effect.

If you do see those flashing lights in your mirror, pull over immediately and have your license, registration and insurance ready for the officer. Be polite but speak as little as possible as any statements can be reflected in his or her report. Also, remember that most officers won’t accept the “everyone else was speeding too” explanation as, while understandable is not a defense and is actually an admission.

If you are given a ticket, check the “Contested Hearing” box and mail it back to the court within 15 days after making a copy of the front of the ticket.

A “Contested Hearing” will then be scheduled and if you retain me, you do not have to appear in court, as I can appear for you. The high majority of the time, I will be able to keep the ticket off your record either with a straight dismissal, which is preferred obviously or an amendment to a “non-moving” violation that won’t appear on your record.

Call me directly at 206-729-3477 and let’s discuss your case.

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