The Clashing of Hailey’s Law and the WA State Constitution

In a recent unanimous decision from the Washington Supreme Court, Hailey’s law was ruled unconstitutional. Hailey’s Law required the mandatory impoundment of a car driven by someone arrested for DUI.

Passed by the state legislature in 2011, Hailey’s Law stemmed from an incident in 2007 where a person was arrested for a DUI. After the arrest, the person was released back to her car, drove, and severely injured another person. Hailey’s Law stripped officers of the discretion to decide whether to impound a person’s car after such an arrest, even if other passengers are present to take the car or if the car is parked safely off the roadway. Considering the costs associated with retrieving one’s car after impoundment, the law had a significant impact on those arrested for DUI.

In the case before the Court, Joel Villela challenged Hailey’s Law, arguing that impounding his car after arrest for DUI, without simply releasing the car to one of his passengers, violated his constitutional rights.

The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution protects against unreasonable searches and seizures. Washington’s Constitution provides further privacy protections under Article 1 Section 7—the right to not be disturbed in one’s private affairs without authority of law.

The Court recognized that the impoundment of a car is an intrusion into one’s private affairs, and so the issue before the Court was whether authority of law justified the intrusion. The State relied on Hailey’s Law for providing the authority of law required. However, the Court noted that a statute can only provide such authority if it is consistent with constitutional protections.

Writing for a unanimous Court, Justice González emphasized that the legislature can’t legislate away constitutional protections.

The Court recognized that, under Article 1 Section 7, authority of law to impound a vehicle after the driver has been arrested exists where (1) there is probable cause that the vehicle contains evidence of a crime or (2) there is no reasonable alternative to impoundment. Since Hailey’s Law took away the discretion of an officer to consider reasonable alternatives to impoundment, the statute clearly violated constitutional protections.

So, what is the practical effect for those now arrested on suspicion of DUI?

Where an officer does not have probable cause to impound a car, the officer is required to make an individualized consideration of any reasonable alternatives to impoundment. Reasonable alternatives include whether a passenger is able to drive the car, or whether the car can be safely left where it is, to be picked up later. This means less costs imposed on many people arrested for DUI.

Bottom line—each case is unique and, without probable cause, an officer must first consider any reasonable alternatives before impounding a car driven by someone arrested for a DUI.

“Self-defense is Nature’s eldest law.” – John Dryden.

Self-defense is a term that most people know, even those people who are not in the legal field. If someone hits you, you are justified to hit them back. What does self-defense means in terms of criminal law though?

Self Defense as an Instruction to a Jury at Trial

Self-defense is an affirmative defense. This means that a person is not simply denying their conduct, but that they are offering evidence as to why they did that criminal act. A defense attorney’s goal is to avoid a conviction to the crime. In many courts, clients will claim self-defense to assault charges. If the case were to go to trial, the jury would be instructed that it is a defense to the charge of assault that the force used was lawful. When the Court allows the jury to hear this instruction, the prosecutor then has the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the force used by the defendant was not lawful.

Lawful Force

What is lawful force? This can get tricky. It’s usually easier to give an example of what is likely NOT lawful. Let’s say that you get into a fight with a friend. The friend slaps you in the face, and then you pull out a gun and shoot them. This would likely not be lawful. Let’s say, though, that after that friend slaps you, then you punch them two times. Is that lawful? You can see how this gets tricky.

Defense of Others or Property

We have been talking about self-defense regarding individual people, but what about defending others or defending your property? State v. Mierz illustrates that you must be in lawful possession of something to try to claim self-defense over that object or animal. State v. Bland illustrates that you can use necessary force against a “malicious trespass” even though you do not reasonably believe that you are going to be injured.

Recent Case Involving Self-Defense

The Washington Court of Appeals Division III just released a case on June 11th, 2019, that discusses a unique area of self-defense. This case is State v. Tullar. In Okanogan County Jail, Johnathan Cook was assaulted by Brandon Tullar. Mr. Tullar did not testify, but two inmates testified that Mr. Cook hit Mr. Tullar first, put him in a chokehold, and then Mr. Tullar defended himself. The trial court did not allow Mr. Tullar to use a self-defense jury instruction because he did not testify about his own subjective fear regarding the assault. The Court of Appeals ruled that “the law allows Tullar to establish his subjective fear by circumstantial evidence through the testimony of others.” This helps defendants who do not want to testify, but have witnesses who can testify for them.

How We Can Help

If you have gotten into an altercation with someone, but it was out of self-defense, contact us immediately. We stay up to date on the law and the cases surrounding self-defense, and we will use this to help you avoid a conviction. In fact, Attorney ALISON GANEM just obtained (on 09/10/19) a not guilty verdict for our client charged with Assault in the 4th degree in King County where self defense was presented. In that case the jury even awarded attorney’s fees requiring the State to compensate the Defendant for the cost of hiring our firm.

With the rise of social media, children as young as grade school age are often seen with a Facebook, a cell phone, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. They often have free reign to text or communicate with whoever they want. When hormones are raging, these teens and children find ways to release those emotions and seek attention. One way that they do this is to take pictures of their genitals and other private parts, send them to each other, and post them on social media. Not only can this be damaging in emotional or psychological ways, but these young adults could be charged with possessing child pornography.

Possessing child pornography, otherwise known as “Possession of depictions of minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct” is a class B felony. One of the definitions of “sexually explicit conduct” is defined as: the “depiction of the genitals or unclothed pubic or rectal areas of any minor, or the unclothed breast of a female minor, for the purpose of sexual stimulation of the viewer.” The punishments for this crime could vary, but the maximum sentence that someone convicted of this crime could face is up to ten years in jail and $20,000.

Although these laws were originally written to protect children from adults who were in possession of child pornography, it is also a crime in Washington if the person in possession of the child pornography is also a child.

Oftentimes, these children have innocent intentions – they are just sending pictures of themselves to their boyfriends or girlfriends. The problem is, if these pictures or conversations fall into the wrong hands, the last thing you want as a parent is to help your child through the criminal justice system.

As a parent, you want your child or teen to be able to socialize with their friends and to not deprive them of social media. You want them to trust you, and you don’t want them to feel like you are snooping around their business or invading their privacy. However, you do want to stay involved in a way to make sure that they are safe from these crimes. What you can do as a parent to protect your children? Remind your children to think twice about what they send, teach your children to not share anything with strangers or to not share anything that they wouldn’t want their grandma or future boss to see, and to set privacy settings on their accounts.

The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution reads that: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” Washington adopted that language and wrote into their own constitution, under Article 1 Section 7, that “No person shall be disturbed in his private affairs, or his home invaded, without authority of law.”

Once cars and other means of transportation were invented, Courts had to find a way to apply the 4th Amendment to vehicles. Many of you have heard about a “Terry Stop”. This came from the famous case of Terry v. Ohio. What came from that case is that police officers must have reasonable suspicion to pull a vehicle over. This means that the officer must have specific and articulable facts that a crime has occurred or is about to occur for the officer to stop the vehicle.

7000-8000 cases get filed each year with the Supreme Court of the United States, but only 100-150 actually get argued before the justices. On April 1st, 2019, the Supreme Court decided that Kansas v. Glover can be argued before them.

In Kansas, a police officer ran the plate of a truck with a Kansas license plate to verify registration. Through this check, the officer learned that the registered owner was Charles Glover Jr., and that his license had been revoked. The officer stopped the truck, confirmed that Mr. Glover Jr. was the driver, and issued him a citation for violating the law. Mr. Glover Jr.’s defense attorney argued that the stop violated his 4th Amendment rights against unreasonable search seizure. That attorney argued that the police officer did not have reasonable suspicion to pull the truck over. The prosecutor argued that the officer could make the reasonable conclusion that the registered owner was the same person as the driver of the car; and therefore, since the officer knew that the registered owner had a revoked license, he had reasonable suspicion to pull over the truck. The Supreme Court is now going to answer this question: “For the purposes of an investigative stop under the 4th Amendment, is it reasonable for an officer to suspect that the registered owner of the vehicle is the one driving the vehicle absent any information to the contrary?”

Now it may be difficult to name all of the Supreme Court Justices from memory, but one that probably comes to mind these days is Ruth Bader Ginsburg. How do you think she will rule in that case?

My guess is that RBG will rule in favor of the driver and the 4th amendment.

RBG tends to rule in favor of the rights that the 4th Amendment protects. A Stanford study showed that from 1993-2015, Ruth Bader Ginsburg voted in favor of fourth amendment litigants in 59.2% of the cases. Specifically, in criminal law matters, she voted in favor of fourth amendment litigants in 62% of cases. The majority of these fourth amendment litigants were criminal defendants.

Here’s a couple of examples were RBG was for the protections of the 4th amendment. In Ferguson v. City of Charleston, she joined in the opinion that “a public hospital’s policy of testing pregnant patients’ urine for cocaine and reporting positive results violated the 4th Amendment.” In a Kentucky case, she raised the hypothetical scenario, that if the lower courts’ positions were upheld, then this would allow police “to go to the apartment building and then sniff at every door trying to find a reason to invade the home without a warrant.”

RBG has made a huge impact in US history and she may not have much time left ruling as a justice. For information on the outcome of this case and how RBG ruled, google SCOTUS blog and check back in a few months.

https://www.oyez.org/cases/2019/18-556
https://www.history.com/topics/womens-history/ruth-bader-ginsburg
-https://law.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/newton.pdf

If you’ve ever watched Law and Order or another crime television drama, you’ve seen countless trials. Exciting things happen like lawyers yelling “I object” or witnesses getting angry and being hauled out of the courtroom. Sure, the TV dramas capture your attention, but what actually happens at trial in a Municipal, District, or Superior Court in Washington?

Voir Dire or Jury Selection

This is where the prosecutor and defense attorney pick the jurors. The prosecutor and defense attorney each have a time limit to ask the jurors questions to help them determine who they want on their jury. These questions can be open ended or targeted at specific jurors. The questions usually hint to the theme of the case or try to highlight biases that the jurors might have or misconceptions about the criminal justice system.

The prosecutor and defense attorney then have a certain number of “challenges” to kick the jurors off of the panel. These two challenges are called Peremptory challenges and challenges for Cause. Peremptory challenges can be used for any reason, as long as that reason is related to the attorney’s view concerning the outcome of the case. Challenges for Cause mean that the attorney has a stated reason for dismissing a juror such as the juror having a particular bias, prejudice, or prior knowledge of the case.

Since 1879, the US Supreme Court has said that racial discrimination when picking jurors violates the Constitution. Batson v. Kentucky was a key case for this.

Interestingly, this is still an issue today. A Mississippi prosecutor went to trial 6 times trying to convict a black man named Curtis Flowers for murder. From the time that Mr. Flowers was charged until today, 23 years have passed. The defendant had no criminal history, there were no witnesses to pinpoint Mr. Flowers as the suspect, and there was no physical evidence that connected him to the murder. Due to this lack of evidence, (using the peremptory challenges) the prosecutor tried to exclude the potential jurors who were black. The Supreme is now hearing the case to decide whether or not that prosecutor’s challenges violated the Constitution.

Opening

This is where the prosecutor and defense attorney have the chance to present to you their side of the story. In other words, they will briefly explain to you the evidence that they expect you to hear. You’ll finally be introduced to what the case is about and get a summary about the witnesses.

Testimony

First, the prosecutor will get the chance to put on their case. They will call their witnesses, and the defense attorney will have the opportunity to cross examine their witnesses. Cross examine just means “a formal interrogation of a witness called by the other party in a court of law to challenge or extend testimony already given.”

Contrary to popular belief, the defense attorney, then, doesn’t even have to explain their side of the story. This is because the burden is on the prosecutor only to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. If the defense attorney chooses to put on evidence and call witnesses, then the prosecutor will have the opportunity to cross examine those witnesses.

The defendant also does not have to testify. If you are charged with a crime, you can discuss with your attorney if testifying is the right move for your case.

Jury Instructions

This is the most boring part of the trial. A set of jury instructions will be read by the Judge and then provided to the jurors. These are the laws and guidelines that the jurors must follow when making their decision about whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty.

Closing

“If it doesn’t fit, your must acquit.” These were the famous words that Johnnie Cochran spoke during his closing arguments at O. J. Simpson’s trial. The closing statement is where the prosecutor and defense attorney give a speech to summarize all of the evidence and witness testimony presented at trial. This is where all the puzzle pieces are connected and each side makes their argument for why the defendant is guilty or not guilty.

Verdict

At the end of the trial, the jurors go back into a room and “deliberate”, meaning they discuss the case to decide the outcome. Once they have made their decision, they come back before the prosecutor, judge, defense attorney, and defendant, and tell the court whether they find the defendant guilty or not guilty.

As you can see, trials are more complex then the crime dramas make them out to be. For every trial Horwath Law takes on we thoroughly prepare with a multi-attorney team including investigators and legal assistants. Our preparation and experience is why we win significantly more trials than we lose. Last year our team won over 70% of our criminal trials and owner Angela Horwath avoided a conviction on every single trial she handled. If you need an experienced criminal defense trial attorney contact Horwath Law.

http://alabama.nris.com/news/Six-trials-for-same-murders-Supreme-Court-frowns-on-racial-jury-selection-tactics-of-Mississippi-prosecutor-114220

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/2/19/1836006/-A-Mississippi-prosecutor-heads-to-the-Supreme-Court-for-routinely-kicking-black-people-off-juries?detail=emailLL

State v. Saintcalle, 178 Wn.2d 34, 43, 309 P.3d 326, 333 (2013)

Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79, 89, 106 S. Ct. 1712, 1719, 90 L.Ed.2d 69, 82-83 (1986)

For most residents in Washington, Canada is a quick trip across the border. As of December 2018, this trip might not be as easy as people think.

Canada recently changed their Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (section 36), which impacts how DUIs are treated under the Law. In Canada, the new maximum sentence for a DUI is up to ten years in jail when it used to be five. Currently in Washington, the maximum sentence for a DUI is up to 364 days in jail (and a $5000 fine). In Canada now, a DUI is also considered a serious offense.

This change in Canadian law matters because any American that had a DUI conviction may not be able to enter Canada. Even one single DUI can deny you entry at the border. That DUI from 30 years ago when you were newly 21? It could still bar you from entering Canada. Even if you were arrested for a DUI, but plead guilty to a lesser charge (reckless driving or negligent driving for example) you still may not be able to cross the border. You could also be denied entry into Canada even if your DUI was not due to alcohol meaning the DUI could have resulted from marijuana or prescription drugs to name a couple. Being allow to enter into Canada can also depend on where you were convicted for the DUI (or amended charge.)

At the border, a Canadian immigration officer will decide if you can enter Canada. This officer has access to the FBI criminal database so he or she will run your record and will make the determination on whether you are allowed to enter. It is up to that officer’s discretion and will depend on many factors such as the reason for entering into Canada and how long ago the DUI occurred.

Even if you do not plan on actually drive in Canada, you could still be denied entry.

You could also be denied entry to Canada even if you have had your DUI expunged (meaning erased from your record).

As you can see, this issue about whether you can enter Canada with a DUI on your record is very complex. If you have ever been arrested in United States for a DUI, it is crucial to contact a lawyer for advice before attempting to enter Canada. Additionally if entering Canada is something you intend or hope to do and you are facing a DUI charge please contact one of the experienced DUI lawyers at Horwath Law.

The Massachusetts Supreme Court has affirmed the conviction of a 22-year-old woman, Michelle Carter, who repeatedly encouraged her boyfriend to commit suicide in 2014. She has been sentenced to 15 months in prison. 18-year-old Conrad Roy III was found dead in his car in a K-Mart parking lot after using a pump to fill the car with Carbon Monoxide. Official text message transcripts reveal details that in the prior days to the suicide, Roy expressed doubt and fear if he was making the right decision. Carter’s replies consisted of encouraging him to purchase the pump, pushing to get the suicide over with, and even telling him “people that commit suicide don’t think this much”. After the car filled with Carbon Monoxide, Roy exited in fear, however Carter told him to get back inside the car. Roy died later that night. The next day, Carter sent a text to a friend saying she was at fault for Roy’s death because she had instructed him to go back inside his vehicle. Carter was 17 at the time of the incident, and was originally tried in the Bristol Juvenile Court of Taunton, Massachusetts. The lower court found her guilty of involuntary manslaughter in a bench trial.

Upon appeal to the Massachusetts Supreme Court, Carter’s legal team raised a variety of issues to the court. In Justice Scott L. Kafker’s opinion, the Court rejected the notion that her not being physically present absolve her of responsibility, finding that her verbal comments were a direct link to Roy’s death. The opinion went on to note that the victim was aware of the influence her comments had on the victim, and understood very well that Roy suffered from depression and suicidal tendencies. Carter’s attorneys based her defense around these key issues: insufficient evidence, lack of due process, free speech infringement, no infliction of bodily harm, not being a reasonable juvenile, and not being able to bring an expert witness forward. Claiming that the only evidence of her admitting responsibility was the text message to her friend, Carter’s team said that an extrajudicial message is not valid evidence. The Court found that this evidence is is valid if corroborated, which it was by her various other messages encouraging him to commit suicide. Her claim that she lacked due process due to the involuntary manslaughter charge being constitutionally vague did not hold up, as the Court explained that any statute previously expanded upon by judicial explanation cannot be considered vague. Her free speech was also not infringed upon, according to the opinion, as involuntary manslaughter requires “wanton or reckless conduct”. If this conduct happens to be speech, it is implied that the speech is not protected by the First Amendment. Kafker also denies that Carter had to physically cause or inflict the bodily harm, as the law only states the incident must involve the infliction of harm, not that the defendant must physically cause it. Carter’s team also argued that she should not be considered under the reasonable person standard, but the reasonable juvenile standard. The Court found that Carter was a reasonable juvenile, as her statements to the victim showed she fully understood the gravity of her actions. Lastly, Carter’s team was denied bringing forth an expert psychology witness in the original trial, and argued against this saying similar witness have been brought forth in similar cases. Kafker stated that one judge’s discretion over a different witness in a different case does not hold weight for this case.

The upholding of the case was the cause for some controversy. Matt Segal, the Massachusetts American Civil Liberties Union director, condemned the decision for its broad implications. His concern is that the decision has allowed prosecutors to place charges over subjective interpretations of speech that has been deemed “criminal”. Carter’s attorneys will explore appealing the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

If you ever experience or have experienced suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

Our nation is suffering from an opioid epidemic. In 2018, opioid overdoses caused 20% of the total fatalities among young American adults (defined as people ages 18-25). Researchers found that between 2001 and 2016, the number of opioid related deaths in the United States more than quadrupled. Our nation is at a loss over how to address the ever-increasing number of overdose deaths. Most of the discussion over fighting the war on this drug relates to changing doctors’ prescribing habits. Although this is a necessary step, it is not the only measure that must be taken. We must also provide addicts with effective drug-assisted and other therapy and encourage users and the friends, family and acquaintances of users to seek help for themselves and/or for their loved ones.

In the United States, 40 states and the District of Columbia have enacted some sort of Good Samaritan Drug Law or 911 Drug Immunity law. Washington State’s Good Samaritan Overdose Law RCW 69.50.315 provides specific protections against drug possession charges. Specifically: (i) if you seek medical assistance in a drug-related overdose, you cannot be prosecuted for drug possession; (ii) the overdose victim is also protected from drug possession charges; and (iii) anyone in Washington state who might have witnessed or did witness an opioid overdose is allowed to carry and administer naloxone (naloxone is a drug that reverses opiate overdoses). The rationale behind these protections is the recognition that prompt medical attention is essential to saving a victim from an overdose. We must encourage bystanders to seek medical care for users without fear that they will be charged with a crime for doing so.

The 911 Drug Immunity Law is particularly relevant in the cases of opioid overdose because many opioid related deaths can be prevented by the administration of naloxone. The bad news is that often bystanders do not have ready access to naloxone. Washington’s version of the Good Samaritan Law addresses this issue by permitting anyone “at risk for having or witnessing a drug overdose” to obtain naloxone and administer it in an overdose. This includes individuals who use opioids, family members, friends and professionals. Naloxone law ESHB 1671 also permits naloxone to be prescribed to an “entity” such as a homeless shelter, police department or social service agency. Together, these laws allow a community agency to have naloxone on site and its employees to carry and administer naloxone in the event of an overdose. EHSB 1671 also allows non-medical persons to distribute naloxone under a prescriber’s standing order. Under Washington law, anyone acting in good faith to prevent an opioid overdose may administer, prescribe, dispense, purchase, acquire, possess or use naloxone.

There is no doubt that the misuse of and addiction to opioids is a serious national crisis that impacts public health as well as social and economic welfare. Every day more than 130 people in the United States die by overdosing on opioids. The state of Washington is not immune from this epidemic. This is not a problem that will be fixed quickly or easily. However, Washington’s 911 Drug Immunity Law, which enables users to receive naloxone immediately and to obtain medical attention without fear of criminal action, can be a powerful tool for saving many lives needlessly lost to overdose.

Everyone gets excited when they turn 16 and first get their Washington license. However, having your license is a privilege, which is why the legislature has allowed for Washington Department of Licensing (DOL) and courts to suspend it if you are charged with certain crimes. What’s even more confusing is that the DOL and courts have different standards for when to suspend your license. The criminal court will impose licensing consequences if you are convicted certain crimes. In ADDITION, the DOL will ALSO impose licensing consequences if you are arrested for DUI and lose the DOL hearing.

Let’s clear up all this confusion and take a look at common driving offenses to see what happens to your license:

DUI in Olympia, Seattle or Tacoma

1st DUI within 7 years

Criminal Court:

  • If your breath test (at the station, not the portable one at the scene) is below .15, then your license will be suspended for 90 days.
  • If your breath test is .15 or above, your license will be revoked for 1 year.
  • If you refuse the breath test, your license will be revoked for 2 years.

DOL:

  • If your breath test (at the station, not the portable one at the scene) is below .15, then your license will be suspended for 90 days.
  • If your breath test is .15 or above, your license will be suspended for 90 days.
  • If you refuse the breath test, your license will be revoked for 1 year.

2nd DUI within 7 years*

Criminal Court:

  • If your breath test (at the station, not the portable one at the scene) is below .15, then your license will be revoked for 2 years.
  • If your breath test is .15 or above, your license will be revoked for 900 days.
  • If you refuse the breath test, your license will be revoked for 3 years.

DOL:

  • If your breath test (at the station, not the portable one at the scene) is below .15, then your license will be revoked for 2 years.
  • If your breath test is .15 or above, your license will be revoked for 2 years
  • If you refuse the breath test, your license will be revoked for 2 years.

3rd+ DUI within 7 years*

Criminal Court:

  • If your breath test (at the station, not the portable one at the scene) is below .15, then your license will be revoked for 3 years.
  • If your breath test is .15 or above, your license will be revoked for 4 years
  • If you refuse the breath test, your license will be revoked for 4 years.

*A 2nd or 3rd + DUI within 7 years means a straight DUI, an amendment to Reckless Driving, or amendment to Negligent Driving. So for example, Let’s say in 2015 you were charged with a DUI, and it was amended to a reckless driving. Then in 2017, you were charged with a DUI, then that DUI is your “2nd within 7” even though you plead guilty to a lesser charge back in 2015.

Reckless Driving

30 day license suspension. DOL usually takes 45 days after the criminal conviction to suspend the license.

Negligent Driving 1st Degree

No license suspension

This is just a basic summary of how your license will be suspended or revoked if charged with certain crimes. Horwath Law can help you navigate through this complicated process. We also represent clients at DOL hearings to help you keep your license. Contact us today if you have been charged with a DUI, Reckless Driving, or Negligent Driving in the 1st degree and/or you need help with your DOL hearing.

Weed, grass, pot, maryjane…These are many common names for marijuana.

Washington passed Initiative 502 in November of 2012, which legalized marijuana. However, there are still Washington statutes (or in other words – laws) that criminalize marijuana. One is RCW 69.50.4014, which makes it a crime for any person to be in possession of forty grams or less of marijuana. Another law, RCW 46.61.502(b), criminalizes a person, if within two hours of driving, a person has a THC concentration of 5.00 or higher.

So what does this law mean for those charged with a marijuana DUI?

  1. Violation of Privacy Rights
    Well, your privacy rights could come into question. For example, in some instances, if a driver is suspected of driving under the influence of marijuana, Courts may allow officers to collect a blood sample without a warrant. For this to occur though, the City is held to a high standard – they must show by clear and convincing evidence that obtaining a warrant would have significantly delayed collection a blood sample. [1]
  2. Post-Sentencing Punishment for Marijuana Consumption
    Further, although marijuana is legal, courts could still punish you after you’ve been sentenced for consuming marijuana. Many times, as a condition of a guilty conviction, the Judge will order no possession or consumption of marijuana or drugs. If you are in treatment and have a positive UA for marijuana, the judge could then punish you for using marijuana.
  3. Jail Time and Fines
    Just like an alcohol DUI, if convicted of a marijuana DUI, you could be facing up to 364 days in jail and a $5000 fine.

Aside from these 3 issues, there are many other problems that can come from being charged with a DUI for marijuana. However, there may be a silver lining.

Police officers still “don’t have the equivalent of a reliable alcohol breathalyzer or blood test — a chemically based way of estimating what the drug is doing in the brain. Though a blood test exists that can detect some of marijuana’s components, there is no widely accepted, standardized amount in the breath or blood that gives police or courts or anyone else a good sense of who is impaired.”[2]

That’s were a DUI criminal defense attorney can help. A DUI attorney will analyze the police methods and testing and find the flaws with the prosecution’s case.

Contact Horwath Law today for your consultation.

[1] City of Seattle v. Pearson, 192 Wn. App.802 (2016).

[2] https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/07/30/523004450/scientists-still-seek-a-reliable-dui-test-for-marijuana

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Information provided by this website applies to Washington State laws and is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for legal advice and we do not guarantee the accuracy of information provided. Please contact a licensed attorney in your state for advice about your legal situation. Examples of case results should not be taken as a predictor of your individual case result. Specific case results cannot be guaranteed.