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Vancouver Criminal Law Blog

Uber reports 10-percent decrease in DUI arrests in Seattle

There have been reports that some cities, including Seattle, have seen about a 10-percent decrease in drunk driving arrests since the introduction of ride-sharing services from companies like Lyft and Uber. One analyst found an especially large decrease in DUI arrests  -- 18.5 percent -- among people younger than 30 in Philadelphia.

So are fewer people driving while under the influence because of the availability of more convenient transportation options? The numbers seem to suggest as much, though more studies need to be done to confirm. Uber and Lyft have welcomed news that their services may be preventing drunk driving, and recently Uber provided its own analysis of DUI arrests in Seattle. The company's blog refers to the reduction in DUIs as the "Uber effect."

Juries in Seattle side with defendants in marijuana DUI cases

The position of some police officers and prosecutors is that a driver's blood-alcohol level or THC level doesn't have to be above the legal limit for the driver to be impaired. In other words, even if your BAC is under the legal limit of .08 percent, a prosecutor may still charge you with DUI. That doesn't necessarily mean, however, that the charge won't be dropped or dismissed once you get help from a DUI defense attorney.

The question of actual driver impairment has become more complicated since the passage of Washington's recreational marijuana law. To be clear, in Washington, it is illegal to drive while impaired by any drug, including marijuana, prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications. Still, whether the amount of a controlled substance detected in a person's system has impaired his or her ability to driver is a matter for a court to decide. If the prosecution lacks material evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, then the charge should be dropped or dismissed.

Washington dad charged with child endangerment after DUI stop

In Washington, if you are convicted of drunk driving, then the possible penalties you could face depend mainly on two factors: your alleged blood-alcohol content and whether you have any prior DUI convictions. Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, additional allegations may be added to the DUI charge -- for example, if you were involved in an auto accident or if children were in your vehicle at the time of the traffic stop.

An Olympia man is facing very serious DUI charges after police stopped his vehicle with his children inside. Police claim a roadside breath test registered the 34-year-old father's blood-alcohol content at .234 percent. He was arrested and charged with DUI, and because his children were in the car, he is charged with two counts of reckless endangerment of a child.

Supreme Court makes ruling on drunk driving tips

In March we brought up an important legal issue regarding reasonable suspicion and traffic stops. The post raised important questions about DUI stops and how police need to have a reason for pulling people over. The question raised by some of our Washington readers was this: could an anonymous tip to police qualify as reasonable suspicion when performing a drunk driving stop?

But it wasn’t just readers in this state that had this question. In fact, this same question was raised by another drunk driving case in another state. In Navarette v. California, which went before the Supreme Court, a woman had called 911 to report that she had allegedly been run off the road by a Ford pickup truck. Suspecting drunk driving, an officer responded to the report and followed the driver. Despite exhibiting normal driving behaviors, the man was pulled over. Though he was not drunk, according to reports, he was accused of transporting 30 pounds of weed that the officer claimed was “in plain smell.”

Studies show link between sporting events and domestic violence

Domestic violence is one of those complicated topics to touch on because of the nature of the topic. While it’s important to be sensitive to victims, it’s also just as important to hear both sides of the story. In some cases, a person can be wrongfully accused of the crime without having actually committed it. This often comes with a lifelong negative stigma that can interfere with a person’s life.

Nonetheless, we wanted to bring up the topic with our readers in this week’s post. That’s because, according to several studies conducted here in the United States as well as in the United Kingdom, some people might be at risk of being accused of domestic violence around the time of sporting events more so than they would at any other time. But why is this and what could this mean for our Washington readers?

NBA player pleads not guilty to DUI charges

Whether you live here in Washington or another state, chances are you are one of the many who believe that celebrities and professional athletes, because they are in the public eye, should present themselves as role models at all times. This often means that the public is less forgiving when a celebrity or athlete makes a mistake and does something that is considered illegal.

Unfortunately, this form of judgment can be just as damaging as the criminal charges themselves because they can affect how a person is viewed by their peers and can even affect their career as well. And even if they are cleared of the charges or are proven not-guilty, the public may still view them negatively for quite some time afterwards.

Scientists make device to detect drunk driving, but is it legal?

A group of scientists in Poland are proud of their most recent accomplishment this month because they feel they will finally be able to give law enforcement the edge when it comes to drunk driving. But the news we are about to tell you may actually raise some concerns among many residents here in Washington who may realize the legal problems that could arise out of this new discovery.

According to an article from the Huffington Post, the scientists developed a laser-based device that can detect alcohol vapor in a vehicle that moves past the sensor. Much like radar guns that are used to catch people who are speeding, the Polish scientists say their device could provide the same level of law enforcement except with drunk driving.

Could a self-driving car prevent future DUIs?

Because of how our current drunk driving laws are set up, drivers in this state can get multiple DUIs. As you may already know, each subsequent DUI plays off of the previous one, meaning the penalties for a third DUI are often harsher than the penalties of a first-time offense.

For some people, the harsh penalties that come with second, third and fourth DUIs is enough to prevent them from becoming a repeat offender. But for people with substance abuse problems, this might not be the case. Because their condition forces them to drink excessively, they run the risk of a DUI charge just about every time they get behind the wheel. They may not want to break the law but often do accidentally.

Washington driver may face charges in fatal suspected DUI crash

Everyone knows that a drunk-driving charge is a serious matter. But that seriousness is often escalated if that drunk driving is associated with an accident that involves injury or death. That's because a drunk-driving charge can lead to other charges that can quickly create complicated legal situations for those accused.

A Washington driver is learning this the hard way this month after a crash turned deadly in Mason County. Now the driver is not only suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs but they could potentially face vehicular homicide charges as well.

Should police be required to use dash cams during DUI stops?

If you’ve ever been pulled over for a traffic stop then you know that the story you tell and the story told by the officer don’t always match up. This can be incredibly problematic, especially if the traffic stop results in criminal charges. That’s because you must present a strong defense in order to refute police testimony. But if the courts feel that a police officer is more believable than you, proving your side of the story can be that much more difficult.

Oftentimes this problem can be avoided with one simple tool: video recordings. As many people in Clark County know, video recordings don’t lie. And in cases where it is your word against the officer’s, sometimes a recording is the only way to prove that you are telling the truth. But not every officer uses dash-cam recorders when making traffic stops. Without a recording device, it’s often difficult to prove what actually happened, especially in DUI stops where bad field sobriety test results can lead to serious charges.

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