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How Police Measure Your Speed

Posted Thursday, August 2, 2018 by Andrew Charles Huff

*Laser Speeding Tickets*Laser devices, also known as LIDAR (light distance and ranging), measure a car’s speed by using a time/distance calculation. A narrow band of light originates from the laser device and is aimed at the target vehicle and the time it takes the reflected light to return to the laser device is measured. Because the speed of both the original light pulse and its reflection are traveling at the same speed (the speed of light), differences in the time it takes the transmitted light to strike the target vehicle and return can be used to calculate the speed of the vehicle and serve as the basis for a laser speeding ticket. Unlike radar, lasers can pinpoint specific vehicles in heavy traffic.

*Radar Speeding Tickets*Radar guns aim an electromagnetic signal at a target vehicle and pick up the return signal reflected off the vehicle. The doppler effect causes the frequency of the return signal to shift by an amount dependent on the relative speeds of the source of the original signal and the target. Speed radar devices measure the frequency of the reflected signal and compare it with the frequency of the original signal to determine the speed of the target vehicle. A radar beam varies in width comparative to its length-the further the radar’s “zone” extends from the unit the wider it will be. An officer who issues a radar speeding ticket should be certain that the radar was not inadvertently picking up any other moving objects that may also have been within the radar’s “zone”.

**Speeding Tickets by Pace

**Also known as a “pace”, the clock and follow method is where an officer moves his vehicle behind another, keeps a uniform distance between the two vehicles for a certain distance and then uses the reading on his speedometer to measure how fast the target vehicle is driving.

*Speeding Tickets by Aerial Speed Measurement*Police officers in aircraft measure vehicle speeds by monitoring the time it takes the target vehicle to travel between two or more marked spots on the road which are spaced a known distance apart. Information is transmitted to officers on the ground who then issue speeding summonses.

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Seattle Traffic Tickets and the “Pre-Hearing Conference”

Posted Wednesday, August 1, 2018 by Andrew Charles Huff

For the past several years, I have been retained by more people ticketed in downtown Seattle for not complying with the many confusing signs directing cars, bikes and pedestrians. If you are unfortunate to have received a ticket in downtown Seattle, your case will most likely be set in Seattle Municipal Court.

It’s important that you request a “Contested Hearing” by marking this on the ticket and mailing it back to the court within 15 days after making a copy of it. Seattle Municipal Court will initially set your matter for a “Pre-Hearing Conference” with a court magistrate. However, this “Pre-Hearing Conference” is simply for the purpose of asking for your fine to be lowered, not to fight the ticket and keep it off your record.

If I’m fortunate to represent you in Seattle Municipal Court, you do not need to attend the “Pre-Hearing Conference” and this hearing will be waived and a “Contested Hearing” will then be scheduled. It is the “Contested Hearing” in which I fight your ticket with the goal of keeping it off your record and maintain your insurance rates.Call my office any time and let’s discuss how we can resolve your traffic situation.

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Why the Datamaster Breath Machine is Unreliable

Posted Friday, July 27, 2018 by Andrew Charles Huff

Infrared breath testing is susceptible to several different kinds of errors. The first fallacy is that an individual’s actual blood/breath partition ratio is 2100:1. In fact, the actual blood/breath partition ratio in any given case depends on several factors, including a person’s body temperature and the time that the alcohol was consumed in relation to the breath test. Modern research has shown that the ratio can vary from 1100:1 to 3000:1. An actual blood/breath ratio that differs from 2100:1 can have a profound impact and a person’s breath test result. For example, suppose a person with a 1500:1 ratio blows .10 on the Datamaster – well over the legal limit. Given their ratio of 1500:1, that person’s actual BAC would be closer to .06 – well below the legal limit.

In addition to the controversy which surrounds the blood/breath partition ratio, the Datamaster and Datamaster CDM are susceptible to interference both from a multitude of substances other than alcohol and radio waves.

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Washington Breath Test Machines-What’s the Status?

Posted Friday, July 27, 2018 by Andrew Charles Huff

Washington has approved three breath testing machines for DUI investigations: 1) the Datamaster, 2) the Datamaster CDM, and 3) The Draeger Alcotest 9510. The first two machines, the Datamaster and e Datamaster CDM are being phased out in favor of the German-manufactured Draeger Alcotest 9510.

All three machines use a method called Infrared Spectroscopy to measure a sample of breath for its alcohol content. The Draeger Alcotest 9510 uses an additional method called electrochemical cell technology.

The basic operation of infrared breath testing devices is quite simple. You blow into the device and a sample of your breath is captured in a “sample chamber.” If you’ve consumed alcohol, that sample of your breath not only contains air, but it also contains alcohol molecules. Once the machine has a sample of your breath, a light is shone through the sample chamber – through the sample of your breath – and is detected by a photocell at the other end of the chamber. The alcohol molecules in your breath will absorb some of the light, so not all of the light will make it to the photocell. The machine then calculates the difference between how much light reaches the photocell when there is nothing in the sample chamber and how much light reaches the photocell with your breath in the sample chamber.

This process provides an indirect measurement of your blood alcohol content because the machine is testing your breath, not your blood. The blood alcohol content is obtained by applying a presumed “blood/breath partition ratio”. This partition ratio is based on the assumption that there is a fixed ratio between the alcohol concentration in the blood and in the air in the lungs. In the 1950’s, scientists determined that a ratio of 2100 to 1 was the best estimate of the blood/breath ratio for most of the population. That is, for every gram of alcohol in the air above the blood, there are 2100 grams of alcohol in the blood.

Both the Datamaster and Datamaster CDM have been used in Washington for years. However, many of these machines are so old that the manufacturer no longer provides parts for repair. When they break down or require parts to be changed, the Washington State Patrol must find spare parts on other unused machines until ALL breath test machines have been replaced by the Draeger Alcotest 9510.

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Arrested for DUI? What You Should Know

Posted Friday, July 20, 2018 by Andrew Charles Huff

As a criminal defense attorney representing those accused of, among other things Driving Under the Influence (DUI), I routinely receive calls from people just arrested who are feeling completely overwhelmed. No matter the circumstances, you will be dealing with a wide range of emotions and questions, including “what happens now?”In addition to having an effective and skilled attorney on your side to represent and guide you through the process, there are a few other things to keep in mind when arrested for a DUI.

  • If you are arrested and show a BAC of .08% or more—even if you are not later convicted—you could face some administrative penalties, including a potential minimum 90-day license suspension. If you refuse to take a breath test, you could face a license suspension of a year or more.

  • A DUI conviction comes with mandatory fines potentially up to $5,000.00. Other penalties include jail time, further license suspension, Ignition Interlock Device requirements and probation.

  • A court summons will normally be mailed to you following your initial arrest and the rules require you attend your court date. At your first hearing called an Arraignment, you will plead Not Guilty and a Pre-Trial Hearing is then set.

  • You will need an alcohol evaluation, which determines whether you have any level of dependency with alcohol.

  • Complete a Victim’s Impact Panel class.

Being charged with a DUI can definitely cause stress and anxiety in your life. The best thing you can do is hire an experienced DUI defense attorney. Please call me at 206-729-3477 to ask questions about your case or set up a meeting.

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