New Driving Under the Influence of Electronics Law

Washington State Electronics LawWashington state public-safety officials say there will be no more excuses for drivers. Washington’s newest distracted driving law proclaims: on the road, off the phone. The anti-distraction law took effect on Sunday, July 23rd, and comes with a six-month grace period which will net you a warning and an educational card if you are stopped for using an electronic device—that is, if you are stopped by a Washington State Patrol officer. Some other counties will follow suit by focusing on education in the first few months and fines later on. This is not true for all counties, however.

Kings County Sheriff’s Office intends to give no grace period at all, and will immediately begin treating electronic distractions just like any other traffic infraction. Since the grace period could vary from county to county, the best course of action is to stop the distractions entirely when you are behind the wheel in the state of Washington. Fines for the infraction, should you receive a ticket for using an electronic device while driving, will be $136.

Driver Distraction Costs Lives

In 2016, 156 of the 537 auto accident fatalities in the state of Washington were attributed to driver distraction, as were 572 (one-fourth) of the 2,208 serious injuries which resulted from distracted driving. The new law essentially bans the use of a hand-held device entirely. You may not make or receive phone calls on a handheld device, nor may you read or send a text, type a social media post, take a photograph, or look at data of any type. While some states have a ban on handheld devices except when the driver is stopped at a light or traffic sign, this new law does not allow the use of a handheld device in these situations. [Read more…]

The Dräger DrugTest 5000: A portable marijuana “breathalyzer”

Police who suspect drivers to be under the influence of drugs have a new tool to confirm their suspicions. Rather than relying on highly subjective and easily challengeable officer observations and/or voluntary field sobriety tests to establish probable cause to arrest, officers can now ask a suspect to submit to a mouth swab and run the sample through a portable device that tests for the presence of active THC (which remains in the body for a few hours after ingestion – as opposed to inactive THC, which can stay in the body for weeks). The device also tests for six other drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine.

[Read more…]

Is it illegal to talk on my phone while driving?

texting and drivingYes, if you are holding it to your ear. Washington State Law[1] makes it a traffic infraction (which is a civil – not criminal – offense) for a person to “operate a moving motor vehicle while holding a wireless communications device to his or her ear.”

This includes phoning while stopped in gridlock, or at a traffic light – but not if you safely pull to the side of the road first.

The exception to the rule is if you are calling 9-1-1, or otherwise using your phone to prevent injury to a person or property.

It is not illegal to use your phone “hands-free” (i.e. using the speaker phone function, or a headset/earpiece) while driving. [Read more…]

Malos consejos de un Notario Público hacen que rechacen la aplicación de inmigración a una familia local

Click here to read this in English.

Es posible que los notarios públicos sean abogados con licencia en algunos lugares de América Latina, pero no lo son en los Estados Unidos. Ellos solo tienen la autoridad para actuar como testigos al firmar y verificar documentos importantes, no han sido capacitados ni tienen experiencia legal.

Una familia que desea permanecer en el anonimato, aprendió esta lección de la peor manera después de pagarle a Ismael Delgado (quien se anunciaba como notario) para que les ayudara a presentar una solicitud de inmigración. Esta aplicación fue negada, potencialmente anulando sus posibilidades de obtener una residencia. [Read more…]

Bad advice from “Notario Publico” results in denial of local family’s immigration application

Notarios Publicos may be licensed attorneys in Latin America, but Notaries Public are not attorneys in the United States. Notaries Public only have the authority to act as an independent witness in the signing and verification of important documents. They have no legal training or legal expertise.

One family (which understandably prefers to remain unidentified in these uncertain times) recently learned this fact the hard way, when they paid Ismael Delgado, who advertised himself as a “Notario Publico”, to help them submit an immigration application. Their application was denied – potentially jeopardizing their future efforts to successfully immigrate.

[Read more…]

“Dreamer” with DUI arrested by ICE in Portland

A man who was brought to the United States at the age of five, and who was given Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals protected status in 2013, was arrested in the middle of the night by Federal agents and taken to the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington, where he awaits deportation proceedings.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) did not have a warrant, and were not given permission to enter the residence, but they kept on beating on the door until a family member eventually produced their suspect.

Francisco Rodriguez Dominguez was born in Michoacan, Mexico, but that has not been his home since he was a young boy. The longtime Portland resident who is active in his church and coordinates a food pantry program for the poor made one mistake: he picked up a DUI, which got him on ICE’s radar. [Read more…]

Chief Justice of the Washington State Supreme Court asks ICE to stop prowling courthouses

In a March 22 letter to the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Honorable Mary Fairhurst expressed her concern about the increased presence of Federal agents in and around local courthouses, stating that fear of apprehension by immigration authorities erodes immigrants’ trust in the judicial system, “impede[s] the fundamental mission of courts, which is to ensure due process and access to justice for everyone,” and undermines courts’ ability to function.

Not just criminal defendants, but also those who are witnesses to or victims of crimes, might understandably choose not to voluntarily attend judicial proceedings given the risk of being snatched up and placed in deportation proceedings. Even legal residents seeking protection orders, for example, might think that is too risky, given ICE’s disturbing tactic of sweeping up collateral bystanders they suspect “may” be subject to removal.[1] [Read more…]

DUI most common conviction targeted by recent ICE raids

84 people were taken into federal custody as a result of a 3 day operation in Washington, Oregon and Alaska this week.[1] 60 had criminal records; 24 did not. 19 arrestees had a DUI as their only, or their most serious, conviction – DUI was by far the most common conviction targeted.

According to a news release by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) “This operation highlights our commitment to promoting public safety through the pursuit of targeted criminals residing in the U.S. illegally.”[2]

One of the arrestees does have a pending child rape charge, and prior convictions for assault and domestic violence. ICE made sure to spotlight him in the first line of its press release, and to mention that he was recently released from custody by local authorities despite a federal immigration “detainer” request. Although attorney general Jeff Sessions has characterized local jurisdictions’ refusals to comply with such requests a violation of federal law, a federal court in Oregon ruled in 2014 that it’s in fact unconstitutional to detain people without a warrant after they would have otherwise been released. ICE detainer requests are not warrants because they are not signed by a neutral magistrate who has found probable cause to arrest. Thus, restricting the liberty of anyone present in the United States (whether or not he or she has permission to be here) per such a detainer request would constitute an illegal seizure under the Fourth Amendment.

[Read more…]

Utah to lower DUI threshold from .08 to .05

Is the rest of the nation next?

Washington State PoliceCurrently, the “per se”[1] limit for alcohol impairment in every state is .08. However, that is about to change. The Utah legislature recently presented a bill for the governor’s signature lowering the legal limit to .05. The governor intends to sign it and the law is currently scheduled to kick in December 30, 2018 – just in time for a New Year’s Eve Emphasis patrol.

Driving while intoxicated is clearly dangerous, but would someone definitely be too impaired to safely drive with a BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) of .05? Depending on your size and body chemistry, you can be at .05 after just one drink.

Utah restauranteurs are particularly worried about this new law, since many folks like to enjoy a glass of wine with their meal. Could this mean that people will choose not to order the most profitable items on their menus? Does this mean Utah residents will eat out less often?

It is unclear what spurred the Utah legislature to make the change; there is no language in the bill regarding legislative intent. If they are relying on new scientific evidence no such evidence was cited.

[Read more…]

Lakewood Police to do DUI Blood Draws Themselves

If you refuse a breathalyzer in Lakewood, the cops are going to stick you with a needle. And they might stick you even if you agree to blow, because who knows? Maybe you also have THC or some other drug in your system.

When you are arrested for DUI, the police typically take you to the station and ask you to blow into a breathalyzer. You can refuse, but if you do, your license will be suspended[1] for at least a year[2] (rather the 90 days you will get if you blow over .08), and they can get a warrant to search your blood anyway.

These days it doesn’t take much to get a warrant. The police just call a judge, even after hours, tell the judge why they arrested you, and the judge authorizes a “qualified” person to take your blood. It’s all done telephonically / electronically; there is very little lag time. [Read more…]