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The Draeger Alcotest 9510 Breath Machines Are Here!

Posted Thursday, August 23, 2018 by Andrew Charles Huff

Washington State recently rolled out the new breath test machine to be used in DUI cases called the Alcotest 9510, manufactured by a German company called Dräger Industries. The Washington State Patrol replaced its aging fleet of DataMaster and DataMaster CDM breath test machines which have been in service since 1984.

The Alcotest 9510 measures a DUI suspect’s breath alcohol content by actually taking two separate breath samples from each suspect, then sending those samples one at a time through the machine’s two testing chambers. The first chamber analyzes alcohol contained in the breath sample by using a chemical reaction from an electrochemical cell (referred to as the EC result). Next the machine sends the same breath sample into a second chamber where it is tested using infrared lights called infrared spectroscopy (referred to as the IR result). Once IR result is completed the machine purges itself of the air sample and gets ready for the second breath sample from the suspect. The result is actually four readings – 2 EC results and 2 IR results.

For the machine to provide a successful final BAC result, all four readings must be within a certain tolerance of one another to be considered a “true” reading. This is done by plugging the numbers into an algorithm created by the manufacturer. However, Washington State Law gives the defendant the benefit of the doubt by taking the lowest of the 4 readings and rounding down to the second decimal place.

Additional breath testing requirements to receive an acceptable breath sample include minimum air volume and blowing duration. So if the air sample is too small the machine cannot test it.

Also, the mouth piece must be changed between each breath to minimize the effects of any residual alcohol. There must also be a two-minute lock out between each breath sample to ensure the machine has enough time to purge the last breath sample before taking a new one.

The police officer must also observe the suspect for 15 minutes prior to blowing into the machine as well making sure all radio devices, including cell phones are removed from the testing room.

Call my office for more information on the Alcotest 9510 or other questions you might have.

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If stopped by police, here's what to do...and not do

Posted Friday, August 10, 2018 by Andrew Charles Huff

As a criminal and DUI defense attorney, I am often asked what to do if stopped by a police officer and you have been drinking alcohol. My standard advice is this:

1. Don’t Talk. You have a right to remain silent – take advantage of it. Do not attempt to convince the officer of your innocence. Most times, when people speak to officers they say something that makes their situation far worse. Speak as little as possible. There will be plenty of time to talk later.

2. Don’t Run. If you run or try and evade the officer, not only could there be additional charges, but if the case goes to trial, this could lead to evidence showing “consciousness of guilt” whereby the Jury is told basically “guilty people run, innocent people don’t”.

3. Never Resist Arrest. Perhaps the most important thing not to do is touch the police officer at all! Follow what the officer says.

4. No Searching. Do not allow the police to search anywhere! If the police officer asks, they do not have the right to search and must have your consent. If you are asked make sure you are clear when you state to police “You (the police) do not have consent to search.” If they perform the search anyway, that evidence may be thrown out later. Also, if you consent to a search, the officers may find something that you had no idea you or someone else had placed there.

5. Don’t Look At Places Where You Don’t Want Police to Search. Police are trained to watch you and react to you. They know that you are nervous and scared and many people look to the areas that they don’t want the police to search. Do not react to the search and do not answer any questions.

6. Do Not Talk Smack to the Police. It doesn’t matter if you have been wrongly arrested. Don’t talk smack! Police have a lot of discretion in the upcoming charges brought and how it all develops in the system. Police can add charges, change a misdemeanor to a felony, and will even talk to the prosecutor that is ultimately prosecuting you.

7. If Police Come to Your Home, Do not Let Them In and Do Not Step Outside Your Home If the police show up at your door and want inside, make it clear to them by stating: “No you may not come in”, or “I am comfortable talking right here”, or “You need a search warrant to enter my home.”

*8. If You Are Outside Your Home and Arrested, Do Not Accept an Offer to Go Back In Your Home for Anything. *The officer may say to you, how about you go inside and change, freshen up, talk to your wife, husband, get a jacket, or provide you with any other reason. The police will graciously escort you in and then tear your home apart searching through it.

*9. Don’t say a word. *Its’ incredible how many people feel that they can convince the officer, the booking officer or a detective (if your case reaches that stature) that they are not guilty. YOUR CASE IS NOT DECIDED BY THESE PEOPLE. They have no effect on guilty or not guilty. Wait to speak to your lawyer! The courts and juries in particular give enormous weight to “confessions” during this stage.

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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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