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You Get the Late Night Arrest Call...Now what?

Posted Monday, March 19, 2018 by Andrew Charles Huff

You get a call in the middle of the night from a friend or family member who has just been arrested for Driving Under the Influence. You can hear the stress in their voice and you want to help. So what do you do?

It can be just as difficult to see someone you love arrested for a DUI as it is to experience it yourself. So when you receive that late night call, what do you do if someone you love finds themselves facing a DUI arrest?First, realize that the person you love is hurting at a very deep level. Being arrested, at least for the folks we help, is incredibly traumatic. Between the handcuffs in the back of a police car, a locked jail cell, and the very public airing of a less-than-proud moment, your loved one truly needs your support and compassion more than ever.

Second, make sure your loved one quickly finds solid legal help. Many times the person you love may resist spending the family’s resources on an attorney to help. They think “I made a mistake, I don’t want to compound the harm to my family by spending money”. If you see this, please step in to help make sure that your loved one is legally taken care of. It isn’t the court system’s job to take care of your person, and if your person isn’t helping him or herself. Please do what you can to be sure that things don’t become worse than they need to be.

Third, look at the big picture. Working through a DUI arrest is a process, and your loved one will get through this. It’s certainly not the most pleasant experience but the challenges will be minimized. You can help by supporting each other emotionally and finding an attorney you can trust. Then you can focus both your energies on the things you can change rather than spinning in anger or shame.Call my office at 206-729-3477 and set up a free consultation with me to discuss your or your loved ones case. We will make a difference.

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Washington’s New Breath Test Device: Draeger Alcotest 9510

Posted Friday, March 16, 2018 by Andrew Charles Huff

When the Washington State Patrol decided to finally replace its aging fleet of DataMaster and DataMaster CDM breath machines, it did so out of necessity. The DataMaster manufacturer National Patent Analytical Systems announced that they would be no longer produce these machines and technicians were forced to use old parts for repairs. The Washington State Patrol decided to purchase the Dräger’s Alcotest 9510 as Washington’s new breath test machine.

The Alcotest 9510 measures the amount of alcohol in a person’s blood by taking two separate breath samples and then sends 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.

For a successful final BAC, all 4 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.

Additionally, the suspect must meet certain requirements such as a minimum air volume and blowing duration. If the sample is too small and the machine cannot test it, an officer might think you are playing games with the machine and purposely not blowing hard enough. This could result in a Refusal to Submit to a Breath Test.As with the prior machine, the officer must change the mouth piece 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.

Additionally, an officer must conduct a “15 minute observation period” to observe the suspect continuously prior to blowing into the machine.
Finally, the Drager uses two ethanol dry gas cylinders mounted on the rear of the instrument rather than the wet external sample. These are secured with a technician key and cannot be altered by the operator.

If you have been arrested for Driving Under the Influence, it is imperative you speak with an attorney immediately. Call my office for a free consultation at 206-729-3477.

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DOL Decision-No Refusal of Breath Test

Posted Wednesday, March 14, 2018 by Andrew Charles Huff

Great outcome this week in an administrative hearing with the Department of Licensing based on an alleged “refusal” to take a breath test after my client’s arrest.

In this case, the arresting officer claimed my client “refused” to provide a breath sample when, after several attempts, she was unable to provide enough air into the machine because she was crying so much, causing her to hyperventilate. The officer believed that she was playing games and purposely trying not to provide sufficient air.

However, I argued that the officer also wrote that client had previously agreed to provide a breath sample for testing and never directly said she would not do so. In other words, she never expressed “a positive unwillingness to comply with the officer’s request for a breath sample.” Furthermore, I pointed out that client was clearly having problems providing enough air into the machine because she was hyperventilating and not able to take a good breath.

The Hearing Examiner agreed with our factual argument and supporting case law, ruling that this attempt was not a deliberate “refusal” but rather due to my client being unable to provide a sufficient amount of air into the breath machine.

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When (or if) Should I Speak with the Police if Suspected of a Crime?

Posted Monday, March 12, 2018 by Andrew Charles Huff

As a criminal defense attorney, I am asked frequently about when or if a person should speak with police and under if so, under what circumstances.

In answering these questions, here are some points to consider before speaking with the police:

First, the police are not required to be truthful or honest when speaking with or questioning anyone. Also, they are not required to tell the person they are questioning whether or not they are a suspect, or whether or not they are under investigation for a crime.

If you talk to the police and admit wrongdoing, that does not necessarily mean that you will not be charged with a crime, or that you’ll receive a better plea deal or lesser penalty. Beware that your words can always be used against you.You are not required to talk to the police, and the fact that you decline to talk to the police cannot be later used against you in a criminal trial– provided that you’ve properly invoked your right to remain silent.

If you decline to talk to the police, it’s no longer enough to literally be silent. Pursuant the U.S. Supreme Court in the 2010 case of Berghuis v. Thompkins, you must affirmatively indicate that you are invoking the right to remain silent (e.g. “I’m invoking my right to remain silent).

The best practice is to never talk to the police without an attorney or lawyer present. In addition to telling the police that you are invoking your right to silence, it’s also important that you ask them whether you are being detained or you are free to go. If you are free to go, do not speak with the police further and leave the area. Lastly, it’s very important that you tell them you are not consenting to any searches, and that you wish to speak with an attorney immediately. In an effort to get around statutory and constitutional rights, some police officers will attempt to suggest that any invocation of rights will make things worse for you. Do not be intimidated, do not be bullied, and do not be fooled. If you are detained– even if you are arrested– protect your legal interests by not giving up your rights. Maintain your composure, and contact our office at the earliest opportunity.

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Driving Under the Influence-Even a Small Amout of Alcohol can Trigger an Arrest

Posted Thursday, March 8, 2018 by Andrew Charles Huff

Any motorist pulled over, found to have alcohol in their system and subsequently placed under arrest for DUI can feel as if their worst nightmare has come true. People accused of driving under the influence can experience an extreme amount of stress about how these charges will affect their lives and jobs. After all, drunk driving has an incredibly harsh stigma and some are concerned they will never restore their good reputation. Furthermore, there are penalties such as license suspension and potential jail time.

It’s important to recognize that each DUI case is unique. Sometimes, it can come down to specific case details that can impact a positive outcome. If you are facing DUI charges for the first time or have already been accused of this offense in the past and have found yourself in this position again, it is essential to carefully go over various options that may be available.

Whether you were barely over the legal limit and had forgotten that alcohol was in your system or you were seriously impaired, your future may be impacted by these charges in a number of ways and you should waste no time in exploring your options.

Please review our website for more information or call us directly at 206-729-3477.

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