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Spokane Law Blog

Semi crash draws attention to the importance of safe guardrails

When you're on any highway, you'll notice that there are normally guardrails. Some opponents of these devices argue that they can make crashes worse, but they have a real job to do, too. Guardrails are there to keep vehicles on the road, to prevent them from going down into ditches or over the sides of ledges. Good guardrails can make a difference in saving lives.

A recent crash in Colfax has shown why these are so important. A Dec. 11 news report showed a semitruck that was carrying multiple vehicles hit a guardrail on U.S. Highway 195. That crash stopped the truck from going over the side of an embankment and stopped a potential roll-over crash.

What is a DUI Pre-Trial Hearing?

DUI and other misdemeanor criminal charges in Washington State will go through several phases before resolution. Each case is different, but in most Spokane DUI cases the Pre-Trial phase will last for three to five months and the court hearings will occur in monthly cycles. A Pre-Trial hearing is an opportunity for the judge to get an update on the case status from the defense and prosecution. Many different steps take place during Pre-Trial phase including investigation, suppression motions and negotiations. Throughout this phase you'll have to follow the Pre-Trial Release Conditions that were ordered by the judge during your First Appearance Hearing.

Signs it's time for your elderly loved one to stop driving

Some safety analysts argue that there are two types of drivers that are the most dangerous ones out on the road; teens and the elderly. Data published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that older drivers are more apt to become involved in either injury-involved or fatal car crashes than their younger counterparts. There are some concerning driving behaviors that the elderly employ that cause them to become involved in these crashes.

NHTSA data warns children or caregivers of the elderly to consider talking to their elderly loved one about stopping driving if they start operating their vehicle in an unsafe way.

Washington gun owners should take time to learn their rights

In Washington, much like many other states in the country, it's only possible for an individual to purchase a firearm through a licensed dealer. Any prospective buyer must successfully pass a background check before being allowed to buy a gun.

All retailers must report pistol sales to the appropriate local law enforcement agencies and state licensing authorities. Individuals who transfer the ownership of firearms must also meet certain requirements. Anyone who violates Washington's gun laws may be subject to criminal prosecution.

Will Your DUI Require an Ignition Interlock Device?

When facing a DUI in Washington State there are a couple different points when the ignition interlock device (IID) could be required: at the first court appearance, after a Department of Licensing (DOL) administrative action and after the court case is resolved. The IID is a device that requires a driver to submit a breath sample both before the vehicle will start and also intermittently while the vehicle is running. Usually, the first time there is danger of the IID being required is right after the event at first court appearance.

What should you know about drunk driving in Washington?

We all know impaired driving is illegal in Washington, regardless of the cause of the impairment. The state's laws cover illegal and legal drugs, medications and alcohol. All drivers should understand these laws so they can avoid facing criminal DUI charges.

The penalties for a drunk driving charge in this Washington State are considerable. Even on a first offense you face the possibility of time in jail and fines. Other penalties include having your driver's license suspended, having to install an ignition interlock on your vehicle and having to attend alcohol and drug treatment.

What is the legal limit in Washington?

When it comes to DUI's there are several different limits that you need to be aware of. For non-commercial vehicle drivers, who are at least 21 years old, the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is .08. For drivers who are under 21 the alcohol limit is .02. When driving commercial vehicle the BAC limit is .04. Finally, Washington State also has a limit on the amount of THC or marijuana in the driver's blood. It is illegal to be 21 or older and have a blood THC level of 5.0 nanograms or above. For those under 21 it is illegal to have any blood THC level and drive. It is also possible to face charges even if you are below these limits if you are showing signs of impairment that make it unsafe for you to drive a vehicle.

What are the penalties for a conviction?

On a first offense, your driver's license will be at risk for at least 90 days. You also face up to 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $5,000 unless there are extenuating circumstances.

You can face enhanced penalties if you are involved in an accident that leads to injuries or property damage. Having a child in the car can also lead to more serious penalties. There may be additional penalties for refusing a breath test, so it's important to call an attorney as soon as possible after being pulled over.

Convictions after the first one also come with harsher penalties. Base on prior offenses some folks will face felony DUI charges. The increase to a felony means you are facing substantially hirgher penalties including time in prison.

It is imperative that you work on your defense right away when you are charged with this crime. There are many options possible that you can review with your attorney, so be sure to choose a strategy that addresses your side of the matter.

What can motorcyclists do to reduce their risk of breaking bones?

Some of the most serious injuries that motorcyclists can suffer are broken bones. There are precautions that cyclists can take to reduce their risk of getting seriously hurt though.

Motorcyclists who engage in impact exercises and lift weights generally have stronger bones than those who engage in little to no strenuous activities. This is because bones get stronger the more impact or force that they have to endure. This is why it can be quite beneficial for motorcyclists to workout. This can protect them from serious injuries down the line.

Could Technology Combat Driving Under the Influence?

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is dangerous and the tough laws in Washington State haven't eliminated them. There may be new technology on the horizon to help make our roadways safer. Currently, the government does not require installation of anti-DUI devices or technology on new automobiles. Within the next couple years new technology designed to prevent folks from starting their car and driving if they are over the legal limit for alcohol may actually be mandatory on new vehicles.

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