Your Rights when stopped by the Police

Being stopped by the police can be a frightening and often life changing event. Most people are not prepared for a stop by the police and some often behave in ways that can make the situation worse. Here are a few simple suggestions to help protect your rights and keep you and your loved ones safe.

If you are stopped while driving a vehicle, then the officer should first tell you why you were stopped. If the officer does not tell you why you were stopped you should ask the officer. You have a right to ask whether you are under investigation for a crime. If the officer indicates that in fact you are under investigation for a crime, then you have the right to not answer any questions.

An officer may believe that you are under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substance. If an officer asks you to perform field sobriety test to see if you are safe to drive, then you have the right to decline doing those tests. These road side tests are entirely voluntary. These tests are designed partially to test whether someone can properly follow directions. Often times, Spanish speaking individuals are unable to perform the test even when sober because they do not fully understand the instructions being given to them in English. Your innocent mistakes may be interpreted as evidence that you are intoxicated.

When under investigation by a police officer, you should keep in mind that anything you say to the police officer possibly could be used against you later in court. If you are arrested, then a police officer must advise you of your right to remain silent and your right to and attorney.  For those who do not understand the rights in English, the police must provide the rights in a language the person being arrested understands.

If you do not speak English well enough to fully understand and to speak to the officer, then you should request and interpreter. If you do not understand what the officer is saying to you, then you should make it clear to the officer that you do not understand. Also even if you do not have your own attorney, if you request to speak with an attorney the officer will make an attempt to call an on duty, court appointed lawyer for you to speak with over the phone. Speaking with this attorney is free and you will not be charged any fee for speaking with them. You should always and immediately request to speak with an attorney if you are arrested.

In certain cases the police may request to search your vehicle. Many police searches require search warrants. But if you consent  or allow the police to search you or your property, they do not need a warrant and any evidence that they find may be used against to you in court. You have a have right to refuse to consent to a search. When you refuse a search, you should make your refusal clear. However, do not interfere physically if police continue to search without your permission. If police search without a valid warrant or your consent, then the court may later find that the evidence was obtained in an illegal search and not allow the evidence to be used against you.

It is important to remember to stay calm when stopped by a police officer. When pulled over, prepare to hand the police officer: 1) your driver’s license; 2) your registration card; and 3) your insurance card. If you do not have a license or your license is suspended, then you may be charged with driving with an invalid or suspended license. So if you are an unlicensed driver, do not drive in the first place. If your license is suspended and you are the registered owner of the vehicle, then you are especially vulnerable: the officer can check your license plate number and pull you over if he finds that you’re department of Licensing records indicate your license is suspended. Again, it is important to not drive if you do not have a valid license.

Also, the Washington State laws regarding drinking and driving and consuming marijuana and driving are very strict. If the state can prove that you’re driving ability is merely affected by alcohol or drugs, then this may be enough to convict you of driving under the influence. Your safest option is to not drive after consuming any alcohol or marijuana.

If you have been stopped by the police and think you that you may be charged with a crime, then please call the Law Offices of Raymond W. Ejarque for a free consultation at 206-621-1554 and visit our website www.seattle_duidefense.com for more information.

Mr. Ejarque has over 20 years of experience fighting for your rights. He has the experience that you need for a strong defense.

This information provides no legal advice and is no way a substitute for speaking with an attorney. Se Habla Espanol.

 

How to Protect your Right to Drive after a DUI Arrest

I am a bilingual (Spanish/English) speaking DUI attorney in Washington.  One of the most difficult parts for many of my clients who are arrested for a DUI is dealing the driver license issues.    It is essential for many of my clients to continue to drive to maintain their jobs and support their families.  In this article I will explain a few simple steps to follow to protect your right to drive after being arrested for a DUI.

First even if you do not have a driver license this still applies to you.  Many of my clients never got a license but their privilege to obtain a license has not been suspended.  If you drive with either your driver’s license or your privilege to get a license suspended it can result in additional criminal charges and additional suspensions and even jail time.  A lot of clients who got stopped driving without a license (before they got a DUI) only had to deal with an infraction and a fine.  That is not the case after a DUI arrest.

For those stopped for a DUI and then arrested it is important to speak with a DUI attorney right away about how to protect their license.  Not only will there be a criminal charge in court, there also will be separate administration action to suspend the drivers’ license or privilege to drive.   There will be an administrative suspension regardless if there is a breath or blood test or a refusal of a breath test in most cases.   The only exception are for those over 21 years of age (who do not have a commercial driver’s license)  who have a test result under the legal limit.  But even in that case check with a DUI lawyer to make sure this is the case.

The only way to challenge this administrative suspension is to request a hearing with the Department of Licensing (DOL) within the required period of time.   For breath test clients must request a DOL hearing in writing in the correct form and send in the correct hearing fee within the deadline.  Call a DUI attorney or check the Department of Licensing website to find out the current deadline and requirements.  If a hearing request is made within the specified time frame, a hearing will be provided where a DUI attorney can argue that suspension should not occur.

For those who driver’s license is suspended (or whose privilege to get a driver’s license is  suspended) most will be able to apply for a ignition interlock license which will allow them to drive during the suspension period.   This applies to people who actually never even had a license before the DUI arrest. Also people who are undocumented can apply for ignition interlock license.

The most important thing in summary is to make sure you speak with a lawyer and take action to protect your right to drive after a DUI arrest.  If you ignore it and keep on driving you are sure to be stopped and arrested for driving with a suspended license which will increase your chances of going to jail and having problems with immigration.  I have many clients who never receive any notice from the court or DOL after a DUI arrest.  They hope that it all just went away and then years later get stopped and arrested for driving with a suspended license and a warrant from the court for a DUI charge.  All this can be prevented by speaking with a DUI lawyer now to understand your rights.  I provide free consultations in Spanish and in English and can be reached directly at 206-621-1554.  Thank You.  Raymond Ejarque. Attorney at Law

This information provides no legal advice and is no way a substitute for speaking with an attorney. Attorney Raymond Ejarque has over 20 years of experience fighting for your rights. The Law Offices of Raymond W. Ejarque offers free and private consultations. Please call at 206-621-1554 or visit our website at www.seattle_duidefense.com.com for more information.

Types of DUI: Parked Car DUI

There are a different types of DUI charges.
Such as: BUI (Boating under the Influence), 1st, 2nd and 3rd DUI, Felony DUI, Federal DUI, Misdemeanor DUI, Military DUI, Aggravated DUI, Underage DUI, Out of State DUI, and Parked Car DWI/DUI. This blog will talk about Parked Car DUI. Most people don’t know you can be charged with this, especially when you are not driving.
Police officers can always ask questions, certainly if they have reason to believe that if any criminal activity is going on. Keep in mind that being in the driver’s seat of a vehicle with the keys in the ignition, even if parked, would be sufficient for a DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) charge if the person is intoxicated. While it’s commonly referred to as “Driving While Intoxicated” the law says that nobody should “operate” a motor vehicle while intoxicated. “Operate” is given a broader definition than “driving. ” A person could potentially be charged with a DWI.
The most common way you can get charged for a DUI is by driving a car while intoxicated. But what if you’ve had too much to drink, and after getting in your car, you decide to take a nap or just stay in your car instead. Can you get charged with DUI/DWI, even if the car wasn’t in motion, or even turned on?
While all states have statutes that prohibit the operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated, state laws vary widely when it comes to parked cars. It is important to understand the methods that a court may use to determine whether or not to charge someone with DWI/DUI.
Driving-in-fact. This argument pertains to whether or not someone was “operating” the vehicle at the time of his or her arrest. A court will consider whether the car was turned on, the parking brake was off, the car was in gear, and other similar factors.
Attempted DUI. This means that a person was attempting to drive intoxicated, even if the car was not currently in motion when the police officer arrived.
Circumstantial Evidence of DUI. The court can also consider whether or not there are particular signs of a car being driven prior to police finding an intoxicated driver in a parked car. A warm engine, tires, or a defendant’s admission that he or she drove drunk can all be used to convict of DUI.
If you do find yourself in a situation where you think it’s better to sleep off a few beers rather than drive, it’s helpful to remember a few tips:
First, make sure you turn off the car and take the keys out of the ignition. Don’t turn it back on.
Don’t park on the side of a busy road. Find a parking lot or a side road where parking is permissible.
Get out of the driver’s seat to take a nap. The back seat is preferable, but even the passenger seat is better than falling asleep while in the driver’s seat.
If questioned by police, do not admit to any intent to drive in the near future.
It is always best to find a sober driver or call a cab after a night of drinking. However, if you do decide to stay in your car be sure the keys are not anywhere near the ignition, and that it is clear that you have chosen not to drive that night.

This information provides no legal advice and is no way a substitute for speaking with an attorney. Attorney Raymond Ejarque has over 20 years of experience fighting for your rights. The Law Offices of Raymond W. Ejarque offers free and private consultations. Please call at 206-621-1554 or visit our website at www.seattle_duidefense.com.com for more information.

AN UNRESOLVED CRIMINAL CASE ON YOUR RECORD CAN CAUSE BIG PROBLEMS

AN UNRESOLVED CRIMINAL CASE ON YOUR RECORD CAN CAUSE BIG PROBLEMS

As a Spanish speaking criminal and DUI defense attorney in the Seattle area, I speak with a lot of clients who have old warrants for their arrest that sometimes have been outstanding for many years.  These can be a major problem for my clients.  Many times my clients are not even aware they have a warrant from a previous criminal case or arrest until we run a record check from my office.  Often times,
I get calls from people who are applying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or other immigration status changes, who learned they have a warrant for their arrest that needs to be cleared up.   These old warrants should be cleared up if you are applying for a change in immigration status.

An arrest warrant can be issued by a Judge on a criminal case where a person charged with a crime or on probation, does not appear at a court hearing.  It can also be issued based on an arrest warrant ordered by a Judge.   Often, my clients have no idea there was a court hearing they were supposed to appear for because they never received the notice in the mail.  At times, the court sends the notice of the court date to a different or an incorrect address.   Other times, people are placed on probation and they are required to complete certain tasks such as getting an alcohol evaluation and following through with recommendations.   If the court does not receive proof that these things are completed they will schedule a hearing and if the person does not appear a warrant will be issued for their arrest.  I have seen many occasions where someone is arrested and released that same night then months later, a notice is sent out for a court hearing and the person never receives the notice because they have moved or have been deported.  In fact, if the police arrest someone, place them in jail and they are deported before a court hearing on the criminal charge, the Judge normally will still issue a warrant for their arrest even if they know that they have been deported.   The idea is that if they reenter the country they will be arrested when they have any contact with the police.  Many times people are pulled over for speeding and arrested on an old warrant they never knew existed.  Frequently, they do not even know they were charged with a crime. And if they go to jail on this warrant they risk having contact with ICE again and being deported again. I see this sometimes as an endless cycle and it can have a devastating impact on the Latino community and their families.  Finally, sometimes the warrant does not show up on an initial check because very regularly the courts incorrectly write Latino names (for example they place the first and last names in the wrong order).  This can be a problem because the warrant will generally show up later during an immigration hearing.

If you would like to check your record to ensure there are not old warrants please call me at my office at 206-621-1554.  I can go over your records and check for any old warrants.  If there is a warrant often it can be quashed very easily and taken care of.  Many of these cases could have been closed years ago without a warrant being issued based on a simple resolution.  The main thing is to take action to resolve it.  Many people know there may be a warrant but are afraid to come forward to deal with it out of fear they will go to jail and be deported.   Although these fears are very real, it is typically best to move forward proactively to quash the warrant.  Once the police arrest someone on a warrant they will certainly be placed in jail for some time until they see a Judge or get a bond and this can be a problem.

This information provides no legal advice and is no way a substitute for speaking with an attorney. Attorney Raymond Ejarque has over 20 years of experience fighting for your rights. The Law Offices of Raymond W. Ejarque offers free and private consultations. Please call at 206-621-1554 or visit our website at www.seattle_duidefense.com.com for more information.

DUI in Washington State

Washington’s DUI laws are among the toughest in the nation.  For those convicted of a DUI in Washington there are mandatory penalties which include jail time, license suspensions, fines and a ignition interlock devise requirement.  Even for a first offense it is important to obtain an experienced DUI attorney. An attorney can fight to avoid jail time by possibly getting your charges reduced to a lesser charge such as reckless or negligent driving.  An attorney also can help to assure that you are treated fairly in court and obtain the best possible outcome in your case.  For those who are undocumented or non-citizens it is even more important to obtain an attorney who can work towards an outcome that will help avoid additional problems with immigration issues.

If you are arrested for a DUI contact a DUI attorney immediately.  Do not wait until you receive notice of a court date or a letter from the Department of Licensing.  In order to avoid a license suspension you will need to request a hearing with the Department of Licensing before the deadline.  Also often times people are unaware they have a court date and miss the court date. If you miss the court date the court will issue an order for your arrest.  The risk of being placed in jail increases significantly with an arrest warrant.  Anyone non-citizen placed in jail also risk having contact with immigration officials which could lead to being placed in immigration detention.  For many people placed in jail if is very important to get out as soon as possible to avoid contact with immigration officials. Contact a DUI lawyer as soon as possible to help you or your family members get out of jail and fight the DUI charge.

This information provides no legal advice and is no way a substitute for speaking with an attorney. Attorney Raymond Ejarque has over 20 years of experience fighting for your rights. The law offices for Raymond W. Ejarque offers free and private consultations. Please call at 206-621-1554 or visit our website at www.seattle_duidefense.com.com for more information. Se Habla Espanol.

What Is An Ignition Interlock Device (IID)?

An ignition interlock device is a system installed in an individual’s car after they are convicted of DUI. The device requires the individual to blow into the system before allowing the car to start and is available for those who have been convicted of DUI, but still need to use a car to get to work or school. A car with an Ignition Interlock Device will not start unless the individual’s BAC is under .025.

There are a number of instances when you must have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle before you r license may be reinstated. These instances include: after a conviction for an alcohol or drug related DUI, after some convictions for reckless driving, and after some convictions for negligent driving. In most circumstances the court will require the individual to have an IID for at least a year and may require all the way up to 10 years for multiple DUI convictions. Lastly, an IID will not be removed from your vehicle unless the court receives notice from the interlock company that you haven’t tried to start the vehicle with a BAC of .04 or more, or failed to take/ pass any required test, or failed to get scheduled maintenance on the device.

Ignition interlock devices cannot be contested and if you attempt to remove the device before the requirement period is over, your driving privileges will be suspended. Generally, all expenses related to the IID will be your responsibility and you must be able to show proof of financial responsibility such as SR-22, high risk car insurance.

To speak with an attorney about your case, please contact Law Office of Raymond W. Ejarque for free and private consultation 206-621-1554 or visit our website at www.seattle_duidefense.com.com for more information.

The information in this blog provides no legal advice and is no way a substitute for speaking with an attorney

I Know I Can Refuse The Portable Breath Test (PBT) But Can I Also Refuse The Official Breath Test At The Police Station?

While it may be in your best interest to refuse the portable breath test (PBT), it is rarely a good idea to refuse the evidentiary breath test administered at the police station after your arrest. If you refuse the test at the station then your license will most likely be suspended for at least a year, maybe longer.

You might be thinking this is worth it as long as they don’t have evidence of your BAC number however, even if you decide not to submit to the BAC test the prosecutor can still use your refusal as evidence of a guilty conscience. That’s right, the state will seek to convince the jury that the reason you did not submit to the test was because you knew you would blow over the legal limit. Of course, in situations where you are facing a DUI you need expert legal counsel to determine what plan of action is best for you; attorney Raymond Ejarque has over twenty years of practical experience defending DUI cases and other criminal defense matters.

To speak with an attorney about your case, please contact Law Office of Raymond W. Ejarque for free and private consultation 206-621-1554 or visit our website at www.seattle_duidefense.com.com for more information.

The information in this blog provides no legal advice and is no way a substitute for speaking with an attorney.

 

A Drunk Minor And A Wrecked Car.

A mother lends car to her daughter (minor) to drive. The daughter let her friend another (minor) friend to drive the car. The friend was drunk and wrecked the car. Who is responsible for paying?

The facts are unclear to determine who is responsible for the collision. It could be all of them or just one, two or three people.

Just because someone was intoxicated does not equate to liability. A person can be intoxicated, and not be at fault for a collision. If there were facts suggesting daughter’s friend was in fact at fault for the collision, she would be responsible for any damage she caused. Because she was driving with permission the liability insurance (assuming you have liability insurance) would likely cover damages she caused up to the policy’s liability limit.

It sounds the daughter may have negligently entrusted the car to her friend. The daughter may be responsible under a “negligent entrustment” theory. Assuming the minor daughter lives with mother, the liability insurance would likely cover damages.

Under certain facts, the mother may have negligently entrusted her car to her daughter. Not suggesting this is the case, but it is a possible avenue to being liable. The liability insurance would likely cover damages caused up to the policy’s liability limit. Assuming you have liability insurance, you should turn this matter over to your insurance company and explain the situation. They should protect your interest and ultimately go after the responsible parties.

 

Attorney Raymond Ejarque has over 20 years of experience fighting for your rights. The law offices of Raymond W. Ejarque offers free and private consultations. Please call at 206-621-1554 to schedule your free case review.

The information in this blog provides no legal advice and is no way a substitute for speaking with an attorney.

Is it True I Can be Arrested for DUI Even if I Blow a BAC Under .08?

YES, whether or not you can be arrested for DUI is not only determined by your BAC, but also by the arresting officer’s opinion and observations in in the field. In recent Washington case law, drivers have been cited for DUI with BAC’s as low as .05. This means that even a causal dinner, with a drink or two, can leave you in an impaired state.

Of course, with such strict DUI laws on the books it is preferable not to drink and drive at all but, if you find yourself pulled over on suspicion of DUI then your actions may determine whether or not the officer’s observation lead to your arrest. Once you’ve been pulled over the officer will look for slurred speech, fumbling for your license, and a number of other indicators. If you are out for dinner and drinks and make the decision to drive then having these documents within easy reach is one way of avoiding negative observations from the officer.

Always maintain a respectful demeanor towards the officer and politely decline any field sobriety tests (FST’s) and the portable breath test (PBT). These tests are voluntary and if you decide to participate in them the results often can hurt you more than help. If arrested for DUI with a BAC under .08 you should contact an attorney with experience defending cases both under the legal limit and over it.

The information in this blog provides no legal advice and is no way a substitute for speaking with an attorney. To speak with an attorney about your case, please contact Law Office of Raymond W. Ejarque for free and private consultation 206-621-1554 or visit our website at www.seattle_duidefense.com.com for more information.

The information in this blog provides no legal advice and is no way a substitute for speaking with an attorney.

Washington DUI License Suspension Laws Among Toughest in Nation

Washington’s DUI laws are among the toughest in the nation, that’s why even if you have a completely clean criminal history, but blow a BAC over the legal limit, the DOL will notify you that it intends to suspend your driver’s license. This also holds true even if you refuse any voluntary field sobriety tests, the DOL will look to suspend your license for at least 90 days and possibly up to a year. Suspension can be avoided however, if you file a timely hearing request within 20 days of the incident. One out of four adults will be arrested for DUI sometime in their life; how you respond to the arrest may mean the difference between a suspended license and maintaining your license.

After getting arrested for DUI, life must go on and your obligations at work and with your family simply don’t cease to exist, that is why after being arrested for DUI you should contact a reputable and experienced attorney who will not only assist you in how to mitigate possible license suspension but also look at your unique situation and tailor an individualized plan of action.

Attorney Raymond Ejarque has over 20 years of experience fighting for your rights. The law offices for Raymond W. Ejarque offers free and private consultations. Please call at 206-621-1554 or visit our website at www.seattle_duidefense.com.com for more information.

The information in this blog provides no legal advice and is no way a substitute for speaking with an attorney.