Seattle Traffic Attorney | Subpoena the Officer?

Getting a Seattle speeding ticket is probably one of the most annoying things that can happen to you. You have the embarrassment of being pulled over in front of all those people driving by; you have the money lost on the ticket; you have the time lost dealing with the ticket; and you have the money lost on future insurance premium payment increases as a result of the ticket. But you can fight your Seattle speeding ticket. Let the Seattle Traffic Attorney Blog explain how.

Once you decide to fight, however, you will soon find yourself facing this question, "What should I do?" This will include questions about whether or not to subpoena the officer, whether or not to call your own witnesses, and what arguments to make to the judge to try to get your traffic ticket dismissed. And you shouldn't necessarily know what to do. It's not like you're a trained Seattle speeding ticket attorney or anything. But there is hope.

The first question you should ask yourself is if you should subpoena the officer or not. And this is an important question because it can have a big impact on the outcome of your case. If you don't subpoena the officer the court will simply look at the report on the speeding ticket, listen to what you have to say, and rule on that. Sometimes that is good, sometimes that is bad (and, again, it is easier to tell this if you know what you are doing, like Seattle speeding ticket lawyers do.

Whatever you decide to do, you should not decide to subpoena the cop that gave you your speeding ticket in Seattle just because you think they won't show up and you can get your ticket dismissed. Because, while that works, I mean if they don't show up you win, they usually show up. In fact, in Seattle municipal court there are special hearing dates set up specifically for people that decide to subpoena the cops. So, if this is the reason you are subpoenaing the officer, I hope you have a backup plan.

Also, you shouldn't subpoena the officer just to argue with him. Asking him questions like "are you sure it wasn't a different car?" or "could you have been mistaken?" are not going to work. The main reason is that they probably don't remember your traffic stop at all. They are going solely off their report. And if their report says it was you and your car that were speeding, then the officer is going to testify to that and the court is going to believe that. You want to subpoena the officer when you have some information they may not have that may change the situation.

In the end, let's be honest. You probably have no idea when you should subpoena the officer. And if you did, you wouldn't be sure what to ask him and where to attack him with regard to his report and his actions. If you are serious about beating your traffic infraction, you need to hire a pro. You need a Seattle speeding ticket attorney to help you out. They can't guarantee victory, but they can guarantee that your chances of victory will be significantly increased.

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Seattle Traffic Lawyer | IRLJ 6.6 Explained

If you have ever been in court for a contested Seattle speeding ticket hearing, you have probably heard a Seattle traffic attorney get up for his client and utter these words, "Your honor, I move to dismiss this infraction pursuant to IRLJ 6.6 for failure to properly certify the SMD device." Usually after this the judge asks a couple of questions, maybe looks in a book, and says, "Motion granted, infraction dismissed." End of story.

But what is this mysterious IRLJ 6.6, and why do Seattle speeding ticket lawyers utilize it so much? Today is your lucky day, because I, a Seattle speeding ticket attorney myself, am about to tell you.

Before you can understand IRLJ 6.6, it might probably help to know what the text of it is. First, IRLJ stands for Infraction Rules of Limited Jurisdiction. These are the traffic infraction rules the City of Seattle and the State of Washington must follow when adjudicating traffic infraction cases. This is where the rules on what the prosecutor must provide to you for your speeding ticket defense, and numerous other rules dealing with Seattle speeding ticket cases.

IRLJ 6.6 holds a special place in the heart of the speeding ticket lawyer in Seattle because it is the easiest way to get a speeding ticket dismissed in court. The title of IRLJ 6.6 is "Speed Measuring Device: Design and Construction Certification." You see, when the cops try to bust you for going to fast out on the highway, and they determine that speed by using a radar, before they can admit the reading the radar gun spit out, they have to first convince the court that the radar gun they were using was accurate.

The State of Washington and the City of Seattle police officers can't do the maintenance and calibration checks on their own - they aren't experts in the field. So, they have a guy or guys that checks out all the guns and certifies that the maintenance of the guns has been kept up. To get around having the maintenance guys show up to testify for every speeding ticket in the state, a convenient form was put together that can be submitted in lieu of the experts testimony (unless you specifically request them). This report must be filed with the court and must show the radar is up to date. Here is the text of the rule (in part):
(a) In General. This rule applies only to contested hearings in traffic infraction cases.

(b) Speed Measuring Device Certificate; Form. In the absence of proof of a request on a separate pleading to produce an electronic or laser speed measuring device (SMD) expert served on the prosecuting authority and filed with the clerk of the court at least 30 days prior to trial or such lesser time as the court deems proper, a certificate in substantially the following form is admissible in lieu of an expert witness in any court proceeding in which the design and construction of an electronic or laser speed measuring device (SMD) is an issue (not included here):

(c) Continuance. The court at the time of the formal hearing shall hear testimony concerning the infraction and, if necessary, may continue the proceedings for the purpose of obtaining evidence concerning an electronic speed measuring device and the certification thereof. If, at the time it is supplied, the evidence is insufficient, a motion to suppress the readings of such device shall be granted.

(d) Maintaining Certificates as Public Records. Any certificate, affidavit or foundational evidentiary document allowed or required by this rule can be filed with the court and maintained by the court as a public record. The records will be available for inspection by the public. Copies will be provided on request. The court may charge any allowable copying fees. The records are available without a formal request for discovery. The court is entitled to take judicial notice of the fact that the document has been filed with the court. Evidence will not be suppressed merely because there is not a representative of the prosecuting authority present who actually offers the document. Evidence shall be suppressed pursuant to subsection (c) of this rule if the evidence in the certificate, affidavit or document is insufficient, or if it has not been filed as required.
So, the next time you hear a Seattle traffic lawyer spouting off about how the speeding ticket should be dismissed pursuant to IRLJ 6.6, this is why.

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Seattle Traffic Lawyer | Contested Hearing Explained

If you've received a Seattle traffic infraction, whether speeding, running a red light, running a stop sign, failing to yield, HOV violations, school zone violations, or any of the other myriad of traffic infractions and told anyone, you've probably heard a story about someone that got their traffic infraction dismissed by a Seattle traffic lawyer. And you may have even heard numerous stories of dismissed traffic infractions. There is a reason for this - Seattle traffic tickets can be beaten in many circumstances.

But, you can't win if you don't contest the hearing. And you can't contest the hearing unless you check the third little box on the back of your traffic infraction. Once you do that you'll get a hearing date and you can go in there and try to beat your Seattle traffic ticket.

"What happens when you get in there?," you ask. Good question. It is helpful to know what is going to happen at your contested hearing before you actually go in there, huh? And the good news is, there are rules governing the procedure of Seattle contested hearings. They are located in IRLJ 3.3, which is the book of rules for traffic infractions (IRLJ stands for Infraction rules of limited jurisdiction, roughly).

If you go there you will see there are five basic rules: (1) general rules; (2) representation by Seattle traffic lawyer; (3) rules of evidence; (4) factual determination; and (5) disposition.

To sum these rules up very quickly (that's why the Traffic Attorney Seattle Blog is here), when you get to court you are entitled to a hearing on your contested ticket. You may have a Seattle traffic lawyer represent you, but one won't be appointed to you because you are not facing any jail time. This means your Constitutional right to an attorney does not kick in and you have to foot the bill no matter what.

Third, the rules of evidence apply, so you have to enter evidence into the record, make your objections known, and things of that nature. Fourth, the judge will make a factual determination as to whether the prosecution met its burden of proving the infraction occurred by a preponderance of the evidence (more than 50% roughly). And, finally, if he finds the prosecution did meet its burden, it will impose a fine on you (which you can ask to have reduced), and if the court finds you win, the case will be dismissed.

That all sounds, great, but what will really happen at the hearing? Here is the inside scoop from a Seattle traffic lawyer. Although, you must remember that every court is different, so some things might not be precise.

When you get to court go check in with the clerk to let them know you are present. That will get you on the list. After that you wait for the judge to come in. Sometimes its a long wait, sometimes its a short wait. No matter what, there will almost always be a wait.

When the judge does come in he may provide a short introduction of himself, give a broad overview of the proceedings, and take a roll. If you are there, make sure you speak up. After this sometimes the judge will ask if anyone wants to do a deferred ticket and he'll take those first, sometimes he won't. It just depends on the court that you are in. Oh, and some courts don't even have a prosecutor. The judge runs the entire court on his own. That make for a pretty interesting time when questioning witnesses.

Once your case is called you will go up and sit at one of the tables. The judge will ask if there are any procedural motions (any reason why your Seattle traffic ticket case should be dismissed because of procedural errors) or any substantive motions that get rid of the case. After he decides those he'll hear the evidence. If you subpoenaed the officer you'll get a chance to question the officer and the officer will get a chance to speak. After that you get a chance to speak. If you don't subpoena the officer, the court will review the ticket to see if sufficient evidence exists to find you committed the infraction.

If you couldn't tell, during the entire process it helps to have a Seattle traffic lawyer on your side. First, we know the procedural rules and substantive rules that can get your case dismissed. Second, we know how to question officers to get the information we need to determine if he acted properly. And third, we know how to address the court in a way that is persuasive to the court. In short, Seattle traffic lawyers give you the best chance of beating your Seattle speeding ticket.

If you are cited for speeding in Seattle, you have made the right decision by contesting your Seattle traffic ticket. If you think you know what you are doing, good luck. There is a lot of information here that should be helpful. If you find that you don't know what you are doing or don't want to waste the time it takes to learn, then give a Seattle DUI lawyer a call. We can help.

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Seattle Traffic Lawyer | Is 10 mph Speeding Rule True?

We have all heard it and talked about it before (and many of my clients want to know if I, the Seattle traffic lawyer, know about it). That unspoken rule that the police just won't pull you over for going anything less than 10 mph over the speed limit. And further, that any speeding ticket for less than 10 mph won't affect your insurance. But is there any truth to these rumors? And what can you do to limit the effects of receiving a speeding ticket?

First, the idea that a police officer will not pull you over unless you are going over ten miles per hour over the speed limit is wrong. However, it is true that in most cases you are safe if you stay under that ten mile per hour barrier. But that does not mean there aren't cops out there who pull people over for speeding but staying under that ten mile per hour barrier.

Most often the reason for pulling someone over is not for speeding, but for some other reason (even though police are constitutionally prohibited from doing this, we know it happens all the time - it's what I like to call legal profiling). So you will find people that have been pulled over for going even 1 mph over the speed limit if the cops wanted to search the vehicle or otherwise make contact with the driver or passenger (just getting pulled over doesn't entitle the police to a search, but many people will consent when asked).

As Seattle traffic lawyers we often tell people whether or not they choose to speed is up to them, and I can help them no matter how much over the speed limit they are accused of going. But I must admit that a large majority of the tickets I defend are over 10 mph. I think at that point the cops think you may be reaching speeds that are unsafe for the roadway, and that is why you will often receive tickets for going that fast.

The insurance side of a Seattle speeding ticket is another story. Each company treats traffic infractions differently, and because Washington State doesn't have a points system, but simply reports infractions with the Department of Licensing as they occur, it is difficult to truly know exactly how an insurance company deals with a specific traffic infraction. What is pretty well known and understood, however, is that speeding tickets for going under 10 mph are generally not counted against you for insurance premium purposes.

This is not to say, however, that an insurance company won't increase your premiums just because you were found to have been speeding under 10 mph over the speed limit, particularly if you have a bunch of them. But, generally speaking, you usually won't see a hit on your insurance for a traffic infraction like that.

Something you can do to give you the best shot of the traffic infraction not showing up at all is to hire a Seattle traffic attorney to help. Not only do they know the ins and outs of traffic law and procedure, but they can recognize when you need to bite the bullet and ask for a deferral and when you have a legitimate chance to beat the speeding ticket. So, give us a call today.

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Seattle Traffic Lawyer | Exercise Your Rights

One of the things I see most often when talking to people about how to beat a Seattle traffic ticket, is a hesitancy to know the information they need to be successful, almost like they are doing something wrong. For example, as a Seattle traffic lawyer, I feel like everyone should know that they shouldn't talk to police officers or give them any information that could be used against them in court later. Everyone should also know that they shouldn't take field sobriety tests or portable breath tests either. But what happens so often is that people make the wrong decision, partly because of police coercion, and partly because they don't know any better.

To begin, let me point out one thing - even though police officers have guns and try to give off an air of being supremely confident and tough, 99% of their job is winging what they are doing. And 100% of their job is trying to get you to talk so they don't have to do any real investigating or put together a real case. Think about that the next time you talk to an officer. Always remain polite, but don't take what they say as God's word or feel physically or emotionally pressured by what they say. At the end the day they might be able to arrest you, but they aren't allowed to physically hurt you (and as long as you remain respectful that shouldn't happen).

So, the message of today is to not be afraid to stand up to the police and assert your rights, and not to feel ashamed by wanting to learn or actually learning about your constitutional rights and how to exercise them. One way to look at it is this - the police don't tell you any information until they have to. They can lie to your face. They can intimidate you and prey on your weaknesses. And you can fight your Seattle traffic ticket by knowing exactly what they can and can't do.

If you are pulled over and given a Seattle traffic ticket, don't wait, call Seattle traffic attorneys today. They will work hard for you and will fight to beat your traffic citation.

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Seattle Traffic Lawyer | Innocent Man Freed

This isn't a post about Seattle traffic law, but it is a ray of sunshine in an often cloudy sky for many people charged with Seattle crimes. The world of criminal defense is really a world filled with perceived truths, versus the actual truth. You might see charges being dismissed one day, and another a police officer on the stand adjusting the truth just enough to prevent evidence from being suppressed. But no matter what happens, you really hate to see what appears to have happened to a Vancouver, Washington man accused of child abuse 20 years ago.

In a story from the Seattle Times, it appears that the children of a former Vancouver police officer who testified when they were children that their father abused them have recanted. And the sad thing is is that it appears police coercion once again was the primary cause of the false confession. As the story reports, one of the children said he admitted to being molested by his father after months of police questioning only to get the police to stop bothering him. And can you hold that against him? A nine year old likely has no idea of the consequences his statements will cause, and likely has no idea what his statements even mean.

This goes back to a problem I see time and time again with police officers. They get stuck on one theory or become obsessed with getting a conviction, and they shut down all of their information filters except the one that promotes their theory of the case. And I'll admit that I don't often think the officers are doing it on purpose. For example, it probably highly likely that the officers who interrogated the child didn't want the father to be the molester, but in the back of their minds they knew it was. So they pushed until that feeling became reality.

Although I don't like to relate everything back to Seattle traffic law, we can see the same thing happening everyday on the streets. When I am hired as a Seattle traffic lawyer, for example, I always look at the police reports to see what is, and what is not, in them. What I mean is, if a person's breath smells of alcohol, if they have glassy eyes or slurred speech that information will be in the police report. But if the person answered the officer's questions coherently, was not driving erratically, or didn't have red eyes, for example, that information will often not be in the police report. The emphasis is on getting a conviction, and all filters except the conviction filter turn off.

And one other interesting aspect of the story is the lack or work by his appointed counsel. The story relates that the officer pled no contest to the charges after learning that his attorney hadn't prepared a defense. And he had a court appointed attorney. Now, I have done some appointed counsel work, and I treat my appointed cases just like my private cases - if for no other reason than I like to win. So don't let this fact discourage you from using appointed counsel if you can't afford an attorney. It is better than having nothing at all.

If you are charged with a DUI, traffic ticket, or other criminal charge in the Seattle area, read the Traffic Attorney Seattle Blog and hire an attorney. And find someone you can trust.

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Seattle Traffic Lawyer | False Imprisonment

As a Seattle traffic lawyer, you hear a lot of weird stories. This one out of Grant County is pretty weird, and just goes to show what a little stress and bad decision making can do to someone's night, and someone's career.

From the story in the Seattle Times, it appears the Grant County corner and his second in command got in an argument about who would cover the weekend shifts of the upcoming fourth of July weekend. They were in the car, and as the fight escalated (it didn't get physical), the second in command wanted to get out of the car and asked to be let out of the car. The coroner refused, and drove the second in command home, some 30 to 60 minutes away from where the allege incident took place. Once the coroner let the second in command out, she called the cops and he was arrested for unlawful imprisonment, a Class C felony, punishable by up to 90 days in jail. At the time the story was printed he didn't yet have a criminal defense attorney.

This story, although comical in some ways (he took the second in command home and was arrested for unlawful imprisonment) it just goes to show you what can happen if a short-sighted decision is made. As his Seattle traffic lawyer I would have counseled him to just let the second in command out of the car. But the fact that he drover her to her house sheds some light on the lower severity of his actions (and the fact that there was no physical contact despite what appears to be a heated exchange of words).

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Seattle Traffic Lawyer | Noble Sentenced to Jail for Seattle DUI

It appears as though the Scott Noble saga is over. If you remember, Scott Noble is the (now ex) King County Assessor who a few months ago, after drinking several glasses of wine, entered Interstate 5 going the wrong direction and collided with a car traveling in the proper direction. At the time of the crash Noble was apparently trying to make a u-turn on the Interstate to get going in the right direction.

On Friday Noble was sentenced to 8 months in jail, though he will be able to get out of jail during working hours as a condition of his sentence (a friend has offered him a sales job at a massage therapy store he owns), after pleading guilty to one count of vehicular assault (this is essentially a DUI in which a person is injured).

The Washington Attorney General's office handled the case, as would be expected when a King County elected official is accused of the crime, and requested a 9 month sentence for Noble. Noble's Seattle traffic lawyer asked for a three month sentence, with work release. The judge split the baby, in essence, giving more jail time but allowing for the work release.

As a DUI lawyer generally, I think Noble's attorney did the best he possibly could. With the amount of publicity that centered on the case and the lack of sympathy given to Noble (he admitted to being an alcoholic of over 20 years), it would have been difficult to do any better than was done. In many cases like this, as a traffic attorney the focus is on negotiating the best deal possible. Here, the best deal was getting one of the vehicular assault charges dropped and having the opportunity to argue for work release with no objection from the prosecution.

Hopefully in the end Noble will be able to complete his sentence, get some treatment, and get his life in order. He appeared to feel pretty bad about his actions, so maybe this was the event that will get his life turned around. Stick around the Traffic Attorney Seattle Blog to stay up to date on traffic law!

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Seattle Traffic Lawyer | Cop Gets Pass for DUI

It's funny how many police officers can talk out of both sides of their face. For example, in one instance they can be complete blowhards, immovable on any issue, willing to acknowledge any lenience whatsoever for a suspected criminal. And then they realize their suspected criminal is a fellow police officer, and everything changes. You don't hear about it often (my guess is because it doesn't get reported that often - and it is highly likely that it just doesn't happen that often), but when it does, as a Seattle traffic attorney, it makes your skin crawl if for no other reason than I have a laundry list of clients that if just allowed to walk home or get a ride (or even drive home because they weren't actually drunk) that would have been the end of it.

It gets even more interesting when the prosecutor's office gets in the game, although the article I grabbed this story from makes it appear as though they tried their best (although with the facts it makes it hard to understand how they lost this case).

The story I'm referring to comes from Roseville California, where a Sacramento County Sheriff's Deputy was given a walk after he was stopped for DUI. You can read the full story here, but I'll give you some of the details and let you think about this case for yourself.

The deputy was driving erratically when he was pulled over. Upon being pulled over he was questioned and asked to participate in field sobriety tests, which he failed. After that, he was given a portable breath test, where he blew .16, twice the legal limit. After that, he repeatedly apologized to the officers and asked them to give him a break. And you know what, they did. They drove him home, dropped him off, and left it alone. He was only charged with DUI when a local news station picked up the story and broke it to the public.

With those facts, which are failed sobriety tests, a PBT of .16, and an pseudo admission, the prosecutor couldn't convince a jury he was guilty of DUI (might be something to said about the quality of the DUI lawyer, but it might also be the effort of the prosecutor's office). The jury hung, the case was dismissed, and the prosecutor's office has decided not to refile. I guess sometimes it just pays to be a cop.

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Seattle Traffic Lawyer | DUI Law Summarized

If you are in need of a Seattle traffic lawyer, you are probably suspected of having committed a violation of at least one law. I figured that since you are accused of something, you might as well know what the law is. Today I'm going to discuss Driving Under the Influence as defined in the RCW 46.61.502.

In layman's terms, driving under the influence, or DUI, occurs when consumes so much alcohol or uses so much drugs that it impairs their ability to properly operate a vehicle. As I'm sure you know, the amount of alcohol in your system is often measured by a breathalyzer test, and a measurement of .08 or greater presumes (accepts without question) that you are over the limit of alcohol consumption a safe driver can have. But, the statutes have even more than that.

There are actually three ways a person may be guilty of driving under the influence in Edmonds according to RCW 46.61.502: if a person while driving a vehicle in the State of Washington: (1) has, within two hours of driving, a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher as shown by an analysis of the person's blood or breath made under RCW 46.61.506 (this statute discusses all the rules of breathalyzer tests, blood tests, and refusing breathalyzer and blood tests - we'll talk all about this another time); (2) While the person is under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor or any drug; or (3) While the person is under the combined influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor and any drug.

What does this paragraph mean? Well, a couple of things. The first thing it means is that the police don't necessarily need a breathalyzer to tell if you are driving under the influence. If, for example, a Seattle, Bellevue, or Kirkland cop pulls you over and after speaking with you and running tests believes you are driving under the influence he can arrest you and then charge you even if your breath test comes back under .08. The police can use their "training and experience" to form an opinion as to your sobriety (those are the kinds of cases a Seattle traffic lawyer loves to defend). The second thing is that DUI is not limited to just alcohol. You can be arrested for drugs too (even prescription drugs, by the way).

Which brings us to section 2 of RCW 46.61.502: the fact that a person charged with a violation of this section is or has been entitled to use a drug under the laws of this state shall not constitute a defense against a charge of violating this section. This means that just because you were prescribed Valium doesn't mean you can use that as a defense if you were driving after just having taken some. Voluntary intoxication is not a defense.

On to section 3: it is an affirmative defense to a violation of subsection (1)(a) of this section which the defendant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant consumed a sufficient quantity of alcohol after the time of driving and before the administration of an analysis of the person's breath or blood to cause the defendant's alcohol concentration to be 0.08 or more within two hours after driving. The court shall not admit evidence of this defense unless the defendant notifies the prosecution prior to the omnibus or pretrial hearing in the case of the defendant's intent to assert the affirmative defense. Wow, that's a mouthful.

What they are saying in this case is that if, for example, you are driving in Edmonds, commit some driving violation, and the police are looking for you, and while they are looking for you (at your home in Kirkland, for example), you get drunk, you can use that as a defense to drunk driving if you are charged with it. There are only two rules to this defense, though. First, you, the defendant, must prove that it was more likely than not that your drinking after driving is what caused you to blow above .08, and second, that you have to notify the court and the prosecutor of this before they have the omnibus hearing (a hearing where evidence is presented and motions are argued at the beginning stages of criminal proceedings). The law just recognizes that sometimes people drink after they are done driving.

Section 4 was put in there as a last resort in case the police mess up with your original breathalyzer test. It states that breath or blood samples collected after the 2 hour time limit to take the tests has passed may be used to show you were drunk within the two hour time frame after the incident, or that at least you had been drinking for the non-breathalyzer portions of the Edmonds DUI laws. Does it sound a little shady, that the state or city prosecutor could use stale evidence to prove you committed a crime? That's because it is.

Section 5 says that a Washington state DUI is a gross misdemeanor unless section 6 applies. Section 6 says a DUI is a class C felony if: (1) you have four or more prior DUIs in the last 10 years; (2) the person has been previously convicted of: (a) vehicular homicide while DUI; (b) vehicular assault while DUI; or (c) and out of state offense compared to (a) or (b).

That is it for your basic DUI law. If only it were that simple. Stay tuned for more Seattle DUI information.

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