Seattle Traffic, DUI and Criminal Defense Attorney

Available 24/7 – (206) 729-3477
The Best in Traffic, DUI and Criminal Defense

The Seattle DUI and Criminal Defense Blog

DUI Charge? You can fight it

Posted Friday, May 5, 2017 by Andrew Charles Huff

If you are facing charges for driving under the influence, you must remember that you still have the right to defend yourself. As an experienced criminal attorney in Washington state, I can help you fight this DUI charge. Here are some of the most common issues found in most cases:

  1. Improper Stop-No Probable CauseOne of the most common defenses to a DUI is that the officer did not have a good reason to stop the vehicle. For example, if you were driving the speed limit, not swerving, properly applied the brakes or accelerated, used your turn signals and your tags were up-to-date, the officer’s reason for pulling you over may be improper in the eyes of the court.

  2. Mistakes with the Field Sobriety Tests (FST’s)When a police officer makes a stop for a suspected DUI, he or she will typically administer a field sobriety test. If the officer made mistakes while administering the test or the results were questionable, this could help your case.

  3. Problems with the Portable Breath Test (PBT)Another test that the officer might use is a Portable Breath Test or PBT. However, these results are not admissible in trial in the state of Washington and is only used to establish probable cause. However, if the officer did not administer the test properly or lacked training, the court may completely throw out the results.

  4. Problems with the standard Breath Test Machine (DataMaster)After your arrest, the officer will usually offer you a standard breath test at the police station. We can always challenge the results of these results, including interference issues, improper administration, whether or not you vomited and other factors.

  5. Failure in the chain of custodyThe chain of custody can often result in tainted or missing evidence. If an officer or lab technician did not properly handle the results of your blood alcohol test, or if the results were lost, we could successfully challenge the results.

  6. Changes in blood alcohol levelsIt takes time for alcohol to absorb into the blood stream. It is possible that your blood alcohol concentration was under the limit at the time the officer stopped you. However, by the time you arrived at the police station and the officers administered a blood test, your blood alcohol content could have increased to or beyond the limit.A DUI conviction can have far reaching consequences. If you are facing a drunk driving charge, call my office and let’s talk.

Permalink to this entry

Should I Fight a Traffic Ticket?

Posted Friday, May 5, 2017 by Andrew Charles Huff

Yes, you should because they matter to your insurer and will lead to rate increases in your auto insurance.

The cost of auto insurance depends on a range of factors. Some of these may be specific to your individual circumstances but one main factor is your personal driving record. Traffic violations, such as speeding tickets, are considered part of your driving record. And insurers may consider those violations with the perception that you’re at higher risk of an accident which will affect the cost of your insurance.

A speeding ticket can affect your car insurance in a number of ways:Increased rates. First, speeding tickets may increase the amount you pay for car insurance. Insurance companies can check your driving record and see whether you have traffic violations, including speeding tickets. The more traffic violations you have, the more likely it is you’ll see increases in the cost of insurance. Drivers who receive speeding tickets may be considered a higher risk group, and therefore be charged more for auto insurance even if they haven’t made a claim themselves.

Less cost reduction over time. Getting multiple traffic violations may cause you to miss out on cost reductions on your insurance. In general, more experienced drivers are likely to pay less for auto insurance. However, a poor driving record might reduce or even eliminate any benefit you might receive from gaining driving experience. Loss of standard coverage.

Finally, if your record of accidents and traffic violations is serious enough, you may not be able to find a private insurance company that will offer you auto insurance coverage at all. In that case, one potential way to get insurance is through a state-run risk plan.

So if you receive a traffic ticket, it pays to retain our office and let us keep it off your record.

Permalink to this entry

What You Need to Know About The Draeger Breath Test Machine

Posted Tuesday, May 2, 2017 by Andrew Charles Huff

In 2014, the Washington State Patrol unveiled the Draeger 9510, the new breath test machine to be used in DUI cases across Washington. This new breath test machine replaces the Datamaster and Datamaster CDM machines, which had been used in our State for 30 years. Although the WSP seemed to be quite confident that some of the problems with the Datamaster machines would be alleviated, the Draeger launch has not gone as smoothly as they would have liked.

Many of us with the defense bar have challenged the admissibility of this machine in several counties but the fight started in Snohomish County, where our group has raised money for experts to identify potential issues with the Draeger. Breath test machines are quite complex both with the science of how alcohol levels are determined and also with the software and computer programming involved, which controls how the machine operates. But we needed more than just the manual or the word of the state-hired breath test technicians. We need to know how exactly this machine works, and more importantly, what problems potentially lie inside the machine’s software.

In 2015, motions were brought in front of a group of Snohomish County District Court Judges regarding the defense’s request to get more access to and information about the Draeger breath test machine. The defense expert testified that he would not be able to determine the accuracy of the Draeger software with only the embedded software source code. Instead, he needed to understand the process involved in the creation of the software. Specifically, the Draeger machine analysis required dynamic testing, which is a process of comparing what the embedded software code should do with what it actually does. This type of testing would take about 6 to 8 weeks, and would require about 5,000 hours to complete.

In order to complete this type of extensive testing, the Snohomish County District Court Judges found that the items requested by the defense were reasonable and discoverable, and therefore the State was ordered to hand over two Draeger machines to the defense and its expert so that testing on the machines could be performed.This ruling was a pretty big win for all defense attorneys and DUI defendants around the State. Snohomish County has told its troopers that the Draeger machine should not be utilized unless necessary, and therefore blood tests are being used in the high majority of DUI arrests.

Permalink to this entry

What is “The Doppler Effect?”

Posted Tuesday, April 18, 2017 by Andrew Charles Huff

We have all seen police officers standing by their patrol car aiming a radar gun at oncoming traffic. But how do these handheld devices actually work and are the accurate?

Radar guns work by directing a radio signal towards a vehicle, then receiving back the same signal as it bounces off the vehicle. Then using what is known as the “Doppler Effect,” the device can calculate the speed of the vehicle based on changes in the value of the returning signal.

In addition to radar guns, law enforcement also routinely use Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) technology, which operates in much the same way as radar, but using lasers instead of radio waves.

Both types of devices are sensitive tools of measurement that require regular calibration and adjustment. Radar guns, for example, requires the use of a tuning fork to make sure that the device is producing accurate readings. Most manufacturers of the devices recommend calibration before and after every use.

Officers using these speed measurement devices must go through approved and certified training programs before operating them.

But remember that like any technology, these devices do have their weaknesses and it’s critical to know and understand where to look and what to look for.

If you have received a traffic ticket, please call my office and let’s talk.

Permalink to this entry

So when can you “legally” speed in Washington?

Posted Friday, March 31, 2017 by Andrew Charles Huff

As an attorney who defends people cited with various traffic laws, I am asked that question occasionally. Many people believe that you can exceed the speed limit if you are passing another vehicle taking up the left hand lane. RCW 46.61.100 requires that all vehicles “Keep right except when passing,” leaving the far left lane as a passing lane (unless no one is behind you) and many believe if you want to pass another vehicle traveling in the same direction, speeding to pass is allowed. But beware that the law does not allow you to speed to pass another in the left lane by traveling in an adjacent lane going in the same direction, although I admit it’s tempting . However, the law does allow you to exceed the speed limit when using the opposite oncoming lane to pass another vehicle not divided by a solid line. So if you are driving on a one lane road and the driver ahead of you is traveling below the speed limit, you are allowed to pass the vehicle by using the left oncoming lane to speed past the vehicle before moving back over to your lane once you have passed.

Permalink to this entry

Contact Andrew Today…

47.6057080 -122.3302060