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Reminder for your morning commute: New distracted-driving law in WA State is in effect (DUI-E)!

Washington State has a new anti-distraction law, effective NOW. Be sure you understand the law so you can avoid a citation.

The Seattle Times and Komo News provide useful, detailed accounts of what is banned and what is legal. Here are some of the bullets:

  • Driving under the Influence of Electronics (DUI-E) is a primary offense. A police officer can pull someone over based solely on seeing them using a handheld device, typing on their device, or watching a video.
  • This law became effective yesterday, 7/23/17. It is enforceable now.

What is banned?

  • The new law prohibits a person who is sitting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle from holding a personal electronic device in either or both hands
  • Texting or holding a phone to your ear was already against the law.
  • The new law forbids all handheld use. This means not just phone calls or texting, but composing or reading any kind of message, social media post, photograph, or data.
  • Drivers may not use handheld devices while at a stop sign or red-light signal either.
  • All video watching is illegal, even in dashboard dash-mounted device.
  • Miscellaneous distractions such as grooming or eating are a secondary offense, meaning a ticket may be issued if a law-enforcement officer pulls you over for some other traffic offense.

What is legal?

  • The new law allows for “the minimal use of a finger” to activate, deactivate, or initiate a function of a personal electronic device. Police will use their judgment on this. The intention for it to include a one-touch activation action only, where the driver does not need to look away from their windshield.
  • Common built-in electronics, such as hands-free phones and satellite music and maps, are legal.
  • Smartphones mounted in a dashboard cradle may be used for limited purposes, such as navigation, music, or a voice-activated call.
  • Emergency, handheld calls to 911 or other emergency services are legal, and so are urgent calls between transit employees and dispatchers.

What are the penalties?

  • The standard traffic fine of $136 would apply to a first offense, but would increase to $234 for a second offense within five years.
  • For a 6-month grace period, the WA State Patrol will reportedly be handing out literature about the new law. However, the grace period is controversial among police King County Sheriff’s Office intends to begin issuing citations immediately.
  • Don’t take any chances. Expect you will be ticketed and fined if you are stopped for this offense.
  • These citations will be reported in state driving records, unlike the previous law. Insurance companies will track them and violations may impact your insurance rates.

Why is this happening?

  • The Seattle Times reports that last year, 156 of the 537 WA State roadway deaths were related to distraction of various kinds, as were 572 of the 2,208 serious injuries.
  • This intention of the new law is to save lives.

Please reference the Seattle Times & Komo News articles for additional, more detailed information.

DRIVE SAFELY! Please contact our traffic attorneys at Dellino Law Group if you have any questions or if you have been issued a violation and wish to understand your options in contesting.

 

Another Prostitution Sting in Seattle Resulted in Numerous Arrests – We Can Help

We recently ran a post related to Sexual Exploitation and Patronizing charges, detailing the law and consequences, and describing how we can help. We referenced a sting operation in a Seattle massage parlor in 2016 where at least 204 men were arrested.

There has been another string of arrests related to a prostitution sting in Seattle. The Seattle Times describes a Seattle prostitution string resulting in 139 arrests at an Aurora Ave storefront. This was reportedly a week-long sting and the men arrested may face charges of Sexual Exploitation.

Please see our prior blog post for explanation of Sexual Exploitation law. This is the term used in Seattle and it is the same crime as Patronizing a Prostitute, as it remains called elsewhere in Washington State.

Understand that Patronizing or Sexual Exploitation charges can impact your job, family, relationships, criminal record, and more. We know that being arrested for these charges may bring up feelings of shame, fear, and confusion. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help.

If you have any questions about the law or are facing charges of your own, please contact our team for a Free Consultation. We have successfully fought many similar cases and we are here to advocate for you and your best interests.

Happy Independence Day! Stay safe and avoid DUI charges

Hooray for a holiday weekend!

Many people will be out celebrating this weekend and all the way through Tuesday, July 4th. There will be many drivers on the road and countless people out enjoying their Independence Day festivities. Please take the necessary steps to keep yourself and those around you safe.

Heavy traffic and anxious drivers out in droves are inevitable, making this a worthy time to remind you of our simple tips for staying safe during holiday driving. Use these tips to maximize the safety of yourself and your passengers, and to decrease the stress of driving this holiday weekend.

Dellino Law Group wishes you an enjoyable Independence Day weekend and urges you to drive safely.

  • Don’t drink and driveMany people will be out celebrating this weekend and alcohol is a common part of the equation. As everyone is out celebrating this weekend, we encourage you to drink responsibly and choose a designated driver. Keep yourself and those around you safe.
  • Make sure the car is readyBe sure your vehicle is properly maintained, in good shape for travel.
  • Map your route out ahead of time when possible. Have a plan and be aware of alternate routes.
  • Buckle upEnsure you and your passengers are properly restrained in seat belts and car safety seats.
  • Have an emergency planHave a cell phone and charger with you so it can be used in case of an emergency. Keep the contact information for emergency roadside assistance handy.
  • Do NOT text while driving and minimize cell phone use in order to keep your full attention on the road. Utilize a hands-free device if you need to use your cell phone.
  • Keep a safe following distanceallowing for ample time to react to the traffic around you. If someone is tailgating you, allow them to pass. Don’t try to compete with impatient and aggressive drivers.
  • Watch your speedDrive to the conditions and don’t drive over the speed limit. Give yourself plenty of time to get to where you are going so you are not in a rush.
  • Remain calm. If you feel stressed or irritable, take some deep breaths and stay calm. Don’t drive with road rage – This compromises the safety of yourself and the people around you.

If you alcohol is part of your festivities, please review our essential *TIP FOR AVOIDING A DUI:

  1. Designate a sober driver.If you are the designated driver, don’t drink.
  2. Plan ahead: Save the number of a taxi or rideshare company in your phone so you will always have a backup plan.
  3. Consider using smartphone apps like Lyft or Uber.
  4. If you have been drinking, don’t drive. Use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, use a rideshare company, or use public transportation to get home safely.
  5. If you know others who are about to drive under the influence, help them make other arrangements to get home safely.

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.

*If you are stopped for suspicion of DUI – CALL US.

  • Contact our DUI Law Firm immediately for a FREE 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.

Are you facing Sexual Exploitation/ Patronizing Charges?

Last year, the Seattle Police Department’s Vice & High Risk Victims Unit set up a successful sting operation in a Seattle massage parlor. At least 204 men, from all walks of life, were arrested for seeking paid sexual services. Please reference the Seattle Times article from 2016 for more detailed information.

This sting operation was reported to be the first of its kind in Seattle. In prior stings led by the Vice & High Risk Victims Unit, men were arrested and released, receiving a summons in the mail later. The Seattle PD is now pushing mandatory jail bookings when men are arrested for sexual exploitation, and we are aware that SPD remains on high alert for these type of arrests.

We know that being arrested for sexual exploitation may elicit feelings of shame, fear, and uncertainty. If you are facing sexual exploitation charges and feel unsure about how to proceed, please contact us. We are here to answer your questions, help you fight the charges, and advocate your best interests.

“Sexual Exploitation” in Seattle is the same crime as “Patronizing a Prostitute”, as it remains called elsewhere in Washington State. There is no difference in the law behind sexual exploitation vs. patronizing a prostitute, just in the name. The choice to change the name, according to the City Attorney’s Office in 2015, had to do with removing the demeaning connotation of using “prostitute” as a noun. This change was another step in Seattle’s shift to re-focus prostitution efforts on targeting solicitors of sex work and businesses that promote the sex trade.

Sexual Exploitation is a misdemeanor in WA state (RCW 9A.88.110). A person is guilty of patronizing a prostitute if:

  • Pursuant to prior understanding, he or she pays a fee to another person as compensation for such person or a third person having engaged in sexual conduct with him or her; or
  • He or she pays or agrees to pay a fee to another person pursuant to an understanding that in return therefor such person will engage in sexual conduct with him or her; or
  • He or she solicits or requests another person to engage in sexual conduct with him or her in return for a fee.
  • For purposes of this section, “sexual conduct” has the meaning given in RCW 9A.88.030

Patronizing or Sexual Exploitation charges can impact your job, family, criminal record, and even immigration status. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help. If you have any questions about the law or are facing charges of your own, please contact our experienced criminal defense attorneys for a Free Consultation.

What to know about Driving after a DUI Arrest

If you experience the often traumatizing and upsetting event of being charged with a DUI in Washington State, your focus will likely turn to concern about criminal penalties. You will find yourself thinking about jail time, fines, and other potential consequences.

Most people do not realize that there are actually two parts to your DUI case in Washington State: criminal and administrative.

It is common to get caught up with the criminal case and inadvertently neglect the administrative aspect, but if that happens – there are consequences.

Driving after a DUI arrest is in part tied to how you handle the administrative aspect of your DUI case. Please read carefully:

When you are arrested or a DUI in Washington State, the arrest triggers administrative action with the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL).

Your license will automatically be suspended if you do not request an administrative hearing. License suspension will occur completely separately from any criminal charges you may face. It is an independent process, and you must request a DOL Hearing in order to challenge the suspension.

*Requesting a hearing:

Your driver’s license will be automatically administratively suspended 60 days from the date of arrest if you do not request a hearing in a timely manner. You will lose your right to a hearing if you do not mail your Washington DOL hearing request form within 20 days of the arrest, or make the request online, including the $375 fee.

Please visit the Washington State DOL website for more information about this process. The website also includes links to requesting the hearing online or downloading the request form.

If you request your administrative hearing within the required timeframe, the DOL will not suspend your license until your hearing is held and a decision is determined.

*Your DOL hearing:

The Department of Licensing website provides tips for how to prepare for your hearing, including information about what to expect and the issues that will be addressed.

Once your hearing is requested, the Washington DOL will inform you of the date and time of your hearing and assign your case to a hearing officer. These administrative hearings occur by telephone and any witness you or your attorney may choose to subpoena will also appear by telephone. The hearing officer will have the police report and will consider circumstances surrounding your arrest in making the determination about whether your driver’s license should be suspended.

The hearing examiner will review the evidence and make a decision about the suspension or revocation of your license. This review may take up to 6 weeks from the date of your hearing and notice of the decision will in writing and mailed to your address of record. If you disagree with the hearing decision and wish to appeal, you may appeal through the Superior Court in the county where you were arrested.

If you win your Washington State DOL hearing, your license suspension will be canceled. If you lose, your license will be suspended. Length of suspension is determined based on your specific case.

Remember that the administrative Department of Licensing action is completely independent and separate from what occurs in DUI court.

*DUI Conviction Penalties/Driving implications:           

In Washington State, license suspension penalties are dependent upon the severity of the DUI and the number of prior offenses. This is entirely separate from the administrative process described above. RCW 46.61.5055 describes the penalties in detail.

In short:

  • If it is your first DUI in 7 years, license suspension may be imposed for anywhere from 90 days to 2 years, dependent BAC test results. You may be ordered to use an ignition interlock device for 1 year.
  • If it is your second DUI offense in 7 years, license suspension may be imposed for anywhere from 2-3 years, depending upon BAC test results. You may be ordered to use an ignition interlock device for 1-5 years.

In addition, SR-22 insurance is required for 3 years from the time your license suspension is lifted. You must have this in place to be able to drive legally. SR-22 demonstrates financial responsibility and acts as proof that you have the minimum insurance coverage required in Washington State. Please see the Washington State Department of Licensing website for details.

*Legal Representation:

Dealing with a suspended driver’s license can be overwhelming and very frustrating. We understand this and want to do everything we can to help you protect your right to drive. Often, people are discouraged by their chances of winning these administrative hearings against the Department of Licensing and don’t put effort into the fight.

Your odds of winning exponentially increase with representation by a qualified DUI attorney.

We highly recommend that you contact an experienced DUI attorney to advise you around your best course of action. These hearings are not hopeless if you have the proper support and representation. We have helped clients win countless hearings with widely varying circumstances. Our DUI law firm does not charge our clients extra to handle these hearings. If we are representing you for your DUI criminal case, the DOL hearing is part of the service we provide.

Please contact us today to discuss your unique situation. We are available for a Free Consultation.

Some Seattle Businesses are Providing Second-Chance Employment for Former Prisoners

We believe in second chances. It is both refreshing and inspiring to see organizations committed to delivering second chances to people who are trying to change their lives.

The Seattle Times highlights a job fair that was held this week in Seattle, aimed at helping people who were formerly incarcerated find employment. MOD Pizza was among the dozen employers represented, as well as Uber, FareStart, and Tom Douglas Restaurants.

The article quotes one woman who was uneasy about her future when she was released from prison. She wasn’t sure if she would be employable and feared falling back into a life of drugs and crime. This is a fear of many people being released from prison who are re-entering society with a criminal record and a big gap in their resume. Companies like those represented at the job fair are essential to provide hope, opportunity, and second chances for people who are trying to make life changes. The woman in the Seattle Times article was quoted as saying her career opportunity at MOD Pizza “absolutely saved my life.”

This job fair was supported by the City of Seattle and Uber and hosted by Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation, an organization committed to expanding employment opportunities for people with criminal backgrounds. The job fair was part of a two-day event and included a gathering of business and non-profit leaders interested in providing “second chance employment”. The news article describes the background and origin of Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation, started by David Dahl. Dahl was welcomed back to his family bakery business (Dave’s Killer Bread) after serving 15 years in prison for drug, assault, and robbery charges. One third of the employees with Dave’s Killer Bread have a criminal background.

Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation seeks to educate about second chance employment and encourage employers to be part of the solution. Successful reentry of a person being released from prison relies on businesses being open to employing them.

There is a goal of reducing recidivism in Washington State. Currently about 1/3 of the number of people released from prison will return within three years, according to the Seattle Times article. However, reentry plans are lacking essential components and people are not being set up for success.

Real job opportunities, such as those presented at this job fair, could be a missing piece of the puzzle. Opening these doors for formerly incarcerated people could provide hope and opportunity for many, and can literally save lives.

 

Public Defender vs. Private Attorney: What are the differences?

When you are facing criminal charges, determining your legal representation becomes an essential next step. How do you determine whether you should hire a private attorney or use a public defender, if this option is available to you?

You have the right to speak with an attorney before talking to the police and you have the right to legal representation, regardless of ability to pay. If you cannot afford to hire a private attorney, you may ask the court to appoint a public defender to represent you. The determination of eligibility for a court-appointed public defender is dependent upon income and handled by the local court.

For many people, using a public defender is the only option. There are no viable resources to come up with the funds for a private attorney. For others, it may be challenging but possible to acquire the funds to hire a private attorney, even when eligibility for court-appointed legal representation are met.

Making an informed decision:  What are the differences between a Private Attorney and a Public Defender?

1) Workload and time: Unfortunately, public defenders are often burdened by extremely large caseloads. Facing the frustrations of a heavy workload, they may not have the time to put into your case to manage it the way they would like to. It may be difficult for them to take additional calls and questions and offer the attention and support you seek. This is an aspect of working with a public defender that results in many complaints.

Private attorneys have more autonomy to choose their cases and generally more time available for their clients. If you are looking for an attorney who can have more face time with you and be more available for meetings and calls outside of court and throughout your case, you would be better served by private counsel.

2) Experience: As with any group of professionals, there is a range of experience. Public defenders are licensed attorneys and many are quite skilled and experienced. It is often assumed that a private attorney is more knowledgeable and experienced. This is often the case, but certainly not as a rule. It is important to consider all factors in determining whether to hire a private attorney or opt for the public defender if the choice is available to you.

3) Selection: With private counsel, you can be selective and you should be. You can opt for a consultation and meet the attorney in person before making a decision to hire. You can ask the questions you want to ask and determine if it feels like a good fit for you. This is a major limitation of working with a public defender. You do not get to select your own attorney. A public defender is appointed for you by the court and you do not have a role in the selection process.

4) Restrictions: Public defenders are restricted to criminal matters only. If there is a non-criminal matter associated with your case, you will need to deal with it on your own or seek alternative counsel. For example, if you are using a public defender for a DUI, they cannot handle your DOL hearing. Public defenders are court-appointed and the court may have other rules or restrictions around their usage.

 5) Results: With more time and resources available for private attorneys to attend to their individual clients and their unique needs, it is generally thought that private counsel will achieve superior results. However, a public defender is a very good choice when it is not financially feasible to consider hiring a high-quality private attorney.

Dellino Law Group

If you are facing criminal charges and interested in consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney, please contact us as soon as possible. Our skilled attorneys are dedicated to obtaining the best possible results for our clients. We will leave no stone unturned from the time of arrest until the end of your case. We are equipped and available to handle any and all criminal matters. Please contact us today for a Free Legal Consultation.

 

JUNE IS LGBT PRIDE MONTH! LGBT FAMILY LAW FOCUS AT DELLINO LAW GROUP

Celebrate Pride!

LGBT Family Law

June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month, making it a great opportunity to highlight issues surrounding LGBT Family Law.

Dellino Law Group fervently supports marriage and relationship equality. Regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, we believe in each family’s right to exceptional legal representation. LGBT family law continues to change rapidly, both federally and in Washington State. We are dedicated to remaining up-to-date and knowledgeable with the evolving nature of the law, and we are proud to serve the LGBT community throughout Seattle and Washington State. The following are just a few of our specialty areas:

Child Custody for Same-Sex Parents:

Same-sex marriage became legal in Washington State in December 2012 and there are no legal differences between same-sex and opposite-sex marriages. Along the same vein, child custody considerations should be subject to the same laws for same-sex couples as for opposite-sex couples.

However, many same-sex couples with children have been together for many years prior to December 2012 and/or may not yet have chosen to legally marry. In cases where one partner is the legal parent of the child, custody issues may become challenging if a separation should arise. An experienced family law attorney can help you navigate the existing laws to potentially establish parental rights based on demonstrating the parent-child relationship and bond, despite legal or biological ties.

There are other child custody issues or disputes that may arise for same-sex parents as well. The family law attorneys at Dellino Law Group understand the unique considerations involved when creating parenting plans for same-sex parents and are skilled and experienced in advocating for the rights of parents, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Divorce for Same-Sex Couples:

Once again, since same-sex marriage became legal in Washington State in December 2012there are no legal differences between same-sex and opposite-sex marriages. This includes marriages entered into in Washington State as well as in any other state. The only way to dissolve a same-sex marriage in Washington State is through divorce proceedings, just the same as an opposite-sex marriage.

It is advised that you contact an experienced family law attorney to guide you through the process of dissolving your marriage. At Dellino Law Group, we have worked with many same-sex couples in dissolving their marriages. We understand that even though the law and procedure may be the same as it is for opposite-sex couples, there could arise complex, unique issues, given that this is still fairly new territory in terms of case law. We are dedicated to helping you achieve the best possible outcome in your individual case.

Domestic Partnerships:

In 2007, Washington State began allowing same-sex couples to register as domestic partners. Unless dissolved, all of the Washington State domestic partnerships were converted to marriages on June 30, 2014.

For questions or consult about dissolutions of domestic partnerships, conversion to marriage, or registration for domestic partnerships, please contact us for a Free Consultation.

Committed Intimate Relationships:

In Washington State, “common law marriage” does not exist. However, Washington courts do recognize “committed intimate relationships. These relationships were formerly known as “meretricious relationships” and exist when an unmarried couple lives together for a significant period of time. In Washington State, these relationships have property rights similar to those had by married couples. It is critical that you know and understand the implications of living with an intimate partner in Washington so you can plan accordingly. Cohabitation laws apply to all couples meeting legal requirements for committed intimate relationships, including both opposite-sex and same-sex couples.

Please see our prior blog post for detailed information about committed intimate relationships, your rights, and important factors to consider.

Adoptions:

Many gay and lesbian couples are uneasy about potentially facing discrimination when looking to adopt. Some states do have laws that are less welcoming and even outright discriminating, but Washington is not one of those states. In Washington, same-sex couples have the same legal rights as heterosexual couples. Any person who is legally competent and who is at least 18 years old may become an adoptive parent (RCW 26.33.140). Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people are qualified to adopt, regardless of whether they are single or married. Same-sex couples can adopt jointly and can arrange second-parent adoptions as well. The NCLR (National Center for Lesbian Rights) defines second-parent adoption as a legal procedure that allows same-sex parents to adopt his or her partner’s biological or adoptive child without terminating the first parent’s legal status as a parent, regardless of whether they have a legally recognized relationship to the other parent. This is also known as a co-parent adoption.

Unfortunately, there is not yet an anti-discrimination law in place preventing birth parents from deciding against individuals or couples based on sexual or gender orientation. If you are a LGBT-identified individual or couple, finding the right adoption match may be challenging. It is especially advised that you work with an experienced attorney through this process. Our family law attorneys are very knowledgeable and experienced in the unique challenges LGBT individuals and couples face when seeking adoption. We are eager to work with you to achieve your goal of welcoming an adopted child into your family.

Legal Representation:

In addition to adoption, custody, and divorce expertise, we are equipped to manage the unique considerations for LGBT-identified individuals or couples who may be seeking:

  • Estate Planning
  • Wills, trusts, and powers of attorney
  • Premarital Agreements
  • Property Division

Please contact us for a Free Consultation to discuss any and all LGBT Family Law issues.

How to have a Safe & DUI-Free Memorial Day

Today we honor and give thanks to those who have served our country and who have died doing so. With gratitude, we remember all who have served.

Memorial Day weekend also symbolically kicks off summer festivities. You may be returning home from your celebration today or setting out for a day in the sun. Either way, it is important to take the necessary steps to keep yourself and those around you safe, especially with extra drivers on the road.

Heavy traffic and anxious drivers out in droves are inevitable, making this a worthy time to remind you of our simple tips for staying safe during holiday driving. Use these tips to maximize the safety of yourself and your passengers, and to decrease the stress of driving this Memorial Day weekend.

Dellino Law Group wishes you an enjoyable Memorial Day weekend and urges you to drive safely.

  • Don’t drink and driveMemorial Day weekend is notorious for BBQs and parties, where alcohol is a common part of the equation. As everyone is out celebrating this weekend, we encourage you to drink responsibly and choose a designated driver. Keep yourself and those around you safe.
  • Make sure the car is readyBe sure your vehicle is properly maintained, in good shape for travel.
  • Map your route out ahead of time when possible. Have a plan and be aware of alternate routes.
  • Buckle upEnsure you and your passengers are properly restrained in seat belts and car safety seats.
  • Have an emergency planHave a cell phone and charger with you so it can be used in case of an emergency. Keep the contact information for emergency roadside assistance handy.
  • Do NOT text while driving and minimize cell phone use in order to keep your full attention on the road. Utilize a hands-free device if you need to use your cell phone.
  • Keep a safe following distanceallowing for ample time to react to the traffic around you. If someone is tailgating you, allow them to pass. Don’t try to compete with impatient and aggressive drivers.
  • Watch your speedDrive to the conditions and don’t drive over the speed limit. Give yourself plenty of time to get to where you are going so you are not in a rush.
  • Remain calm. If you feel stressed or irritable, take some deep breaths and stay calm. Don’t drive with road rage – This compromises the safety of yourself and the people around you.

If you are celebrating today and alcohol is part of the festivities, please review our essential *TIPS FOR AVOIDING A DUI:

  1. Designate a sober driver. If you are the designated driver, don’t drink.
  2. Plan ahead: Save the number of a taxi or rideshare company in your phone so you will always have a backup plan.
  3. Consider using smartphone apps like Lyft or Uber.
  4. If you have been drinking, don’t drive. Use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, use a rideshare company, or use public transportation to get home safely.
  5. If you know others who are about to drive under the influence, help them make other arrangements to get home safely.

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.

*If you are stopped for suspicion of DUI – CALL US.

  • Contact our DUI Law Firm immediately for a FREE 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.

 

Patrols will be on the lookout for intoxicated boaters starting this weekend! Be aware of BUI law & penalties

It’s that time of year again! The weather is heating up and Washingtonians are ready to get out on the water. This week, the Seattle Times reminds us that police patrols are ready to be on the look-out for intoxicated boaters.

The article describes an increased, targeted effort by law enforcement agencies to crack down on boaters under the influence of drugs or alcohol throughout Washington State. City and county marine patrol units are joined by the state Parks Boating Program and state Dept. of Fish & Wildlife Police to create emphasis patrols, set to begin this weekend.

The special patrols will begin this Memorial Day weekend and run several weekends through August. The article provides more information about locations and dates statewide.

Boaters are encouraged to designate a sober captain, refrain from boating the influence, and keep the waters safe!

What is BUI?

BUI refers to “Boating under the Influence” (RCW 79A.60.040), which is a gross misdemeanor and a significant criminal offense in Washington State. It is important to be aware of the law and potential consequences involved with a BUI conviction.

BUI is similar to DUI in theory, but it is its own charge and is governed by a separate statute (RCW 79A.60.040):

  1. It is unlawful for any person to operate a vessel in a reckless manner.
  2. It is unlawful for a person to operate a vessel while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, marijuana, or any drug. A person is considered to be under the influence of intoxicating liquor, marijuana, or any drug if, within two hours of operating a vessel:
    • The person has an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher as shown by analysis of the person’s breath or blood made under RCW 46.61.506; or
    • The person has a THC concentration of 5.00 or higher as shown by analysis of the person’s blood made under RCW 46.61.506; or
    • The person is under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor, marijuana, or any drug; or
    • The person is under the combined influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor, marijuana, and any drug.

A breath test machine and sobriety tests are generally used in trying to determine the accused’s level of intoxication. A person who operates a vessel in Washington State is deemed to have given consent for testing.

Under state law, boaters suspected of being intoxicated who refuse to comply with taking a breath or blood test face a civil penalty of $2,050.

RCW 79A.60.040 provides more information about how the law incorporates testing and consent.

Penalties:

If convicted of BUI, penalties may include up to 364 days in jail and a maximum $5,000 fine. In addition, the court may order the defendant to pay restitution for any damages or injuries resulting from the offense.

This law applies to all boats, including kayaks, canoes, rowboats, and inflatable fishing rafts.

Legal Representation:

BUI is a significant offense and consequences may include potential jail time and fines. In addition, a conviction results in a misdemeanor charge on your criminal record. If you are charged with BUI, is essential to work with an experienced defense attorney to fight for the best possible outcome in your case. Our DUI attorneys at Dellino Law Group are extremely knowledgeable in BUI and DUI law and are committed to each and every unique case. Our attorneys will exhaust all angles and work toward reducing charges to a simple infraction or even complete dismissal when possible. If you are facing BUI or DUI charges, please contact our office as soon as possible for a Free Consultation.

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.