Category Archives for Criminal Defense

DUIs and Summer

With summer on the way, Washington state will be taking steps to make the roads safer by taking a harsher stance against people who are suspected of DUI.

According to statistics, the summer months see a drastic increase in overall alcohol related accidents throughout the U.S., with the period that occurs between Memorial Day and Labor Day being called the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer.

As a result, law enforcement officers will be increasing their DUI enforcement efforts to try and keep impaired drivers off the road.

Potential Penalties for DUI Charges in Washington State

If you are facing DUI charges, then knowing the possible penalties can be beneficial. In Washington State they are as follows:

1st Offense

If you have a BAC that is under .15 percent or no test results, the minimum amount of jail time you will face is 24 hours consecutively or 15 days EMH, with 364 days being the maximum penalty allowed. You will face fines and fees ranging from $823 to $5,000 and a 90-day license suspension. You will also have to undergo an alcohol and drug assessment, use an ignition interlock device for a year after your suspension, and face five years of probation.

If you have a BAC that is .15 percent or higher or refuse the test, the consequences are also higher. Your jail time will be raised to 48 hours consecutively or 30 days EMH as a minimum and fines can range from $1,015 to $5,000. Also, you will face a license suspension of one to two years. Everything else is the same as above.

2nd Offense

If you have a BAC that is under .15 percent or no test results, the minimum amount of jail time you will face is 30 days consecutively, with 364 days being the maximum penalty allowed. You will receive a penalty of 60 days electronic home monitoring and face fines and fees ranging from $1,015 to $5,000 along with a two-year license suspension. You will also have to undergo an alcohol and drug assessment, use an ignition interlock device for five years if previously restricted, and face five years of probation.

If you have a BAC that is .15 percent or higher or refuse the test, the consequences are also higher. Your jail time will be raised to 45 days consecutively as a minimum and EHM of 90 days. The fines can range from $1,405 to $5,000 and you will face a license suspension of 900 days to three years. Everything else is the same as above.

3rd Offense or More

If you have a BAC that is under .15 percent or no test results, the minimum amount of jail time you will face is 90 days consecutively, with 364 days being the maximum penalty allowed. You will receive a penalty of 120 days electronic home monitoring and face fines and fees ranging from $1,805 to $5,000 along with a three-year license suspension. You will also have to undergo an alcohol and drug assessment, use an ignition interlock device for 10 years if previously restricted, and face five years of probation.

If you have a BAC that is .15 percent or higher or refuse the test, the consequences are also higher. Your jail time will be raised to 120 days consecutively as a minimum and EHM of 150 days. The fines can range from $2,605 to $5,000 and you will face a license suspension of four years. Everything else is the same as above.

What are the BAC Limits in Washington State?

To ensure you don’t drive impaired and put yourself and others in jeopardy and put yourself at risk of being charged with a DUI, knowing the BAC limits is a must. These limits are as follows:

  • For those who are under the age of 21, their BAC can’t be higher than .02 percent
  • For those who are 21 years of age or older, any BAC over .08 percent is grounds for a DUI
  • For commercial drivers, those who have a BAC over .04 percent are considered impaired and can be charged with a DUI.

If you have been stopped or are stopped in the summer months due to a DUI charge, then you need quality legal representation. The team at the Law Offices of Kim E. Hunter can help.

What NOT to Do During a DUI Stop

A DUI stop is something that can be extremely stressful. This is true regardless of if you are intoxicated, or not.

While you can’t undo the fact you have been drinking (if you are, in fact, intoxicated) there are a few things you can avoid doing to ensure you don’t make a bad situation, worse.

Use the information here to help avoid complicating a DUI stop.

Don’t Refuse the Breathalyzer Test

While you may think it is a good idea to try your luck and go for a Field Sobriety Test, and refuse the Breathalyzer test, this isn’t always the best course of action. There are laws in every state that require you to have your license suspended if you refuse the breathalyzer – even if you haven’t been drinking.

Don’t Try to Antagonize the Police Officer

Did you know that even if you are just a passenger in the vehicle with someone who has been pulled over for DUI that you can be arrested? This may happen if you don’t comply with the officer’s instructions during the stop.

Don’t Have a Child in the Vehicle

In addition to looking like a total drunken idiot in front of your kids, if you have your children in the car when you are stopped for DUI, it can lead to an additional charge of child endangerment. This one stupid move may even put you at risk to lose your kids – don’t chance it.

Don’t Divulge Information about Your Prescriptions or Your Marijuana ID Card

If you are driving under the influence of marijuana, regardless of if it is for medical purposes, you may also get a DUI. This is true even for states where medical marijuana is considered legal. As a result, don’t flaunt your medical marijuana ID card.

Similar to marijuana that is legally prescribed, there are certain prescription medications that can leave you with a DUI charge, as well. As a result, don’t tell the officer if you are on prescriptions. However, you also don’t need to lie if the officer asks about what you take – as you may face charges for this if they find out you lied.

If you want to protect your rights when pulled over for DUI, then make sure to avoid the things listed here. This will help ensure you don’t make a bad situation worse than it has to be.

The Expungement Process in WA State

The expungement process in the state of Washington is unique to others in the U.S. The ability to have this done will depend on if you have received a misdemeanor or a felony conviction. There are several different steps you must follow to clear your criminal record.

Check the Time Requirements

A certain amount of time must pass before you are allowed to have your record expunged in the state of Washington. For misdemeanors, the time begins after the case has closed. If you have a felony conviction, then the time begins on the date that the Certificate of Discharge has been filed with the court.

Can the Conviction be Expunged?

There are certain conviction types that are not able to be expunged. Some of the convictions that can be expunged in the state of Washington include:

  • Sex crimes
  • Violent crimes
  • Class A felonies

For a misdemeanor charge, the ones that cannot be expunged are DUI convictions. You also need to make sure that you haven’t been convicted of another felony or misdemeanor after the crime that you are trying to have expunged.

Special Rules for Expunging Misdemeanor Convictions

If you are trying to expunge a misdemeanor charge, you cannot have had any other type of conviction expunged in the past. For example, if you have had a felony conviction expunged in the past, you won’t be able to have a new misdemeanor charge expunged.

Scheduling Your Hearing

In the state of Washington, the majority of courts will require a hearing to expunge any criminal conviction. If you have an attorney representing you, you don’t have to worry about going to the hearing. If successful, the judge will sign an order to have the conviction expunged and the charge taken off of your criminal record.

The last step is for the clerk of the court to process the order. Once done, a certified copy of the judge’s order will be sent to the Washington State Patrol. This will erase your conviction from the public database. At this point, you no longer have to worry about the charges you faced in the past.

Domestic Violence isn’t Always What It Seems

When you hear the term “domestic violence” what do you think about? You may automatically think of a horrific crime, such as the case where a former police officer shot and killed his wife and a Good Samaritan who had stopped to provide her with help last year.

However, according to domestic violence experts, they agree that it is time to look beyond, without ignoring, the violence. The real signs of a possibility of violence usually lie with one partner’s desire to have control and power over the other person. However, this may also lead to “bogus” accusations because even if someone’s partner seems a bit controlling, it may not equate to actual cases of domestic violence.

The Need to Gain an Advantage in Family Law Cases  

One of the main reasons someone may attempt to claim they were abused by their partner is to gain an advantage in a family law case. During a divorce, or child custody case, one individual may think it will give them the ability to get what they want if they accuse their former partner of being abusive. Unfortunately, there are many cases where this accusation is considered legitimate, leaving the accused party not only unable to (in many cases) see their children, but also facing other charges and issues due to the claims.

To Garner Attention

In the day of social media, a ready and willing audience is at everyone’s beckon call – any time, day or night. However, if certain actions, photos and posts don’t garner the attention a person is seeking, then they may make up stories. This is especially the case if they were hurt or embarrassed by someone in particular. As a result, the individual may make claims of domestic abuse or violence. Since “social media is forever,”

Is There Help?

Unfortunately, people are wrongly accused of domestic abuse and violence all the time. While the situation may seem hopeless because in many cases it is a situation of one person’s word against someone else’s, there are attorneys who can help. If a person has been wrongly accused of this action, they should understand there are options and help available.

To find out more about fighting domestic abuse or violence accusations or charges, contact the Law Offices of Kim E. Hunter. Here you can find information about this situation and what options you have.

Criminal Defense Lawyer Shares What to Do When Pulled Over for a DUI

The blaring siren and bright lights of a police car behind you can be a highly stressful experience for anyone. This is especially true if this is the first time you’ve been pulled over by a police officer or if you know you’ve consumed even a tiny bit of alcohol. Ideally, you should not be drinking and driving at all, but if you ever find yourself in such a scenario, here are a few steps your criminal defense lawyer would want you to take:Continue reading

Some Useful Tips and Legal Help from a Criminal Defense Attorney will See You Through Your DUI Case

After a DUI arrest, you will most likely be required to show up in court. This process, also called an arraignment, is designed so that you can arrange a few details. To survive this process in a stress-free manner, you need to know how it works and consider some advice.

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