Barbara A. Bowden

Tacoma, WA DUI Attorney

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Available 24/7 | We also speak Russian and Ukrainian.


Marijuana breathalyzers coming soon to Washington?

Marijuana breathalyzers could be coming to Washington sometime this year, according to researchers at Washington State University. The breathalyzers would be a welcome tool for police, as recognizing individuals who are driving high can be a challenge.

What does this mean for drivers?

Not much right now. These breathalyzers will likely not be admitted or trusted for years to come. It is still important that Washington drivers know their rights under the law. In the state of Washington, a person cannot have more than 5 nanograms of THC (marijuana) per milliliter of blood to safely operate a vehicle. Currently, if an officer suspects that you are intoxicated with marijuana, they will ask you to submit to a drug recognition evaluation. Just like a field sobriety test performed when an alcohol DUI is suspected, this test is voluntary.

Police officers often look out for signs that might indicate a person is driving under the influence, such as

  • The smell of cannabis
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Speech irregularities
  • Marijuana inside the vehicle

Those who are pulled over for a marijuana DUI are typically stopped for similar reasons as alcohol DUIs. However, the body processes marijuana differently than it does alcohol. The same amount of marijuana can affect a chronic smoker and a new user very differently.

The safest thing to do is not risk operating a motor vehicle after consuming marijuana. Ask a trusted family member or friend to give you a ride, call a taxi or Uber driver, or wait to drive until you are completely sober. Knowing your limit as a marijuana user is very important. Much like a new medicine, you are advised to see how the drug will affect you before operating a vehicle.

Considering the consequences of a marijuana DUI, it’s not worth the risk of operating a vehicle impaired. A first marijuana DUI offense in Washington includes a 90 day license suspension and fines. A conviction could extend this punishment for up to four years. Of course, with more convictions come more severe penalties. A second or third conviction within seven years can yield a fine of up to $5,000 and between 30 days to one year in jail, not to mention license suspension for several years.

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What You Should Know About Holiday DUIs

Holiday DUI GuideBetween Thanksgiving and Christmas, it is estimated that 25,000 people will be injured and 1,200 people will be killed in alcohol-related accidents.

Click to view the full graphic.

Drinking and the Holidays in Washington

The holidays are here—a time of good cheer and fellowship with friends and family. From wine to beer and eggnog to buttered rum, many of us enjoy our favorite alcoholic beverages during the holidays. Unfortunately, drinking and driving do not mix regardless of the time of year.

Alcohol-Related Accidents and Deaths during the Holidays

Wine on TableThe statistics are clear: alcohol-related accidents and fatalities increase during the holidays.

  • Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it is estimated that 25,000 people will be injured and 1,200 people will be killed in alcohol-related accidents.
  • Thirty-one percent of traffic deaths each year are alcohol-related; however, during the Christmas holiday, that rate increases to 37 percent, and during the New Year’s holiday, the rate increases to 58 percent.
  • During the holidays, 40 percent of traffic deaths are related to alcohol.
  • DUI violations increase by 33 percent during the holiday season with New Year’s Eve being the highest increase (155 percent increase in DUIs).
  • Ninety-six percent of people surveyed admitted to going to work hungover during the holidays. Fifty-seven percent of people admit to driving while under the influence during the holidays.

What are common misconceptions about types of alcohol?

Unfortunately, many people have common misconceptions about alcohol that contribute to the number of DUI violations during the holidays.

MYTH: Beer is not as intoxicating as liquor.

MYTH: Drinking coffee, taking a cold shower, or turning on the air conditioner will sober you up faster.

MYTH: It is okay to drive after only a couple of drinks.

MYTH: Eating certain foods before drinking allows you to drink more before becoming legally intoxicated.

MYTH: If you can walk a straight line and stand on one foot, you are okay to drive.

TRUTH: Only time will sober you up because nothing you do will cause the alcohol in your system to metabolize any faster. Even one drink can impair your ability to drive.

What do you need to know about drinking and the holidays?

Approximately 40 percent of people who were polled admitted that they have friends and family members who use the holidays as an excuse to drink. While there is nothing wrong with enjoying your favorite alcoholic beverages during the holidays, it is dangerous to drive while impaired by alcohol. You are a danger to yourself and to others. It is also not illegal to become intoxicated during the holidays; however, it is illegal to drive in Washington while intoxicated.

In Washington, you can be convicted ofa DUI if your BAC is:

  • .08 or higher for anyone 21 years of age or older
  • .04 or higher for commercial vehicle drivers driving a commercial vehicle at the time of the stop
  • .02 or higher for anyone under the age of 21

Washington DUI laws are strict and the penalties for a DUI conviction in Washington are severe. Do not be sorry—be safe this holiday season!

When do you need a designated driver?

Always! The only way to avoid a drunk driving charge is not to drive after drinking. The safest way to enjoy alcohol during the holidays is to appoint a designated driver who will not consume any alcohol. You, your friends, and family can enjoy the holidays knowing that each of you will arrive home safe and sound. Assigning a designated driver is the responsible way to enjoy the holiday season.

Happy Holidays from The Law Offices of Barbara A. Bowden

We want to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season. If you are charged with DUI this holiday season, remember you are innocent until the state proves you guilty of driving under the influence. Contact our office to discuss your legal defenses to a Washington DUI charge.

Understanding the Kerry Kennedy Sleep Driving Case

Most recently, Kerry Kennedy, the daughter of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, was charged with driving under the influence of a drug in the state of New York. She testified that she mistakenly took the wrong prescription drug the morning of the accident. She claims she did not feel any effects while she was getting ready to leave the house. She can only remember up to the point when she entered the highway; the next thing she knew, her car was stalled and a police officer was knocking on her window. Kennedy had side-swiped a tractor-trailer and was charged with an Ambien DUI, as she was found with the sleep aid in her system. Kennedy was acquitted of her charge. Read more about the Kerry Kennedy case and Ambien DUI defense.

Tacoma Raises Minimum Wage

Initiative 1B Passes

In Pierce County, Washington, on November 3, 2015, Tacoma passed ballot Initiative No. 1B and defeated Initiative No. 1A. Initiative No. 1A would raise the minimum wage for Tacoma, Washington, to $15 an hour. Initiative No. 1B was the city proposed alternative to 1A and only raises the city’s minimum wage to $12 an hour.

The measure only passed by a small majority of voters, with approximately 59 percent of voters voting for the initiative to pass. The initiative had two questions; the first was whether to approve any wage increase at all, and the second was a matter of which proposed minimum wage measure should be enacted.

With the passing of 1B, minimum wage will be raised to $12 an hour. This affects business owners and employees alike.

[Read more…]

5 Most Common Ways to Get Pulled Over

5 Most Common Ways to Get Pulled OverHow do you avoid being pulled over?

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, around 17.7 million people that are over the age of 15 indicated that their last encounter with the police was being pulled over while driving, which amounts to about 8 percent of the driving population in the United States.  It may seem like random luck of the draw who ends up getting pulled over by the police, but the truth is that police cannot watch every single driver on the road at all times, so they look for signs to see who is causing the most potential danger to other motorists or who is the most visible traffic offender.  Making sure you are avoiding the five most common ways officers look for who to pull over can help ensure that you are much less likely to be stopped by law enforcement.

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6 Things to Know After Your First DUI

6 Things to Know After Your First DUIIf you are facing your first DUI charge, there are likely a lot of concerns running through your head.  Compounded with the stress of being charged with a DUI, it might be hard to understand all that is happening to you currently.  We have a list of important considerations to keep in mind when facing DUI charges:

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4 Big DUI Cases You Should Know About

DUIs happen all over the globe, each and every day.

People believe they are fine to drive, or maybe they have been wrongfully arrested of a DUI. There have been several cases across the U.S. in the last couple weeks.

Drink and KeysCave City, Kentucky

A 39-year-old man was arrested on Saturday, August 29, after being pulled over for suspected intoxicated driving. He was, in fact, under the influence of alcohol, in addition to possessing open containers and drug paraphernalia in the vehicle.

Although the man was in Kentucky, some similar laws apply to the state of Washington. It is illegal to have open containers in your vehicle in Washington,

Learn more about his arrest here.

Tempe, Arizona

A 25-year-old man was arrested after failing to stop at a DUI checkpoint in Tempe on Sunday, August 30.

The man was driving the vehicle, and another man was in the vehicle, in addition to the driver’s 1-year-old daughter. Law enforcers began to pursue his vehicle after he was seen driving recklessly.

The man was booked into Fourth Avenue Jail with a number of possible charges including DUI, child abuse, possession of drug paraphernalia and more.

You can read more about his arrest here.

Laurel, Delaware

A 38-year-old woman was charged with her second-offense of driving under the influence on Sunday, August 30.

Her vehicle hit a parked police vehicle around 4:00 a.m. on the side of the road. The woman was booked into Sussex Correctional Institution after she was unable to secure her bail.

Learn more about this incident here.

Owatonna, Minnesota

An 18-year-old male was arrested after his vehicle crashed into the median in Owatonna. The incident occurred around 3:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 22. The man was approached by police and told the police that he had consumed marijuana and fallen asleep.

Police officers conducted a field sobriety test, which he failed, and a breath test. The breath test showed that he had a BAC of .156.

The man has since been charged with two counts of DUI causing bodily harm, in addition to possessing marijuana and driving under the influence.

Accidents like these can happen. It’s best to be honest with the officers, but know your rights beforehand. Our attorneys can help you understand your rights in the state of Washington.

You can read more about his accident and other Owatonna incidents here.

Authorities are cracking down across the nation on DUIS in an effort to minimize these incidents.

If you find yourself close to one of these situations, call a cab to take you home. If you know you will be drinking, you should select a designated driver to take everyone home after a night of drinking.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for a DUI in Tacoma or Lakewood, Washington, contact the attorneys at The Law Offices of Barbara A. Bowden as soon as possible. Our attorneys are here to help you. Call today.

September Events in Tacoma

Summer is coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean the fun has to stop! There are still plenty of events happening in the Tacoma, Washington area in the next several weeks. We’ve compiled a list for you and the family to enjoy your time together as schedules begin to pick up again.

School is back in session, and work is in full swing, but we know how important it is to be able to enjoy yourself with family and friends, in addition to winding down from a long day or week at the office.

The Broadway Farmer’s Market

When: Every Thursday through October

Time: 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Where: Between 9th and 11th street, Tacoma, WA

How Much: FREE!

What better way to welcome the fall than with a farmer’s market? The Broadway Farmer’s Market began in 1990, and this will be the place to be on Thursdays this fall. You can enjoy local produce, chef demonstrations, gardening tips and entertainment for the whole family.

Plants Live at the Zoo

When: Sunday, September 6

Time: 10:00 am

Where: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, 5400 N Pearl St., Tacoma, WA

How Much: Free with paid admission or membership

Typically, we go to the zoo the check out all of the incredible animals. On Sunday, September 6, the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium will be giving one-hour garden tours of the beautiful plant-life. You can find out more about attracting butterflies and bees, among other animals, to your own garden!

You can learn more about this event here.


Frost Park Chalk Off: Season 8

When: Friday, September 18

Time: 12:00 p.m.

Where: Frost Park, Corner of 9th and Pacific Ave., Tacoma, WA

How Much: FREE (chalk included!)

This event will be taking place every Friday through October, but you won’t want to miss the first of the season! Are you looking to revisit your creative youth? The Frost Park Chalk Off is great for the entire family, and it gives you a chance to release your inner creativity via drawing with sidewalk chalk.

This event has a competitive side, too. There will be one weekly winner of the chalk drawing competition, and everyone participating will have a chance to win prizes!

The Washington State Fair

When: Friday, September 11 – Sunday, September 27

Time: Available on their website.

Where: Washington State Fair Event Center, 110 9th Ave. SW, Puyallup, WA, 98371

How Much: Prices Available on their website.

 This is the largest fair in the state of Washington, and you won’t want to miss it! If you’re willing to make the (relatively short) trip over to Puyallup, we would love to see you there.

The fair began in 1900, and it is still going strong every year. You can enjoy delicious food, craft beer and live entertainment. Headliners range from Duran Duran, Keith Urban and Iggy Azalea all the way to Jason Derulo,  Fifth Harmony and Dan + Shay.

Learn more about the fair here.

We are looking forward to seeing you at all of these events! As always, if you are planning on drinking at these events, make sure you have a designated driver to bring you there and back safely.

If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI or has gotten a traffic ticket in Tacoma or Lakewood, the attorneys at The Law Offices of Barbara A. Bowden are here to help. Call us today!

What Happens at Court After a DUI Arrest?

August Bowden InfographicSo, you were charged with a DUI. Click the infographic to learn about what you can expect on your court date. If you have additional questions, contact the Law Offices of Barbara A. Bowden today. We have an office that is conveniently located in Lakewood, WA.