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I don’t think I am getting enough child support – what can I do?

If you are concerned that you are not receiving the appropriate amount of child support, we encourage you to:

  • Understand the basics about child support modification law
  • Assess whether anything has changed since the original order. This may include            your child’s needs or the financial status of one or both parents
  • Consult with an experienced family law attorney

 

Child Support Modifications

In Washington State, the law allows parents to petition for a child support modification to accommodate changes in circumstances. The primary Washington State child support modification statute is RCW 26.09.170.

A Washington State child support modification is the legal process by which an Order of Support is adjusted to reflect the current finances of both parents. It is very common that child support orders should require adjustments in order to keep up with the growing needs of the children and to accurately account for the changing circumstances of the parents.

Either parent may petition for a modification as long as the requirements of RCW 26.09.170 are met.

Child support orders that have been in place for less than a year may not be modified unless there is proof of a substantial change in circumstances that can be provided by the petitioner.

Examples of factors that may serve as the basis for a petition to modify a child support obligation include:

  • The age of the child(ren)
  • Changes in income of one or both parents
  • A child wishing to attend college after high school
  • Changes in residential schedule
  • Work-related daycare costs
  • Medical insurance costs
  • Extraordinary medical expenses
  • The number of children in the household

The statute provides for a review and potential adjustment of child support every two years. If 24 months have passed from the date of the entry of the child support order or since the last modification (whichever is latest), the order may be adjusted without a showing of substantially changed circumstances. The adjustment is based upon:

  • Changes in the income of the parents; or
  • Changes in the economic table or standards listed in RCW 26.19

 

Legal Representation

Our Family Law Attorneys are skilled and experienced in representing parents who are petitioning for child support modifications. We recognize that these cases can be complex and emotional for everyone involved and we urge you to call us to consult about your unique case. We will advise you about whether or not you have the substantial change of circumstances required to seek a child support modification. We will help obtain the outcome that is in the best interest of you and your children. Contact us today for a Free Consultation .

April is Alcohol Awareness Month: Know the consequences of excessive drinking

April is Alcohol Awareness Month, and a good opportunity for reminders about the legal, health, and social problems that excessive drinking can contribute to. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) has been sponsoring Alcohol Awareness Month since 1987 and seeks to boost public awareness about the significant impact that alcohol-related problems has on individuals, their friends and families, and on the community.

Alcohol and Crime:

*Drinking and driving perhaps receives the greatest amount of public attention. Drinking and driving is connected to a devastating estimate of 16,000 fatalities each year and thousands more injuries. (NCADD)

*In addition to the severe risk of potentially causing fatalities or injuries while driving under the influence, there are potentially life-changing consequences involved in receiving a DUI conviction. Please see our weblink for information about the fines and penalties for a DUI conviction in Washington State. It is important to be aware of the penalties, and it is also essential to be prepared. If you do find yourself in a situation where you are driving under the influence and being pulled over, you should know how to handle it. See our weblink for tips on how to stay safe if alcohol is involved in your plans and what to do if you are pulled over for a DUI in Washington State.

  • If you are being accused of driving under the influence, contact our DUI Law Firm immediately for a Free Legal Consultation. We are available by phone 24/7.

*The NCADD reports a significant relationship between alcohol and multiple different types of crimes. The NCADD reports that based on victim reports, alcohol use by the offender is a factor in:

  • 37% of rapes and sexual assaults
  • 15% of robberies
  • 27% of aggravated assaults, and
  • 25% of simple assaults

*Statistics show a significant correlation between alcohol and crime. See the NCADD Fact Sheet  for detailed information about this connection.

Additional Consequences of Excessive Drinking:

*Alcohol-related problems are among the most significant public health issues in the U.S., and internationally. According to the NCADD,  more than 18 million individuals in the U.S. suffer from alcohol-use disorders.

*The devastating impacts of alcoholism extend to friends and family members of individuals abusing alcohol. NCADD estimates 25% of U.S. children have been exposed to alcohol-use disorders in their family. In addition, 75% of domestic abuse is committed while one or both members are intoxicated.

*Underage drinking remains a pervasive problem, putting teens at greater risk of becoming addicted to alcohol or getting involved with destructive behaviors related to alcohol (drunk driving, sexual assault, further drug use).

*Heavy alcohol use can pose serious health risks including but not limited to: heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, liver disease, digestive problems, cancer (breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, colon), learning and memory problems, and mental health problems (Center for Disease Control & Prevention).

Evaluating Drinking Patterns:

*The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) provides detailed information to define drinking levels, identify problematic drinking, and understand recommended drinking limits.

Treatment:

*There are a range of evidenced-based treatment options available for people with alcohol-related disorders. If you or someone you care about are experiencing issues related to alcohol use, we encourage you to seek treatment or encourage your loved one to do so. Treatment could save your life, your health, your job, your relationships, and/or your criminal record.

*Dellino Law Group is proud to recommend Northstar Treatment Group in Renton, WA for chemical dependency/alcohol and drug evaluations, victims impact panels (VIP), alcohol and drug information school (ADIS), and all courses of treatment.

*We also highly recommend CTC Counseling Services in Seattle, WA. CTC (Courage to Change) provides alcohol/drug evaluations, DUI assessments, and outpatient services tailored to meet your needs.

We recommend both of these programs because of their experience, integrity, compassion, local ownership, and scheduling flexibility.

*You may also visit the SAMHSA Substance Abuse Treatment locator to locate an alcoholism treatment specialist in your area.

*If you have questions about treatment or would like assistance in scheduling an appointment with Northstar or CTC, please contact us .

Legal Representation:

*If you are being charged with an alcohol-related crime, DUI or otherwise, you will need high-caliber legal representation. Our law firm prides itself on providing personalized legal services to all of our clients. We will examine your case thoroughly and leave no stone unturned in order to help you reach the best possible outcome in your case. Please contact us for a Free Consultation as soon as possible.

7 things to do BEFORE you file for divorce or move out

Dissolving a union that was intended to last forever is logistically challenging and emotionally painful. Following these tips will help you be better prepared and ultimately achieve a more optimal outcome in your divorce or separation.

7 things to do BEFORE you file for divorce or move out:

1. Access your emotional support

Consider couples counseling if it feels appropriate, and most importantly seek individual counseling for yourself. It is essential to gather emotional support during this challenging time. Whether it is a close friend, a family member, and/or a professional, access your support system, gather your thoughts and emotions, and prioritize caring for yourself.

2. Consider your legal options

Divorce is complicated even when it is not complicated. The process of ending a relationship can be complex and generally quite emotionally charged, and you should not try to tackle it alone. Contact an experienced family law attorney to represent and advise you appropriately.

3. Gather financial documents

Learn all there is to know about your family’s finances. Gather copies of bank statements, tax returns, credit card statements, and other financial account records. Be aware of all of your family’s assets and debts and obtain all of the relevant documents prior to filing for divorce and/or moving out. This could save you potential struggles with your soon-to-be ex-spouse.

4. Establish financial independence

It is recommended you place some cash in a separate account if at all possible. Do this prior to filing for divorce or moving out as a means of self-protection and preparedness. If it is not possible to open a personal account, consider opening a low-interest credit card

5. Consider your children

Prepare yourself ahead of time for how to approach things with your children. Be mindful of how a significant family change may affect them. Prepare yourself to keep the peace as much as possible, for your children’s benefit. Resist involving them in the turmoil and prioritize their best interests. Be prepared to talk to your children about what is happening. Listen to them and ensure they have adequate, appropriate support with other family members, at school, and/or with a counselor.

6. Determine custody goals

Think carefully and realistically about what custody arrangement would be in the best interest of your children. Consider all of the variables, schedules, logistics, etc. Determine the custody goals you wish to pursue.

7. Make decisions about your living situation

There are a lot of factors to consider when determining where you will live, both during and post-divorce. Clarify your goals around living arrangements prior to initiating the divorce/separation process. Do you want your spouse to move out? Will you be moving out? If there is a family-owned home, will you want to sell it or have one of you keep it? Before you make any decisions to move out of your home, list your home for sale, or act on your decisions, discuss how to best achieve your goals with an experienced family law attorney.

I was arrested for shoplifting – Now what?

Think before you consider shoplifting! Even small items can add up to big problems. Merchants of all kinds throughout Washington State put significant funding into loss prevention and do not hesitate to encourage prosecution of even the smallest offenses.

If you have been charged with a theft offense, we recommend the following key steps:

  1. Understand the charges
  2. Understand the penalties
  3. Involve experienced legal counsel

Understand the charges:

It is essential to understand the law and the consequences. What may seem like a minor offense could have a very detrimental outcome.

Theft in Washington State is separated into three different categories. The degree is determined by the value of stolen item.

Third-degree theft (RCW §9A.56.050) may be charged if the property or services stolen:

  • Do not exceed $750 in value, or
  • Include 10 or more merchandise pallets, or 10 or more beverage crates, or a combination of 10 or more merchandise pallets and crates

Second-degree theft (RCW §9A.56.040) may be charged if the property or services stolen:

  • Exceeds $750 in value but does not exceed $5,000 in value (other than a firearm or motor vehicle)
  • Includes a public record, writing, or instrument kept, filed, or deposited according to law with or in the keeping of any public office or public servant
  • Includes commercial metal property, nonferrous metal property, or private metal property, and the costs of the damage to the property fall between $750-$5,000 in value
  • Includes an access device

First-degree theft (RCW §9A.56.030) may be charged if the property or services stolen:

  • Exceeds$5,000 in value (other than a firearm)
  • Includes property of any value (other than a firearm or motor vehicle) taken from another person
  • Includes a search and rescue dog while the dog is on duty
  • Includes commercial metal property, nonferrous metal property, or private metal property, and the costs of the damage to the property exceed $5,000 in value.

Understand the penalties:

Theft in the third degree

  • considered a gross misdemeanor
  • punishable by up to one year in jail, a maximum fine of $5,000, or both

Theft in the second degree

  • considered a class C felony
  • punishable by up to five years in prison, a maximum fine of $10,000, or both

Theft in the first degree

  • considered a class B felony
  • punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a maximum fine of $20,000, or both

Involve experienced legal counsel:

If you or someone you care about has been charged with a criminal offense involving theft or shoplifting, contact a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.  The earlier you act the more options you may have!

Our criminal defense attorneys are skilled and available to help protect your criminal record and to reach the best possible outcome. Before you pay any penalties or admit to any fault, it is essential that you consult a knowledgeable attorney. Please contact us today for a Free Consultation.

 

How to stay safe and DUI-free on St. Paddy’s Day

St Patrick’s Day frequently involve leprechauns, shamrocks, good luck, and wearing shades of green. With this holiday come fun, festive celebrations, which unfortunately bring some of the highest rates of drunk driving.

Many St. Paddy’s Day festivities will occur today and throughout the weekend. During this period, extra law enforcement will be out in force nationwide and they will be looking to crack down on impaired drivers.

Remember that a DUI is more than just a party foul. You could be looking at driver’s license suspension, large fines, jail time, the long term impacts of a criminal record, and much worse. You do not want your celebration to be overshadowed by tragedy. Driving under the influence of alcohol puts at risk your own life and the lives of others.

Before you set out to celebrate, please review our party planning tips to help you stay safe.

*Party Planning Tips:

  • Designate a sober driver. If you are the designated driver, don’t drink.
  • Plan ahead: Save the number of a taxi or rideshare company in your phone so you will always have a backup plan.
  • Consider using smartphone apps like Lyft or Uber.
  • Consider a limo or party bus if you are going out with a large group of drinkers.
  • If you have been drinking, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, use a rideshare company, or use public transportation to get home safely.
  • If you know others who are about to drive under the influence, help them make other arrangements to get home safely.

It is also essential to be prepared. If you do find yourself in a situation where you are driving under the influence and being pulled over, you should know how to handle it.

*Tips for what to do if you are stopped for suspicion of DUI:

  • Be polite to the officer.
  • Don’t answer any questions. Politely tell the officer you don’t wish to make any statements and you want to speak to an attorney. Admission can be used against you later in court, but your silence or request for counsel cannot.
  • Don’t complete field tests.These tests are voluntary and you should tell the officer you decline any voluntary tests. The officer is looking for evidence against you and it is never a good idea to give it to them.
  • Contact our DUI Law Firm immediately for a FREE LEGAL CONSULTATION. We are available by phone 24/7. Keep our number in your phone or wallet and insist on calling us. We will advocate for you through this confusing and emotional process and help you reach the best possible outcome.

I’m moving in with my partner. What should I know? What precautions should I take?

WA recognizes Committed Intimate Relationships & Not Common-Law Marriage

It is a common assumption that after living with an intimate partner for a long-time, you automatically end up in “common-law marriage”. You get all the economic and legal benefits of a marriage without the formal certificate and expensive party. Sounds great, right?

Wrong. It’s not so simple. Only a handful of states recognize common-law marriages, and Washington State is not one of them.

While there is no common-law marriage in Washington State, unmarried couples living together for a significant period of time may become recognized as “committed intimate relationships”.  These relationships were formerly known as “meretricious relationships and are often inaccurately referred to as common-law marriages.

Committed intimate relationships, including both opposite-sex and same-sex couples, have property rights similar to those had by married couples in Washington State. It is essential for you to know and understand the implications of living with an intimate partner in the state of Washington so you can be well informed and plan accordingly.

How does the court determine a committed intimate relationship?

There is not a specific set of criteria or a distinct formula used to determine if a relationship constitutes a committed intimate relationship. The courts use a number of different factors when making this determination. Some of these factors (among others) may include:

  • How long was the relationship?
  • Was cohabitation continuous?
  • What was the purpose of the relationship and the intentions of the parties involved?
  • Did you hold yourself out as a couple?
  • Was this an exclusive relationship?
  • Were you registered domestic partners?
  • Did you pool resources / Did you buy property together?
  • Were you on each other’s bank accounts or credit cards?
  • Were you names in each other’s wills?

Each case is evaluated individually, but generally a couple needs to have lived together for a minimum of 2-3 years and presented/held themselves out to be in a committed intimate relationship.

Rights in committed intimate relationships:

When an unmarried, cohabitating couple separates, if their relationship constitutes a committed intimate relationship as determined by the courts, their rights and responsibilities are similar to those of married couples. If a couple cannot negotiate and come to an agreement on their own, the court may need to get involved in making determinations.

The most common issues that arise include:

  • Determining division of debts and liabilities
  • Determining property ownership rights and division of assets
  • Determining child custody and child support

Generally, property acquired during the committed intimate relationship is presumed to be owned jointly by both parties. This will be divided in a way that is fair and equitable as determined by the court. The separate property of the parties is not subject to division.

Some of the significant differences between rights in a committed intimate relationships vs. a marriage:

  • Couples do not receive the same tax benefits as married couples
  • There is no spousal support and no duty of maintenance when a couple separates. The court will get involved with the division of assets and liabilities only. The only exception to this is if a couple has a valid written contract in place that provides for support or maintenance.
  • Attorney fees cannot be awarded in these cases. Each individual will have to pay their own fees. Awarding attorney fees is limited to married couples RCW 26.09.140

What can I do to protect myself?

If you are considering moving in with an intimate partner or currently live with a partner, and were unaware of the Washington law on committed intimate relationships you may be wondering what you can or should do with this information.

 *Enter into a cohabitation agreement:

  • This allows you to make sure that you and your partner dictate the terms of what will happen if your relationship and cohabitation are to end, rather than leaving it in the hands of a court.
  • You may do this either at the onset of moving in or even after you already have.
  • You can set forth how property will be divided and protect yourself from allowing a partner to gain a share of your property in the event of a break-up.
  • Cohabitation agreements protect both parties and serve as insurance in the event that are questions or disagreements at the end of a relationship, when emotions often run high.

Legal Representation

Whether you are entering into, are in the midst of, or are facing the end of a committed intimate relationship, we are here to help. Our experienced family law attorneys will help you navigate this complicated and emotional process objectively. We have the expertise, knowledge, and compassion to assist you effectively and collaboratively as you enter the next phase of your life. Please contact us for a Free Consultation.

Surviving Valentine’s Day after Divorce or Separation

Valentine’s Day decorations have been rampant for over a month now. Reminders are everywhere of this holiday for celebrating love and romance. Sounds great, right? NOT for everyone…

If you are recently divorced or somewhere in the process of divorce or separation, this can be a particularly painful time of year. You might experience feelings of failure, increased stress, loneliness, or sadness anticipating this day that is all about love and happiness. You might be dreading Valentine’s Day!

We want to acknowledge that this may be a challenging time for some of our clients and many others out there. It is widely known that more than 50% of marriages in the United States end in divorce. While this is an unfortunate truth, at least there can be some comfort in knowing you are not alone.

If you are recently divorced or separated and feeling the sting of Valentine’s Day, please consider some of our strategies for making the most of it this year. Who knows? Maybe you can find some happiness and fulfillment afterall:

  1. *Treat yourself. Buy yourself a gift. Whether it is your favorite dessert, a new outfit, or something more extravagant, buy yourself something that brings you joy. Treat yourself to a feel-good day. Hit the spa, your favorite restaurant, go see a great movie, or stay in and watch a marathon of your favorite show. Love yourself and treat yourself the way you deserve to be treated. This is an important time to engage in self-care.
  2. *Give! Rather than focusing on not receiving gifts, choose to be a giver this year. Plan to give small, meaningful gifts to people that you care about. Show them your love! You may also consider giving your time through volunteer work. Giving is good for the soul.
  3. *Spend time with a friend. Plan to have lunch or a night out with a friend or a group of friends. Chances are you are not the only single person in your life. Get together with someone you enjoy and appreciate some good conversation.
  4. *Focus on the kids. If you have children, put your energy into making it a special day for them and showing them your love. Do something fun together and put focus on how Valentine’s Day is a day to show love to family. Focus on the other kinds of love in your life rather than on lost romantic love.
  5. *Be active. Use physical activity to release stress and tension. Go for a hike or a run. Find a yoga class. Ride your bike. Go dancing. Find something you can do alone or get a friend on board. Either way, doing something physical is a great way to release energy and endorphins on Valentine’s Day.
  6. *Laugh!  Whether with friends, with your children, or on your own, find humor and allow yourself laughter. Laughter is healing and reduces stress. Make this a priority.
  7. *Remember that you WILL survive. You made it through the December holidays and New Year’s and you will get through this too. Valentine’s Day is over-hyped anyway!

There is plenty of love to go around. Focus on showing love to your friends, your family, and most importantly to yourself!

Divorce: Will my spouse take my 401k?

401k-image_2

Short answer: It depends!

Working out the financial details is often one of the most contentious aspects of a divorce. Even in an amicable divorce, division of assets and debt can be extremely stressful. When there is conflict and debate, stress and emotion can rise to very uncomfortable levels.

It is essential that you work with a skilled family law attorney who will help you navigate this process, negotiate on your behalf and protect your best interests.

Washington is a community property state, as defined in RCW 26.16. Any money you earn and any property you acquire during your marriage is considered community property and subject to division. This means it belongs to both of you regardless of the name on the account if it was acquired during the marriage and is subject to division along just and equitable lines. Keep in mind that property may include real estate, vehicles, investments, business interests, financial holdings, pensions, and more. Similarly, all debts accrued during the course of your marriage are also considered to be community and subject to division. There may be exceptions as to what is considered community versus separate property, and it is important to have a solid understanding of how your property will be characterized. Your family law attorney can advise you around these complex distinctions.

“What about my 401k?”

What the law deems separate property is fairly limited. As described in RCW 26.16.010, separate property includes property owned by a spouse before the marriage and that acquired afterward by gift, bequest, devise, descent, or inheritance.

Unless otherwise designated in as separate in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, that pretty much covers it. Regardless of “ownership”, anything else you or your spouse have acquired during marriage is generally considered to be community property.

This means the 401k is fair game to become part of the divorce settlement and divided, per Washington State, along “just and equitable” lines. It is recommended that you work with a family law attorney who will help to prepare and inform you of your legal rights and options in this process.

“How will it be divided?”

As with other aspects of your divorce, it is best for you and your ex to come to a property division agreement on your own, including the 401k. You may agree to split the 401k earnings equally or in a way that feels equitable to your unique situation. Alternately, you may agree that you will keep your 401k and your spouse will receive other marital earnings comparable in value.  If both spouses have 401ks, you may agree to each keep your own. If there is a significant discrepancy in balance, you may opt to split them each in half.

There are any number of ways you and your spouse may decide to divide things. In the case where an agreement can be reached, parties may divide their property and debts any way they mutually choose.

However, if you and your ex-spouse cannot agree, you are essentially forcing the court to decide who gets to keep what. When the court is making the determination, they will consider the type and amount of each property, the length of the marriage, and each spouse’s current economic circumstance. The court will then issue an order of asset and debt division.

“Can I protect my 401k?”

You can protect yourself by understanding the law in Washington and getting quality representation to help guide you through a divorce strategically and efficiently.

You can also protect your 401k and other assets through a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

There is a fair amount of social stigma attached to prenuptial agreements, but we strongly advise to consider putting one in place prior to your marriage. If you did not, it is never too late to do a post-nuptial agreement if you both want to make sure that you and not a court will decide what happens to your accounts in the event of a divorce.

As much as a marriage is a public declaration of love and commitment, it is a financial partnership, endorsed by the government and involving certain rights and responsibilities. Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are becoming increasingly popular. This is not because people are assuming their marriage will end in divorce, but because they are choosing to be prepared for all outcomes and protecting themselves and their separate property.

In a pre- or postnuptial agreement, you can designate that your 401k will be considered your separate property in the event of a divorce.

If it is too late and your facing divorce without a prenup, be sure you are working with a knowledgeable and savvy family law attorney. Our attorneys will advocate for your best interests and help you to protect your assets wherever possible.

Distracted driving laws may toughen significantly – Put down the phone!

Lawmakers in Washington state are aiming to increase safety on the streets and decrease traffic fatalities in 2017.

The Seattle Times presented an article this week describing a bill in the works, tentatively named the “Driving Under the Influence of Electronics Act”. The bill seeks to expand upon existing law and prohibit almost all use of handheld devices by drivers.

Current law:

Distracted driving refers to activity that disrupts a driver’s focus. Cell phone activity distracts a driver’s attention and thus endangers the driver, their passengers, other drivers and passengers on the road, and pedestrian bystanders.

Washington’s current cell phone laws came into effect in 2008 and 2010. Formerly, drivers could only be ticketed for texting while driving if it was a secondary offense. However, under the new laws if police see you holding your phone or texting while driving, they can pull you over and issue a ticket for the offense.

Violations of cell phone and texting laws carry a $124 fine for a first-time offense. This could be significantly more if you are involved with causing a collision.

Cell Phone Law:

  • Washington State’s Cell Phone Law(RCW 46.61.667) states you may not use a wireless communications device or hand-held mobile telephone while driving. Drivers must use hands-free devices.
  • Drivers with Instruction Permits(RCW 46.20.055) or Intermediate Licenses (RCW 46.20.075) cannot use any wireless communication device while driving, even if it is hands-free, unless in an emergency situation.

Texting Law:

  • Washington State’s Text Messaging Law(RCW 46.61.668) prohibits sending, reading, or writing a text message while driving.

Exceptions:

  • If operating an authorized emergency vehicle or a tow truck responding to a disabled vehicle
  • Using a hands-free device including a speakerphone, blue tooth, or headset
  • Reporting illegal activity or calling for medical or emergency help
  • Using a hearing aid

The Seattle Times article reiterates that Washington’s laws are almost a decade old. Texting and holding a cellphone to the ear are banned. However, when these laws were created the popularity and wide usage of certain apps was not in existence. The article cites Twitter, Snapchat, and Facebook Live as examples of cell phone apps that may divert a driver’s attention for just a few seconds, which is all it takes to cause a fatal accident. It can be as dangerous as driving drunk.

The National Safety Council reports that traffic fatalities in the U.S. caused by distracted driving increased 9% from 2014 to 2015, and Washington state is no exception to the “deadly epidemic.”

Lawmakers are feeling optimistic about their chances of success in passing a bill to toughen distracted driving laws, despite past failed attempts. There is a lot of support and increased public awareness. Families of victims of distracted driving traffic fatalities will likely testify in support of the bill.

Some of the changes lawmakers hope to see include increasing the current $124 fine to $350 for using handheld devices, as well as having these citations reported to insurance companies and courts. They hope to see drivers deterred by stiffer penalties. They also seek to ban use of cell phone apps while driving. Hands-free communication would continue to be legal, but drivers would not be able to pick up their phones and scan their Facebook feed, look at Instagram, or post a tweet or status update. The specifics of the bill are still in discussion.

The news article also discusses habits of drivers, limitations of the distracted brain, and the challenge of changing human behavior.

We urge you to drive responsibly, focus on the road, and prioritize the safety of yourself and those around you. No social media update, text, or phone call are as important as your life.

Happy New Year! Take the necessary steps to ring in 2017 DUI-free

Happy New Year! It is time to put 2016 behind us and celebrate the start of a new year! We hope you enjoy your New Year’s festivities, and we urge you to take the steps necessary to ring in 2017 DUI-free.

Message from Uber and SDOT

Uber and Seattle’s Department of Transportation (SDOT) are also trying to deliver the message to party-goers. The West Seattle Herald describes how these organizations teamed up as concert co-hosts a couple of days ago to get the word out. The National Safety Spokeswoman for Uber came on stage at a pop-up concert in Occidental Park to tell the crowd about Uber’s New Year’s Eve discounts.  She described how uber has teamed up with law enforcement agencies in cities across the country and groups like MADD to really spread the message about planning ahead and using safer alternatives to driving under the influence. “We can be your designated driver”, she said.

Uber users can redeem a $10 discount on uberPOOL trips on New Year’s Eve by using the promo code SAFESTART2017 in the Uber app. This deal will apply to any rides between 2pm on Sat 12/31/16 and 5am on Sun 1/1/17.

Seattle’s Department of Transportation also had representation at the event, describing that this effort is part of Seattle’s larger project – the Vision Zero plan, which aims to end all traffic fatalities and serious injuries in Seattle by 2030.

It can happen to anyone:

You do not want to start out 2016 with a DUI charge. Remember that a DUI is more than just a party foul. You could be looking at driver’s license suspension, large fines, jail time, and the long term impacts of a criminal record. It can happen to anyone who drives under the influence.

Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Damontre Moore has reportedly been charged with DUI, stemming from an arrest a couple of weeks ago. He was pulled over by a Washington state trooper after he was observed to be speeding. His BAC test reportedly was just over the legal limit and he has been charged. Surely, this is not how he wanted to spend his holidays.

Plan ahead:

Party-goers are urged to plan ahead. Keep yourself and those around you safe. Seattle PD reports there will be enhanced DUI patrols throughout the weekend. With the ease and availability of Uber and other rideshare apps, and now with a $10 discount – there is really no reason to get behind the wheel if you have been drinking!

  • Choose to drive sober or designate someone else to. If you are the designated driver, don’t drink.
  • Use a smartphone app like Uber or Lyft. Utilize Uber’s NYE discount code: SAFESTART2017
  • Consider a limo or party bus if you are going out with a large group of drinkers.
  • If you have been drinking, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, use a rideshare company, or use public transportation to get home safely.
  • If you know others who are about to drive under the influence, help them make other arrangements to get home safely.

If you do find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being accused of DUI:

  • Don’t answer any questions. Politely tell the officer you don’t wish to make any statements and you want to speak to an attorney. Admission can be used against you later in court, but your silence or request for counsel cannot.
  • Don’t complete field tests.These tests are voluntary and you should tell the officer you decline any voluntary tests. The officer is looking for evidence against you and it is never a good idea to give it to them.
  • Contact our DUI Law Firm immediately for a FREE LEGAL CONSULTATION. We are available by phone 24/7. Keep our number in your phone or wallet and insist on calling us. We will advocate for you through this confusing and emotional process and help you reach the best possible outcome.

Contact Dellino Law Group

High caliber legal representation for DUI, Criminal Defense, Divorce, Family Law, Traffic Violations, Estate Planning, and Civil Litigation in Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue, Federal Way, Kent, Redmond, Bremerton, Poulsbo, Lynnwood, Everett, Marysville, Bothell, Kenmore, Lake Forest Park, Brier, Sammamish, Renton, Burien, Monroe, Issaquah, Lakewood, Puyallup, Port Orchard, and all of King County, Pierce County, Snohomish County, Kitsap County, and Thurston County.