The Holiday DUI

With the holidays coming up, everybody’s schedule tends to get a little tighter. Juggling work, shopping, cooking, family and all the other obligations that accompany the holidays. While many people take time off this time of year, the Washington State Patrol (WSP) is not one of them. For a number of years now the WSP has increased their DUI patrols, and thus DUI arrests, during the holidays.

This holiday season will be no different. This is especially true because the WSP plans to roll out a new way of testing an individuals breath. The WSP currently uses a machine referred to as the DataMaster. This machine, and its operating system, was developed back in the 80’s and has undergone little advancement since that time. In 2010, the WSP received approval from the legislature to replace the DataMaster with the new Draeger Alcotest 9510 (Draeger for short). Long story short, this new machine requires less maintenance, is more automated, and takes less time to go through the procedures. So the Draeger will allow the Officer to stop, arrest, a process individuals accused of a DUI much quicker and allow the Officer to get back out on patrol. As a Snohomish County DUI Defense attorney, I have concerns about a machine specifically designed to cut time and be more automated (with no increase in accuracy noted), especially when that machine’s breath test reading will be used to convict someone of DUI (sometimes without much additional evidence).

So, with the holidays around the corner, and a new machine for the WSP to test out, be safe. If you are going to consume alcohol, have a designated driver or call a cab (they  are much cheaper than I am). If you are accused of DUI, call an experienced DUI attorney right away. With a DUI arrest, there are many collateral issues beyond just the criminal charge, you need a DUI lawyer that knows these issues and can get out in front of them. Call the Law Firm of Lucas D. McWethy at 206-427-4901 if you or someone you know is accused of a Snohomish County DUI or other Criminal Offense.

Medical Marijuana And DUI

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) law is a complex and confusing set of rules and regulations. The complexity only increases when you add in the Department of Licensing, Insurance, required treatment and the legal system in general. It is helpful to have a Snohomish County DUI attorney involved early to help navigate the issues and make sure there are no surprises. The legalization of marijuana only  increased the complexity of DUI law.

There are many circumstances that can lead to being arrested for DUI. For alcohol and marijuana, there is a presumptive limit (.08 and 5 nanograms of THC). This means that even if you appear to be completely sober, if the test results are above the presumptive level you could be found guilty of DUI. For all drugs and alcohol, the State can still proceed with DUI charges without a test (or a test showing below the legal limit) if they believe they can show that your driving was affected by the drugs or alcohol.

This presumptive limit of 5 nanograms for marijuana, combined with the affected by option if a test is not done, creates a unique problem for medical marijuana users. As the body process active THC, it is metabolized into Carboxy THC (this is an over simplification, but one which the courts follow). Carboxy TCH is stored in the bodies fat cells and can be present for around 30 days. The Carboxy number is not used in determining the presumptive level, only the active THC component is used. However, the prosecutor and the judge will see the Carboxy levels and may make certain assumptions about the individuals use of marijuana.

The difficulty for medical marijuana users comes in the determination of when it is safe for them to drive. Unlike alcohol, there is not a well know percentage indicator (proof for alcohol) that informs the user of the TCH content and how long it will take to process  through the body. Additionally, the THC metabolization is different in every person, especially between those of greatly different weights. Now some dispensaries do a great job of providing THC counts on their product. There are a lot of products that are genetically modified to help certain illnesses or symptoms and have very specific THC levels. These products must be treated just like any other prescription. Speak with the provider and your doctor and determine when it would be safe for you to drive after consuming the product. Your provider and doctor should be able to take into account the specific product (and THC content), your body, and your needs. Having a medical marijuana card will not prevent a DUI if you are either driving while being affect by marijuana (the THC component at least) or have greater than 5 nanograms of THC in your blood.

If you or someone you know has a medical marijuana card and has been charged with a Snohomish County Marijuana DUI, you need the help of a DUI attorney that is familiar with the specific needs of a medical marijuana user. The courts, prosecutors, and even treatment agencies still have a long way go in accepting medical marijuana as an alternative to harsh pharmaceuticals. Contact the Law Firm of Lucas D. McWethy, (206) 427-4901.

Holiday Traffic Tickets

Holiday Traffic Tickets

The Holidays are time for family, friends, and increased patrols. Snohomish County typically increases their patrols the closer we get to Thanksgiving. More traffic enforcement officers means more speeding tickets, no insurance tickets, carpool violation tickets, following too closely tickets and the like. You will be seeing more City Officers on patrol in places like Lynnwood, Bothell, Everett, Mill Creek and Mukilteo. You will also see a significant increase in the amount of Washington State Patrol Officers on the freeways and highways.

The cost of one of these tickets extends far beyond the cost you pay to the city or county. If you drive for a living a single ticket can have serious implications on your driving status and your marketability to be hired. Even if you do not drive for a living, the increase in premiums for you insurance can cost you over a $1000. As a Snohomish County traffic ticket attorney, I can help you keep a clean driving record and lower insurance costs. It is essential to have a traffic ticket attorney in Snohomish County that knows the courts and the prosecutors. Snohomish County is actively pursues their infractions with a full time prosecutor, you need a full time traffic ticket attorney on your side. Contact the Law Firm of Lucas D. McWethy at 206-427-4901 for a free consultation on how I can keep your ticket off your driving record.