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Will My License be Suspended for a DUI?

Posted Friday, July 21, 2017 by Andrew Charles Huff

If you are arrested for Driving Under the Influence, your license is not revoked right away and you may continue to drive as long as it was valid prior to your arrest. At the current time, you must request a hearing with the Department of Licensing within 20 days from the date of arrest. If your blood is drawn instead, this 20-day period applies from the date the DOL notifies you of a potential suspension based upon your blood draw results. This hearing with the DOL is a telephonic administrative hearing allowing you to challenge any suspension. The DOL will provide the exhibits, which are primarily the police reports and the time/date of the hearing and hearing officer assigned to the case

This hearing, while civil and unrelated to the criminal charge, is also handled by me as part of my legal representation.

You need to act quickly if you find yourself in this situation. Call my office right away if you or anyone you know has been arrested for a DUI in Washington state.

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Walk Quickly…Look Around Quickly…Basis for Stop?

Posted Thursday, July 20, 2017 by Andrew Charles Huff

Can a police officer stop and question a person who walks out of a house known for drug activity, walks quickly to a car while looking around? That was the basis for a Richland Police Officer to stop and eventually arrest a man suspected of purchasing drugs.

However, the State Supreme Court placed the brakes on that move and held these observations of the suspect along with knowledge of drug dealing in the area was NOT sufficient to conduct a “stop and frisk” of the man that eventually led to his arrest.The Supreme Court found that an officer must have “reasonable suspicion of criminal activity based on specific and articulable facts known to the officer at the time of the stop.” In this case involving Mr. Wesley Weyand, the Court held that his late night visit to a known drug area along with his glances up and down the street while walking to his car was insufficient to trigger a stop by police. Evidence suppressed.

State of Washington v. Wesley James Weyand

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Affidavit in DUI Case Fails to Evidence of Driving

Posted Thursday, July 20, 2017 by Andrew Charles Huff

A recent appellate court decision just held that an officer’s affidavit seeking a blood draw in a DUI case was insufficient to show probable cause and therefore suppressed the results. The basis? The Court found the affidavit failed to establish the driver of the car was…well, actually driving.

The Petitioner Anthony Youngs argued to the Court of Appeals-Division One that the officer’s affidavit seeking a warrant for a blood draw stated that he “was involved in a one car rollover collision. He was then transported to Evergreen Hospital.” But the Court decided this mere statement to be insufficient to show whether or not Youngs was actually driving the car. The Court explained that this statement was merely a “summation of facts known to the officer” and fails to specify important details, such as evidence of actual driving by Mr. Youngs. Therefore, blood draw evidence suppressed.

State of Washington v. Anthony Young

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More Drug or Alcohol DUI's? The Answer Might Surprise You

Posted Thursday, July 20, 2017 by Andrew Charles Huff

A new report released this week found deaths caused by driving while under the influence of drugs surpassed those deaths caused by driving while under the influence of alcohol in 2015.

The report entitled “Drug-Impaired Driving” found that positive drug tests were more common than the presence of alcohol in fatally injured drivers. According to the report, 43 percent of those motorist who died had drugs in their systems while only 37 percent of those who died tested positive for alcohol.

Unfortunately, drug impairment can be difficult to measure because not all drugs affect all drivers in the same way. According to the report, hundreds of drugs can impair drivers and while some drugs that impair drivers are illegal, many are legal to use, at least under certain situations and are often available over-the-counter at many stores.

Out of those drivers tested in crashes, 35.6 percent tested positive for marijuana, 9.3 percent were positive for amphetamine, 7.4 percent were positive for a drug not on the FARS list and 55.1 percent tested positive for another drug.

Complicating matters, it is more difficult for law enforcement to test for drug impairment at the roadside than for alcohol impairment.Many drugs and their effect on a driving and crash risks are quite complex and not well understood. Due to this, it is very difficult to prosecute and convict a driver for a DUID than for alcohol-impaired driving.

If you are facing driving under the influence charges stemming from drug presence, it is imperative to speak with me today. Call now for your free, initial consultation.

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Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Can be Challenged

Posted Tuesday, July 18, 2017 by Andrew Charles Huff

The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus or HGN Test is a nationally-recognized test used by police on those suspected of Driving Under the Influence (DUI). Officers examine a person’s eyes for any evidence of “Nystagmus,” or a slight jerking of the eyeballs. Although there are a number of other causes of Nystagmus, alcohol is one of them.

The majority of states including Washington recognize that the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test is scientific evidence, which generally require expert testimony along with testimony the test was administered correctly by the officer. The case of State v. Baity is the primary decision in our state which limits the application and ultimate use of this test in any trial.

But whether the issue is admissibility or weight, the crucial issue in most DUI trials is whether the test was administered in accordance with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) guidelines for HGN. One study observed that the HGN test was administered in the field incorrectly over 90 percent of the time. Therefore, it’s critical to know and understand the NHTSA guidelines and requirements for a successful challenge to this test. I have never tried a case involving the HGN without knowing and having an actual copy of the NHTSA Instructor and Student Manuals from the Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Course. In both trial and even Motion Hearings challenging the evidence, I have literally brought out the manuals and flipped to the relevant pages when questioning the arresting officer. Strict compliance with the NHTSA protocol and requirements is required. Without strict compliance, the validity is compromised and the results are functionally meaningless.

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